The president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, waited weeks to ask for international assistance to recover the nearly 300 girls kidnapped by the militant terror organization Boko Haram who has attacked schools before. Some of the girls managed to escape, but the others may have been transported into neighboring countries. Recently released videos show about 100 girls wearing hijabs and reciting the Koran. The Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, was threatening to sell the girls into marriages and sex slavery, but now says he is willing to exchange them for imprisoned Boko Haram militants.
The video footage offers proof that the girls are still alive and only intensifies the need to "bring back our girls." The United States is among other countries who have joined in the search for the abducted girls. According to ABC News, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. team consists of "law enforcement, intelligence and military experts who will use counter-terrorism efforts in Nigeria." The Nigerian government has reached out to groups of militants while protesters there rallied to draw attention to the situation. There have been rallies all over the world.
Support of the abducted Nigerian girls has spread globally over social media. The Twitter hashtag "#BringBackOurGirls" has been trending since the girls were taken in hopes of bringing awareness of the situation that was initially kept quiet by the Nigerian government and to show support for the Nigerian girls. Many celebrities and well-known persons have joined in the trending to help bring awareness of the situation. There have been over three million tweets so far.
Both Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzai support the campaign for the return of the kidnapped Nigeria schoolgirls. During President Obama's weekly White House radio address, Michelle Obama delivered a message in honor of Mother's Day and offered her thoughts, prayers and support in the wake of the unconscionable terrorist kidnapping. The First Lady reminded us this terrorist action is not an isolated incident.
At times like these, we are reminded of the power we can have when we combine our voices to make change. In addition to joining the Twitter conversation to #BringBackOurGirls, there are other actions we can support including urging our representatives to support the various violence against women laws. One such law that can help protect women and girls worldwide is the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA).
To read more about the Nigerian schoolgirls, see these stories . . .