Monday, July 5, 2021

COMMENTARY: They Walked For The Unforgotten 51 & Other Black Women Murdered or Missing

Protestors lead the way with a banner in the “We Walk for Her March” march held Tuesday, June 22.


By John W. Fountain

She walked for her--this palpable trail of humanity and collective tears flowing down South King Drive, their chants rising in unison from here and the grave into the warm summer air in remembrance of those Black girls and women no longer able to speak for themselves.

Their voices resounded with a call for closure. For justice. For answers, and ultimately for an end to the slaying of young Black women and girls strangled, suffocated, shot or mangled, their bodies discarded like yesterday’s trash. 

They spoke. For those Black girls and women abducted or who suddenly vanished without a trace, like a vapor.

For the dead, they walked. For those whose innocent blood still cries from premature graves.

Monday, June 28, 2021

'We Walk For Her'; March Brings Light to Missing and Murdered Black Women

Participants in the "We Walk For Her March"  carry a banner down King Drive on Chicago's South Side to call attention to missing and murdered Black women and girls. The march was held Tuesday, June 22. 

“How many serial killers do we have out here? We don’t know. Are they locked up? We don’t know. Are they dead? We don’t know. This does not happen to white women and white girls, it only happens to Black and brown women and girls.” 

–Rev. Robin Hood, Chicago West Side Community Activist

By Samantha Latson 

CHICAGO, June 22—Faces of the young and old, from light to deep dark brown, banded together in the evening summer sun as one in Black unity and love, as they marched south on King Drive. They marched, wearing black-and-white T-shirts, carrying posters and banners for those lives discarded, murdered or otherwise stolen from this city they once called home. 

On a Tuesday, two days after the start of a summer here in a city braced for a summer of gun violence amid a current uptick so far this year in shootings citywide, marchers sought to transcend current concerns over violence. Their effort: to bring attention to the murder and disappearance of Black women—an issue that organizers here say has been tucked away in the dark.

Titled the “We Walk For Her March,” it was organized by then 13-year-old Aziyah Roberts, who in 2018 said she noticed a lack of urgency by law enforcement and in news coverage in cases of missing or murdered girls who look like her. 

“I was angry that Black women and girls around the city were going missing, being harmed, abducted, even murdered and nothing was being said or done about it,”  Roberts said, according to a written press release for this year’s march. “I went to my grandmother and to (KOCO) Kenwood Oakland Community Organization and told them we should do a march.” 

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

FEATURED PODCAST - "BEHIND THE STORY"

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Podcast
Unforgotten: "Behind The Story"
By Chijioke Wlliams
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Portraits of Life: Stolen 'Like Ashes In A Violent Wind'

Nancie Walker as a child
Nancie Carolyn Walker
By John W. Fountain

SHE DANCED. ON THE rhythms and winds of life, she danced. As if it were a part of her soul, life and being, she danced. Watching her dance—drift upon the elements, of music and drumbeats, as if they were one—is among the most vivid recollections of family and friends. It is the way they remember her before she left this world untimely, suddenly and violently, disappearing, like ashes upon a menacing swirling wind.

Her name is Nancie Carolyn Walker. But those closest to her all called her Carolyn. She danced most of her life, including at Frances Parker High School on Chicago’s Near North Side, where she was also the captain of the cheerleading squad. Dancing remained a lifelong passion that she once studied at Columbia College before deciding to carve out a career as an entrepreneur. She also attended Roosevelt University.

Nancie loved hushpuppies. She loved to go out to various restaurants and sample different foods. She loved to “step”—the Chicago-bred bop and cool version of ballroom dancing to smooth grooves in the key of R&B, where couples glide majestically across the dance floor. She was loved. And she loved back. And her love is not forgotten.


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“When I lost her, I could not swallow my food. I felt like I was doing her an injustice because I could still eat and Nancie couldn’t.”

Myrna Walker, Nancie's sister

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"You're Dead: So What?"; Author says Telling Their Stories Matters

By Samantha Latson

Dr. Cheryl L. Neely, author
Cheryl Neely can remember just like it was yesterday, laughing and talking while riding the Grandriver Avenue bus with her childhood friend Michelle Jackson and her own two sisters, while leaving Murray-Wright High School in Detroit. Seeing Michelle was part of her daily routine. After school Cheryl, Neely’s sisters and Michelle would all meet at the bus stop to go home. 

On Tuesday, Jan. 24, 1984, the lives of Neely, and her sisters Suane and Cassandra would change forever. That was the date that Michelle, 16, was murdered and raped while on her way to school. 



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"In journalism, there’s a narrative of black people being perpetrators of crime not victims. When we are portrayed as victims, somehow the media intimates that we had it coming..." 

-Cheryl Neely

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UNFORGOTTEN PROJECT - VIDEO


Portraits of Life: Say Her Name; Say All Their Names


Reo Renee Holyfield


Reo Renee Holyfield
By John W. Fountain
HER NAME WAS Reo. Reo Renee. Reo Renee Holyfield. Say her name. Say all of their names. Dispel this cloud of enduring shame. And remember their lives, despite the pain. Let us lift them beyond the realm of invisibility. To speak even from their graves to the dearth of human civility here in this city where they were slain with no indemnity.

Where their killers mostly remain unpunished, unnamed, unfound or free. And there remains no sanctity. For the lives of women poor Black and Brown. No collective pubic outcry by this shimmering city where glitz, glam and fortune abound.

No justice for the 51 who now lie forever frozen in time, six feet underground. Or as ashes after cremation.

So for each of the 51, let us invoke this recitation: Say her name. Say all of their names: Angela Marieanna Ford. Charlotte W. Day. Winifred Shines. Brenda Cowart. Elaine Boneta. Saudia Banks. Bessie Scott. Gwendolyn Williams. Jody Grissom.


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“It’s fire on the inside. I’m still feeling it like they just told me the news the other day. I don't think it’s going to go away.”
 -Ricardo Holyfield, Reo's cousin
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