At age 13, Aziya Roberts went to KOCO to complain about how little governments seemed to be doing to find the group of people most likely to go missing in the United States: Black girls and women.

Believing in the importance of youth leadership development, KOCO worked with Aziya to create the first We Walk for Her march to bring attention to those voiceless Chicagoans. What started as a march has turned into a movement.

We Walk for Her has helped raise awareness to the fact that even though Black girls and women go missing more often, their cases are not publicized in the national media. While KOCO does not take full credit, things have changed in Chicago’s newsrooms and in the Cook County Sheriff’s Office.

In 2021, the sheriff’s office announced the Missing Persons Project, in which detectives would restart searches for a list of 170 missing persons, some missing for more than 80 years. Chicago media increased coverage of the cases of Kierra Coles, Viola Martin, and other missing Black women.

KOCO also created its Girls Lead initiative to give young Black women a platform to advocate for themselves on issues that affect them directly. Too often, well-meaning agencies and officials create well-intended programs that don’t adequately address the conditions that communities see and experience every day.

Girls Lead is one of KOCO’s answers to this mismatch of priorities.

Environmental Justice

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