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Jelani Day, Missing 25-Year-Old Grad Student, Pronounced Dead After Being Found In The Illinois River [CONDOLENCES]

September 24, 2021

by Nick Alexander Fenley

in Latest News

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Jelani Day, Missing 25-Year-Old Grad Student, Pronounced Dead After Being Found In The Illinois River [CONDOLENCES]

The month-long search for Jelani Day has come to an unfortunate end.

Last month, 25-year-old Illinois State University graduate student Jelani Day was reported missing. On Aug. 26th, two days after Jelani Day went missing, police found his car by a wooded area near Peru, Illinois. Nine days later, authorities then found a body in the Illinois River, and–just yesterday (Thursday, Sept. 23rd)–the body was confirmed to be Jelani Day.

Notably, the Jelani Day case has been receiving newfound attention since Joy Reid spoke up about how the media doesn’t publicize missing persons cases involving people of color. Specifically, Joy Reid slammed the media for prioritizing the Gabby Petito case over other missing persons cases, calling the matter “missing white woman syndrome.” She stated:

“It goes without saying that no family should ever have to endure that kind of pain. But the way this story has captivated the nation has many wondering–why not the same media attention when people of color go missing? Well, the answer actually has a name: missing white woman syndrome. [The term] describe[s] the media and public fascination with missing white women, like Laci Peterson or Natalee Holloway, while ignoring cases involving missing people of color.”

“No one is looking for us.” With all the coverage on the Gabby Petito case, Joy Reid calls out the media’s obsession with missing white women, and calls it “missing white woman syndrome”. pic.twitter.com/FPbA3bHjNq

— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) September 21, 2021

For context, Gabby Petito was reported missing on Sept. 11th after her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, returned home from a cross-country road trip without her. She was pronounced dead this past Tuesday (Sept. 21st), and Brian Laundrie is currently on the run.

Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie

The Gabby Petito case has firmly held the attention of American mass media since it began, and many have pointed out that similar cases, like that of Jelani Day, did not get the same coverage. Regarding the disparity, Jelani Day‘s mother–Carmen Bolden Day–tearfully stated:

“I want them to look for my child like they’re looking for [Gabby Petito]. He is not a nobody, he is somebody–and I want him to come back home. I want them to give my son the same attention, and it makes me mad because this young white girl is getting that attention and my young Black son is not.”

We send our condolences and prayers to Jelani Day’s family at this troubling time.