According to croberts5 (dedicated to her, her family family and friends)
I wish i could do more than write this blog for you Phylicia…
A young person feared missing, seemingly disappeared of the face of the earth, and a torn family looking for answers. Casey Anthony… no, Natalie Holloway… no. Actually, I am writing about Phylicia Barnes. She wasn’t a desperate housewife, or a basketball player’s acquaintance, nor an heiress of a robust fortune. Instead she was a 16 year old straight A student from North Carolina who was on track to graduate high school early. She wasn’t a carefully crafted commercial recording artist watered down to quench our thirst for ignorance, she wasn’t a well known single lady nor was she a fledgling actress void of dedication and self-respect. Instead she was a beautiful young woman, whose sister Deena says life isn’t the same without Phylicia’s laugh to illuminate it.
In December of 2010 Phylicia went missing in Baltimore, and her body was found in April of this year. Throughout that time, my hometown of Baltimore was at the center of an intense search for this young lady. Flyers were circulated and posted on a plethora of street corners and business establishments, every little bit done with the hope of finding her. Phylicia’s case received minimal coverage from the national media (and minimal is a lenient description). In reality, the marriage of Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries has already dwarfed the amount of airtime given to the story of this young woman. However, this post is not a pulpit from which I aim to make this about an issue, or a cause, or some narcissistic need to attack the media. Rather, I post this for Phylicia. I post this for parents who did everything right but are still left wondering why… wondering what more could they have done. I post this for a young girl who was supposed to be at Ikea picking out drab accessories for her dorm room at Towson University this fall. She should be complaining about freshmen orientation and how it was nothing but white people, like most of us who attended PWI’s did. But instead, her family had to lay her to rest, unable to see her reach her goals.
Being a sociologist I am often bombarded with the statistics of homicide, rape, kidnappings, and domestic violence that grossly affect the African-American community more than other racial groups. However, I think it is incumbent upon all of us to remember that Phylicia was more than just a variable in an equation to be relegated to an arguing point in an argument among Ivory Tower professionals who have never touched the people they research. Phylicia was what we tell our young people they should be. She was that one we find in the class we are mentoring and ask her to help us facilitate activities. As I said before, the arguments about equal coverage of cases, police ineptness, intersectional indifference, etc. are for another time. This case in particular resonated with me because from everything I heard/saw/read Phylicia sounded like someone I would have liked to know and learned from. A young girl who maybe I would have worked with in a leadership development program or given a tour to at Maryland. The historian in me wants you to never forget her. But the sociologist in me wants you to ask why you may have never heard of her in the first place.
In closing, Phylicia Barnes, and her family, deserve for you to know her name, and more importantly know her. She may not have been white, she may not have been wealthy, she may not have come from a “perfect family” (whatever that is), but she did come from us. And she deserves for you to know her name, but more importantly she deserves for you to know her. Life… cherish it.
This link is the least I could do… just a kid like all of us.