Young black woman smiling in a black suit against a colorful background

On March 23, Amber Evans body was recovered from the Ohio Scioto River.  She had been in the river since January 28, 2019.  The community of Columbus and people across the nation had been waiting since January 28th for the police to recover Amber’s body as there was clear evidence that she was in fact, in the Scioto River.  They found her car near the river, they found her cell phone near the river and all evidence pointed to the fact that Amber would be found in the river.  How she got there was to be determined, after they found her body.  

I understand the pain, fear and the torture of having to wait for the police to tell you that your loved one, that has been missing for several weeks, has been found.  On March 3rd, 1977, on my 21st birthday, my father’s first cousin, a woman that he grew up with, loved and considered his “favorite cousin’s” body was recovered from the river in Indianapolis, Indiana.  She had been missing since December 1976, when her family found her door unlocked, her purse and keys on her kitchen table and no signs of her, anywhere.  

I remember the change in my father and my uncle, his brother, as they tried to hide their fear and concern about where their cousin was, why hadn’t she called anyone, all the time knowing that there was not going to be a good outcome with this situation because there was no way that Rachel, his cousin, would have left her house without her house keys or her  purse, with a check received that day from work not cashed. 

As we waited for the police to drag the Scioto River, I remember the hard winter that we had that year in 1977 and that Rachel wasn’t found until the river thawed out, that March.  Almost three long months with the family not knowing what had happened, if she was alive or dead, was she murdered and if murdered who was the killer?  Someone we knew, a family member, a close friend or a stranger?  I remember also the feeling that because she was a Black woman that the police didn’t really care if they found her or not.  They weren’t even looking for her when her body was discovered.  After her body was discovered there wasn’t any real investigation, that I’m aware of, to find out what happened to her, how did she get in the river and who killed her.  Just another Black body found in Indy. 

My heart goes out to Amber’s family, friends and the community as we have lost a strong young social activist who was working towards social justice for all people.  We have lost a strong advocate for our youth, women and Black men.  Amber was only 28 years old, however she had spent her adult life serving her community, her peers, her elders and her people.  She left an impact on all who knew her, worked with her and marched with her for social justice.  

Amber Evans was not just another Black woman found dead in Columbus, she was a beautiful, courageous young leader who will be missed but never forgotten.

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