Are You AMBER Ready?
Maryam Abdul-Aleem | 4/12/2011, 4:40 p.m.
A video of a child swaying on a swing set the somber mood for the press conference for the AMBER Ready Program & AMBER Ready Foundation Back-to-School Child Safety Community Forum event, because the child's joyous moment was preceded by the image of an empty swing still left swinging signaling to the audience the growing, and sometimes silent "epidemic" of children who go missing everyday.
"This fall, 50 million of America's children will return to school, [but] by summer, 1 million of them will be classified as missing or abducted," according an AMBER Ready released statement.
And according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 33 percent, out of 800,000 children that are reported missing each year in the United States are African American, an issue that some in the Black and Latino community may not even be aware of.
The topic of missing children was reported on in the front page of last week's issue of The New York Amsterdam News, and received a tremendous response.
Chairman, President and Founder of AMBER Ready, Kai Patterson explained the need for this new technology that he created for parents and law enforcement to quickly disseminate information about a missing child by storing their child's photo and information on their phones. Patterson was joined with the President of the City-Wide Council of Presidents of the New York City Housing Authority and the Senior Vice President of AMBER Ready Inc.; the chief officer of Amber Ready and many others who want to educate people about the need for a new way to find the nation's missing children, faster.
"Do you hear that sound," said Reginald H. Bowman, the president of the City-Wide Council of Presidents of New York City Housing Authority with his hands up to his ears, "What is it? It's the sound of a child being abducted right under our noses," he said at the ABC Times Square Studio at 1500 Broadway on 44th Street the CEO.
Research has indicated that violent crimes against abducted children occur within the first four hours of the abduction.
The press conference featured parents of abducted children, some of whom are still missing, and others who received tragic news on the death of their loved ones. The parents wore red corsages.
Bowman, who announced his support for Amber Ready with a $1.5 million dollar investment for 30 thousand subscriptions of the program for parents in the NYC Housing Authority, said "our children need to be able to go to sleep at night knowing that we can protect them, by any means necessary."
Good Morning America's Robin Roberts, Emmy Award wining Cissy Tyson, singing group Brothers to Bruthas and many others also gathered at the press conference to lend their support for the urgent need to upgrade the way the city, state, and government protects its children because when a child is abducted time is of the essence before that child becomes the next person who dies under the hands of predators, Patterson said.
Patterson said the process is "laborious" for law enforcement to wait for a frantic parent to find a current photo of a missing child-along with other information such as recent height and weight information-to create a missing child poster and then physically distribute the posters was an antiquated system that makes no little since in the age of technology.
A very emotional Frank Del Vecchio, the chief operating officer of Amber Ready, said that the message needs to get out, "not here, not now, no more, we are aware and are prepared" to save the most innocent of this nation.
While Tyson said she regretted deeply that such a venue was necessary, she noted, "We have been fortunate enough, as parents, to be given the gift of parenthood. Once we bring offspring in this world", she said "it is disturbing and appalling" to conceive that anyone can harm them. "We all here on a mission, and that mission is to save our children," she said.
For more information on Amber Ready Program call 1-866-60-AMBER or visit their website at www.amberready.com