Tracking Racial Incidence of Missing Black People has a Technological Edge. Meet the couple who create an App to improve results of this particular Atrocity.
James Samuel, Jr. and his wife, Evelyn, an African American couple who wanted to minimize and prevent personal and community security issues, Anjel Tech sends information to loved ones in real-time, efficiently and discretely. The app has the potential to decrease the number of dangerous incidents young Black people often face and give their families peace of mind.
As racial injustice continues across the country, HBCUs are experiencing an increase in student enrollment considering students are becoming more intentional about feeling safe and understood. Unfortunately, students heading to college or back from the summer break have to contend with an ugly American truth: safety is not equitable on campus. A new study published by Southern Methodist University’s Dominique Baker and UC Berkeley’s Tolani Britton recently showed that enrollment of Black first-time college students climbed at HBCUs in states where hate crime reports increased.
Many of the neighborhoods where HBCUs are located are being subjected to gentrification, where middle class and affluent residents, along with new business and luxury properties, are moving in and displacing low-income locals. Atlanta has been cited as the most gentrifying city in the country and houses four prestigious HBCUs (Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College & Morehouse School of Medicine). Students are at risk of facing more personal security issues off-campus, on their way to activities or class, including instances of police brutality, and even clashes with new residents. As recently as 2019, Howard University students faced issues with individuals walking their dogs on campus without picking up after them. Living in gentrified neighborhoods can also prove to be costly for students, and students face complaints from neighbors due to their presence as reported by The Undefeated.
Along with challenges on campus, young Black Americans are also going missing at alarming rates around the country, with the most recent cases of Jelani Day and Daniel Robinson coming to the forefront due to the lack of coverage and law enforcement assistance. Unfortunately, many of these cases do not have happy endings. Young people deserve to be safe, whether going to class or to the grocery store. Hate crimes and these off-campus challenges should be addressed both systemically and through community efforts to make sure each young college student walking onto campuses this school year feels safe, regardless if they are attending an HBCU or not.
Parents have a unique role in student safety. Every parent should remind their student of three safety tips:
1. Make a safety plan. Have conversations about the potential types of issues they might experience on and off-campus, discussing what to do if the student feels unsafe. Ensure they understand the community safety resources available to them and when to leverage each.
2. The power of video. This year, the world saw the power of video to capture the unbiased record of events necessary to bring about accountability and administer justice in the murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin. Recording and live-streaming video when a student feels unsafe is an essential way to both scare off offenders and to increase the potential for accountability. An app such as ANJEL Tech, which turns any smartphone into a bodycam, would be useful in such situations.
3. The importance of sharing location. Saying to a child, “text me when you get there” is an outdated behavior. Leverage technology to share real-time locations with family and friends. Someone should always know where the student is so that they can be there to help or call for help if the student is in danger.