TV One will launch a series tonight that addresses the issue of missing Black Americans.
S. Epatha Merkerson, Emmy-Award-winner and longtime member of the NBC's "Law & Order" cast, will host the 10-part reality series from the Silver-Spring-based cable channel.
Here's the release from TV One:
As the centerpiece of an effort to draw attention to and help find missing Black Americans, whose stories are largely ignored in national media coverage of missing persons, TV One will premiere Find Our Missing, a 10-episode, one-hour docu-drama series Wednesday, January 18 at 10 PM ET.
Hosted by Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actress S. Epatha Merkerson, who for 16 years portrayed Police Lieutenant Anita Van Buren on NBC’s Law & Order, Find Our Missing is designed to put names and faces to people of color who have disappeared without a trace.
Each episode will tell the story of the missing person or persons, beginning with the day they vanished and the frantic searches by loved ones and investigators to find them. Find Our Missing provides insight into these victims’ lives –their hopes and dreams, what makes them tick, and how they have touched those around them - from the people who know them best.
The episodes will chronicle the investigations into their disappearances, and why the search for them so far has only turned up dead ends. Each episode delves into the mystery surrounding one or two disappearances, and will call viewers to action, providing them with contact information for the specific police and local FBI offices handling the cases if they have any information about the missing.
“Nearly one-third of the missing in this country are black Americans, while we make up only 12 percent of the population. Yet stories about missing people of color are rarely told in the national media,” said TV One President and CEO Wonya Lucas.
“Find Our Missing will be dramatic television, but we also hope that TV One’s combined efforts on air, through digital and social media, and through partnerships will also draw attention to a critical issue and bring new information to light for the loved ones of the missing featured in this series, and for others. We hope these profiles will trigger the memory of someone who might have seen something, and feel compelled to come forward and help these families who have suffered for so long.”
“Though these victims may be gone, through this show we want to say they are no longer forgotten,” said S. Epatha Merkerson. “I am honored to host Find Our Missing and hope that my participation not only can help shine the spotlight on the plight of missing people of color, but that we can help uncover some answers and ultimately find justice for the sake of those missing and their families and friends.”
The premiere episode features stories of two people who vanished in 2009:
Pamela Butler, a 47-year-old Program Analyst at the Environmental Protection Agency, mysteriously disappeared from inside her Washington, D.C. home despite an elaborate security system. Her boyfriend was the last person to see her.
Hasanni Campbell, a sweet five-year-old boy suffering from cerebral palsy vanished from the busy Rockridge neighborhood in Oakland, California. His foster father, who was dropping off Hassani at his foster mother’s job, says he left him alone for just moments when he took Hassani’s younger sister to the front of the store. Investigators don’t believe Hassani ever made it to Rockridge that day.