I’m not proud to admit it… but I was lazy.
I had been wondering for some time about the girls who were taken from their dormitory in Nigeria over a year ago, and yet I dragged my heels to seek out their current status. I figured it would be difficult to find information on the story – and truthfully – there was a part of me that didn’t want to read what I thought I’d find even if I got something conclusive. So I staved off my curiosity until I started looking into the Nigerian elections and realized how very political the abduction really was.
Fortunately for a westerner, I have a dear friend and fellow LendOneHand community member living in Nigeria who is always very patient in lending me a hand. He started teaching me about the dynamics of Nigerian economics and politics. When I asked Rotimi Orimoloye about the girls, he spoke with such a resonant passion and desire to bring them back that I knew I could escape my ignorance no longer. Resolved to take action, I was ready to face whatever I would learn.
Making use of Google’s natural speech algorithm, I asked: “Okay Google, whatever happened to those Nigerian girls anyway?” Immediately, I was flooded with information. It turned out that while I had ignored my curiosity, these girls had been anything but forgotten nor had they been ignored by countless others as evidenced by the many grassroot campaigns to keep hope alive. Though as good-hearted and global-reaching as the#BringBackOurGirls hashtag campaign was when it started out last spring with celebrities and politicians alike, Arit John astutely points out in this BloombergPolitics article:
…the girls are still missing, and thousands are dead. The U.S. intervention effort—the kind of action the hashtag was meant to inspire—has failed.
For a space of time, people all around the world were all too aware of the selfies which caused about as much derision as they did praise for “using one’s klout to do some good.” However since then, tensions have risen between the U.S. and Nigeria from political dissension. Seems like it gets less cool to post about stuff happening within a country when all of a sudden yours isn’t so tight with theirs. The truth of the matter is, though, that there’s no room for taking sides when it comes to human rights. And it’s in these times when we must rely upon each other in Social Media to let our governments know what we as citizens of the greater Global Culture expect and want. More than 200 school girls were kidnapped in Chibok, Nigeria, by Boko Haram for daring to get an education. We want you, our leaders, to Bring Back Our Girls.
On April 14th, I’m going to be wearing red and raising my voice as I march for my sisters in another country. I want to invite you to join with me in doing the same in your own community. Let’s join Ramaa Mosley, the founder of Global School Girl March, and the many students, mothers, and activists who will be marching to show the world that we have not forgotten and that we won’t rest until Nigerian authorities take action to bring every last girl home safely to their loved ones. The future of Nigeria rests upon knowing that they are not alone: this is a Global fight. And we declare it’s time to UNITE.
To find out more about what you can do to help end the war on higher learning in unindustrialized countries, follow BringBackOurGirls on their Facebook and Twitter pages. They are operated by a team of dedicated volunteers that started in California, and has grown worldwide. Their objective is to share news and give people actions they can take and help the community around the world to connect for rallies. They DO NOT accept monetary donations. Simply your voice shared across your networks is what is asked.
Educated girls will share that education with their brothers and sisters, impacting their communities and breaking the cycle of poverty. Removing barriers such as early marriage, gender-based violence, domestic slavery, and sex trafficking means not only a better life for girls, but a safer, healthier and more prosperous world for all.
Only 5% of northern Nigerian girls make it to secondary school. The abducted girls were ready to graduate and become doctors and lawyers. They are extraordinary, and they need to be rescued and brought home. All girls deserve education and protection while at school.
We can change the world together. Oppression can only exist in the dark – where people are unable or afraid to speak up. A moment like this makes us realize that each voice has power. As we socialize this message that girls matter; that a world where girls thrive is a world where everyone thrives, repression becomes more difficult. And then it becomes impossible. Educating girls around the world is essential.
One of my all-time favorite speeches from Nelson Mandela really drives the point home.
…As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest.
…people in the world’s poorest countries remain imprisoned, enslaved, and in chains.
They are trapped in the prison of poverty. It is time to set them free.
Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and be eradicated by the actions of human beings.
And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.
While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.
The steps that are needed from the developed nations are clear.
The steps ARE clear. Now let’s take them together, rid the world of poverty, #BringBackOurGirls, and always, always strive to #LendOneHand globally!
Post the following image on Google Plus, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Personalize it with your marching time and starting location.
Use hashtags:#bringbackourgirls #schoolgirlmarch #schoolgirlsmatter
#girlsmakeadifference #globalschoolgirlmarch to connect with others.