Dispatches from a Reporter's Notebook

Giving Voice

Posted July 20, 2009

Hundreds of people turned out for a vigil in Rocky Mount last night to honor five murdered women and three others who are missing.  The remains of a sixth person have been found, but not identified.   It appears the cases which date back to October of 2005 may be connected--most of the bodies were found in Edgecombe County near Seven Bridges Road.  

While state and local authorities have formed a task force to look into the cases, there is a feeling in the community the effort is too little too late.  Specifically, because the women are black and come from "the wrong side of the tracks" as one organizer put it, there is concern their cases have been ignored.  The victims were also connected to drug use and prostitution, which the group calling themselves M.O.M.S., Missing and Murdered Sisters, says should play no role in the amount of attention law enforcement gives the cases.

This fact was painfully clear last night at the vigil as the small group swelled into several hundred.  They sang, they prayed, and they lit candles to remember the victims.  Much of the crowd was made up of young children, children who had little understanding of what was happening or why they were there.  But their presence emphasized the fact that this community has real challenges, challenges that could make or break these children's future.  They want their children to grow up in a safe environment.  They are demanding that we hear their collective voice.  And guess what?  It worked.  We're listening...

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WRAL's Amanda Lamb offers a behind-the-scenes look at what TV news reporters do, the people they meet and how their jobs affect them.