(Landover Hills, MD) – What started 10 years ago as a passion project between two sisters-in-law to bring attention to the growing number of missing persons of color, has evolved into one of the nation’s top minority-run organizations, reuniting families and providing much needed closure for others. Since its inception, the Black and Missing Foundation, Inc. (BAMFI) has supported thousands of families in the search for their missing loved ones and gained national recognition for its efforts.
“The greatest success for me is pouring our blood, sweat and tears into our community over the past 10 years and to see that our labor of love hasn’t been in vain,” says Co-Founder Derrica Wilson. “I recall when we first started the organization, we said if we find one person, then we did our job. To date, we’ve helped find nearly 300 missing persons of color.”
With 240,000 persons of color reported missing every year, the founders realize they still have a vital role to play because these individuals rarely garner the level of attention and exposure as their white counterparts.
“Many times, we are families last resort – their last hope,” says Co-Founder Natalie Wilson. “This platform allows us to open doors for families searching for their missing loved ones and not restrict access to help.”
Over the years, missing persons profiles from BAMFI’s clearinghouse have been featured in People, Essence, Ebony, the Huffington Post, The Root, The Grio, The Washington Post, and on TV One, just to name a few. The foundation also secured an ongoing media partnership with the Michael Baisden Show. In 2017, the founders also received the Black Girls Rock! 2017 Community Change Agent Award.
In recognition of its 10-year anniversary on May 24, BAMFI has launched several initiatives during the month of May aimed at getting more people involved in the movement.
5 ways the public can support BAMFI’s anniversary:
- The $10 for 10 Fundraiser: Give a tax-deductible donation during the month of May to help BAMFI reach its $10,000 anniversary goal. Supporters are encouraged to give $10 (or increments of $10). Proceeds to benefit the families who turn to BAMFI in their time of need.
- A Day of Service on May 24: BAMFI encourages communities across the country to come together to give back. On this day, BAMFI’s team will be volunteering at a crisis center for sex trafficking victims by sprucing up the facility and providing much needed items such as toiletries. Volunteer at a center for children that are victims of sex trafficking or at a domestic violence shelter in one of the cities with highest numbers of reported missing persons of color including Atlanta, Baltimore, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, and St. Louis.
- BAMFI’s Diamond Jubilee on June 2: A special event that will take place in lieu of the annual 5k walk/run.
- Lives Worth Sharing Campaign: Share the profile of a missing person from the Lives Worth Sharing campaign on the BAMFI website. One share may be all it takes to find the missing link or information that could help reunite a family or provide closure.
- Where Are They Now: Watch BAMFI’s video series which showcases the families of four missing persons whose loved ones were found with the organization’s help. Also, find out where they are now since returning home.
“We have only scratched the surface of this issue in our communities,” says Natalie Wilson. “We have come a long way but have much more work to do. To everyone who shared a profile, sent a kind or encouraging word, donated time or money, or assisted us with searching, thank you. To those who still have a loved one missing, we ask you to hold on to hope. Hope that you will get answers, hope that your loved one will return home. Know that BAMFI is with you every step of the way.”
To learn more about the Black and Missing Foundation, Inc. and how you can support the organization, visit www.bamfi.org.
About Black and Missing Foundation Inc.:
Black and Missing Foundation, Inc (BAMFI) is established as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, by a veteran law enforcement official and public relations specialist, whose mission is to bring awareness to missing persons of color; provide vital resources and tools to missing person’s families and friends; and to provide educational training on personal safety. BAMFI offers a free clearinghouse, which highlights profiles and information on missing persons of color, nationally. Profiles of missing individuals, throughout the nation, as well as news, information, and tips, can be found at BAMFI’s Web site: www.bamfi.org, IG: @blackandmissingfdn, Twitter: @BAM_FI or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bamfiorg.