7th Annual ‘We Walk for Her’ March Demands More Help in Finding Missing Black Girls and Women

A coalition of people, led by young organizers, marched down Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Bronzeville on June 6, 2024, to bring attention to missing and murdered Black girls and women. (Eunice Alpasan / WTTW News)A coalition of people, led by young organizers, marched down Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Bronzeville on June 6, 2024, to bring attention to missing and murdered Black girls and women. (Eunice Alpasan / WTTW News)

About 200 people, led by young organizers, marched the streets in Bronzeville on Thursday evening to shine a light on missing and murdered Black girls and women in the seventh annual “We Walk for Her” march.

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“It’s not okay that our Black girls are going missing, and there’s nothing being done about it,” youth organizer Jakaya said to the crowd. “Everybody, we have to fight to make sure we are united for our sisters, mothers, aunties and daughters.”

Some of the people interviewed requested their last names be omitted due to safety reasons.

Organizers are demanding more accountability from police and that elected officials and law enforcement authorities do more to resolve missing persons and murder cases. They are also calling for the creation of a local “Ebony Alert” notification system for missing Black women and children, pointing to a similar law in California that went into effect this year.

The march is a way for families of missing and murdered Black girls and women to know they are supported, said Tricey, whose daughter Aziya started the march when she was 13.

“They have a community behind them,” Tricey said.

Thursday’s march was organized by the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization — which worked with Aziya to help create the event — along with the Lugenia Burns Hope Center, GoodKidsMadCity-Englewood, Mothers Opposed to Violence Everywhere and Southside Together Organizing for Power.

Watch: New Report Raises Questions Over CPD’s Approach to Missing Persons Cases

The march comes on the heels of the issue gaining a national spotlight after the City Bureau and Invisible Institute investigative series “Missing in Chicago” received a Pulitzer Prize in Local Reporting last month.

Left: Teresa Smith holds up a portrait of her late mother Daisy Hayes while speaking in Bronzeville on June 6, 2024. Right: Smith wears a heart-shaped necklace with her mother’s picture during the seventh annual “We Walk for Her” March. (Eunice Alpasan / WTTW News)Left: Teresa Smith holds up a portrait of her late mother Daisy Hayes while speaking in Bronzeville on June 6, 2024. Right: Smith wears a heart-shaped necklace with her mother’s picture during the seventh annual “We Walk for Her” March. (Eunice Alpasan / WTTW News)

That investigation found that Black girls and women between the ages of 10 and 20 make up about 30% of all missing person cases in the city, despite only making up 2% of Chicago's population.

The series also covers how patterns of police neglect contributed to the problem.

As the group marched down the street, the crowd stopped at several intersections to listen to speeches from their peers. Many participants wore light purple shirts in support of the cause, as they chanted the names of those who have gone missing.

Among those names chanted was Daisy Hayes, who was 65 when she went missing in 2018. Her former boyfriend was charged with her murder and was later acquitted. Hayes’ daughter Teresa Smith attended Thursday’s march, holding a portrait of her mother and wearing a heart-shaped necklace with her mother’s picture.

“Just because we live in a certain ZIP code/area code, it shouldn’t matter — we all are human,“ Smith said. “This hurts beyond anything I ever dealt with in my life.”

Contact Eunice Alpasan: @eunicealpasan | 773-509-5362 | [email protected]


A Safer City is supported, in part, by the Sue Ling Gin Foundation Initiative for Reducing Violence in Chicago.


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