My project is a commentary on the lack of media representation and urgency around missing Black women and girls in America. Throughout history there has been a clear discrepancy between white children and children of color. This includes the start of the missing persons epidemic which revolved around the disappearance of a young white boy. As a part of my research I explored the history of missing children on milk cartons and the effects that the media had on the recovery of missing children. The recovery rates for Black children is only 24% and that reflects the lack of resources, media coverage and empathy. When looking at the epidemic statistics as a whole, I realized that if I were to go missing the efforts to find me, could differ greatly from what would happen if one of my white peers were to go missing.
These milk cartons are a way to highlight the juxtaposition of the missing person coverage in America that has always been in favor of those who are white. The women featured on the sides of the cartons include myself and some of my peers.The name of the milk company, Vanished Meadows, represents those that have gone missing, and meadows can be located in cities, the suburbs and rural communities. The project includes multiple 3-dimensional pieces that are supposed to poke fun at the traditional missing person milk carton. The nutrition facts are all statistics related to the epidemic and highlight the unlikelihood of our return if we were to go missing. As of right now Black children are 2x more likely to remain missing. My goal for this project is to help change that. It is a non-traditional way of highlighting a cause. Though we aren’t all from the same place, we all fit under the same demographic, we are Black women and society has demonstrated time and again that our lives don’t matter.
Lastly, the project includes quotes that came directly from each participant. As printed on each carton, I wanted to shine a light on the vanished voices. I wanted this project to capture the concerns of the people that this topic affects the most. The voices that go unheard. I hope to see the day where a young white woman’s life isn’t chosen over mine. I hope to see the day where everyone is represented in the media equally. I hope to see the day when Black Lives Matter to all and not just those who are Black.