Police and family are hoping someone may know something about Day, who has been missing since late August.
"What I want them to do, is to realize that Jelani is everybody, so he could be your brother, he could be your cousin, he could be your nephew, he could be a grandson. And you want somebody to look for him or somebody to find him, and that's all I want. I want my son," said Jelani's mom, Carmen Bolden Day.
The 25-year-old was reported missing in Bloomington, Illinois, on August 25 after he didn't show up to class for several days, according to his family.
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His car was found a day later in a wooded area about 60 miles away near Peru in LaSalle County.
"I shouldn't have to beg. I shouldn't have to plead. I shouldn't have to feel, that there is a racial disparity, I shouldn't have to feel anything like that, I want these people that have these resources to realize this this could happen to them," Jelani's mom told GMA.
A body was found in the Illinois River in early September, but authorities have not said who it is.
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Day is a masters student studying speech pathology.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Bloomington Police Department at (309) 4342548