For 10 years, families of missing Missourians have gathered in Jefferson City in mid-June to raise awareness of their silent plight and to remember their loved ones.
The nonprofit Missouri Missing will host the 10th Anniversary Missouri's Missing and Unidentified Persons Awareness Day at 11 a.m. Saturday at Memorial Park.
Missouri Missing is dedicated to supporting the families of the missing by educating the public and assisting law enforcement in their efforts.
More than 1,000 missing people are listed on the Missouri Highway Patrol's Missing Persons Clearinghouse, according to a proclamation from Gov. Eric Greitens' office marking June 17 as Missing and Unidentified Persons Awareness Day in Missouri.
"For every missing person, there is a family who must wait weeks, months or years to obtain resolution," the proclamation said.
Saturday's event begins with a roster of speakers and an invitation for families of missing people to briefly share their stories.
Regina Sykes, board member of Looking for An Angel Inc., will share the experience of when her daughter, Monica, 25, went missing from Berkeley in October and later was found dead.
Martha Hamilton, who is active in several missing-person organizations, will discuss the loss of her sister, Elizabeth, who was kidnapped in 1965 from Cape Girardeau at the age of 2.
The event will emphasize impacts of human trafficking, which has surpassed gun trafficking as the second largest crime in the world, behind drug trafficking.
Christine McDonald, an internationally recognized author and speaker on the social injustices facing underserved populations, is a survivor of human trafficking, homelessness and addiction.
"She impacted me big time," said Holts Summit resident Marianne Asher-Chapman, cofounder of Missouri Missing. "I've learned so much from her."
McDonald will speak, along with a representative from Central Missouri Stop Human Trafficking Coalition.
A dove release will follow the speakers around 1 p.m.
There will also be a picnic and raffle.
"We want the public to realize there are still missing people; it's a silent epidemic," Asher-Chapman said. "Until it affects your family, you really don't get it."
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