As nationwide attention ratchets up around the disappearance and apparent death of a Florida woman, Father Michael Pfleger is calling attention to the dozens of Black women who either remain missing, or who have been killed, in the city of Chicago in recent years.
Pfleger, who has become well-known for his work in looking to combat gun violence in Chicago, says that the plight of those women is being largely ignored.
“The value of life depends on your race and color,” he says.
Pfleger made a social media post this week concerning the disappearances and deaths of those women, saying that while his condolences were with the family of Gabby Petito, whom authorities believe was found dead at Grand Teton National Park after going missing in late August, he says that attention needs to be paid to what is going on in the city of Chicago.
“Nobody is looking for the 51 Black women who are missing,” he said in the post.
In an interview Monday, Pfleger called on local law enforcement to step up their efforts to solve the cases.
“Where’s the outrage? Where’s the commitment? Where?” he asked. “Where is the press conference from law enforcement and city officials to say ‘we’re gonna find the roots of this?’”
Roosevelt University Professor John W. Fountain echoed those sentiments.
“What is missing are the stories of hundreds and thousands of women and girls of color whose stories get blacked out by the news media,” he says.
Fountain, who is also a freelance columnist with the Chicago Sun-Times, has written extensively about the 51 Black women Pfleger alluded to in interviews and his social media posts. He has also created the “Unforgotten” project with his students, saying that the aim of the project is to “humanize” those who are missing or have been killed.
He says that their cases deserve the same level of attention and national outrage as the Petito case.
“Their families deserve the same kind of comfort and the same kind of sense of justice that I suspect Gabby Petito’s family is rightly going to find,” he says.