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Kansas City advocates don't want cases of missing Black women to overshadow their humanity

A Black woman in a blue sweater holds a graduation picture of her daughter, a smiling young Black woman in a cap and gown.
Chase Castor
The Beacon
JoAnn Stovall is looking for her granddaughter, 25-year-old Samone Jackson.

A third of missing women in the U.S. are Black. In Jackson County, the death of Jaynie Crosdale, who was reported missing in January and found in the Missouri River in June, renews concerns about how cases of missing Black women are handled by Kansas City Police and other local law enforcement.

In October, a Kansas City woman escaped from an Excelsior Springs home where she was being held captive by Timothy Haslett, Jr. Her story caused outrage in the Black community that police weren't taking cases of missing Black women seriously.

The Kansas City Police Department reinstated its missing persons unit in April, but the death of Jaynie Crosdale, who was connected to the Haslett case, raises more questions about how police handle similar cases.

Black women make up about 15% of the U.S. population, but a third of missing women. And in Kansas City, the proportion is even higher.

Kris Wade, executive director at The Justice Project KC, is hopeful that recent efforts by Kansas City Police Chief Stacy Graves will bring more sensitivity to the issue — but says that there's still not enough attention to victims.

"They're people just like everyone else," Wade told KCUR's Up To Date. "A person isn't necessarily a prostitute. That's not what a person is. That's what a person does... I think it's really important to separate the actions from the inner core of the person."

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
As an Up To Date producer, I aim to create a space for Kansas Citians to come together for curious and inspired conversations about the region we call home. I want to help find answers to big questions, shine a light on local change makers and break down complex issues people need to know about. Email me at hallejackson@kcur.org.
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