Wizards star John Wall is from Raleigh, North Carolina, but engages with the D.C. community as his own. In fact, last season he won the NBA Cares Community Assist Award for his good works.
Like many residents in and around the District, Wall has been alarmed at the reports of "critical missing" children, many of them black girls, all over social media.
He shared his concern and prayers for their safe return on Instagram.
Ultimately, the information in the viral post he shared was inaccurate, according to NBC4, but it reflects the escalating urgency on social media over D.C.'s missing children.
An exact number of missing is tough to nail down because reports are filed daily and people are often found quickly. The most recent figure provided by the Metropolitan Police Department is 22 cases of missing juveniles, most of them black or latino, still active in D.C.
That update came at a March 22 town hall meeting in Southeast, where Acting D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham and Mayor Muriel Bowser addressed the community's fears on the issue.
The MPD insists the number of missing kids has not risen; instead, awareness has increased since law enforcement began sharing their images and last-known whereabouts on social media.
Newsham said that even though there aren't more missing children than usual, it doesn't mean there isn't a problem. Via WUSA9:
"The disturbing fact is that we do have that many kids who go missing in our city. And, it's been that way for a long time."
Then on Thursday, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Rep. Cedric Richmond issued a letter, obtained by the Associated Press, asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey for help in locating the kids.
It seems clear that social media platforms, including those of celebrities like Wall, are bringing fresh attention to an issue that might be old, but is as urgent as any we face.
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