The greater Louisville community has been on high alert the past week after the disappearance of writer and organizer Quintez Brown. Missing for over a week, the Courier-Journal reported Brown had a terse interaction with a security guard at the Algonquin Park pool before he went missing.
Two reports indicate Brown may have been spotted at a Subway last Sunday and the Franciscan Kitchen shelter on Tuesday. Neither lead has panned out so far.
An op-ed columnist for the Courier-Journal, Brown is a psychology major. The Courier-Journal reported that brown was also an MLK scholar at the University of Louisville and very involved in efforts around youth violence prevention and political education.
His father and stepmother spoke to the greater Louisville community during a press conference Thursday. Jacobe Daughterty said this was not like his son to just disappear without a word to anyone in the family.
Daughterty asked folks to call him right away if they saw Brown. “Stay right there and call,” said Daugherty. “I’ll be there in two minutes. I’ll be there.”
Groups of volunteers have gone out into the community handing out flyers to alert people of Brown’s disappearance. His grandmother told a CBS affiliate that Brown was family-oriented and usually stayed in communication with his loved ones.
Brown’s disappearance has attracted widespread attention from elected officials and political candidates to the University of Louisville. In posts on social media encouraging the community to help look for Brown, former Senate candidate Charles Booker described him as a “brilliant young scholar.”
While Brown’s stepmother speculated he could be having a breakdown, the family was not aware of a specific history of mental health issues. Even so, the past year has been particularly challenging for Black organizers.
A Twitter thread by Joy Priest highlighted the tragic circumstances of several other people active in the protests after Breonna Taylor’s murder last year. It’s eerily similar to the pattern found among Ferguson activists.
With the compounded crises facing communities from the COVID-19 pandemic, social isolation, increasingly blatant examples of racial injustice, and an intense wave of direct actions it is enough to take a toll on anyone. Being a highly visible member of any community can be a challenge. The intensity of combating social injustice coupled with the regular struggles of everyday life can be unbearable for anyone.
Even as a teenager, Brown was thinking about what it meant to redefine safety and put the needs of Black and Brown youth first. In a 2019 Spectrum News 1 article, Brown challenged an effort to remove police from schools and replace them with a school district-operated equivalent.
“[It] doesn’t feel like more safety,” Brown told Spectrum News 1. “A lot of students especially in predominantly Black schools, they come from neighborhoods where there’s a lot of police lack of trust and police violence…so adding the police in their learning environment doesn’t seem like a solution for safety.”
Brown’s family continues to ask anyone who may have information about his whereabouts to please call them at 502-938-7618 or 502-936-3860.