From Oakland to the White House, to cities around the world, millions of people are picking up the cries of Nigerian mothers: “Bring Back Our Girls.”
Boko Haram – meaning “Western Education is Sinful” – an Islamic military group that kidnapped more than 200 Nigerian girls from their boarding school on the night of April 14. Since then, the leader of the group, Abubakar Shekau, has threatened to sell the girls, claiming they should not be in school but should be getting married.
East Bay Congresswoman Barbara Lee says international outrage over the threat to sell the girls has shined a spotlight on “much needed attention to stamp out modern day slavery and human trafficking in all forms”.
“Not only is this a Nigerian problem, it is a world crisis,” Lee said.
Nearly a month since the abduction, Nigerians are continuously marching in the streets to demand that their rescue the schoolgirls. To support their safe return, a massive global social media campaign has been launched showing pictures of Nigerian mothers crying, yearning for her daughter to return safely.
Global support for the girls is being mobilized . A small team of U.S. military personnel is expected to arrive in Abuja, Nigeria, in the coming days to help in the search.
“In the short term our goal is obviously is to help the international community, and the Nigerian government, as a team to do everything we can to recover these young ladies,” Obama said in an interview.
The French government said Wednesday it would send security service agents to help track down the Boko Haram terror group and its hostages. China has offered to send satellite intelligence to help Nigeria’s army locate the girls, and the U.K. plans to send in a team of experts.
Obama said the immediate priority is finding the girls, but that the Boko Haram group must also be dealt with.
In the East Bay, Oakland City Councilmember Desley Brooks, District 6, this week proposed a resolution this week calling on the city to stand in solidarity with the Nigerian mothers.
“Women and girls must be allowed to go to school without fear of violence and unjust treatment so that they can take their rightful place as equal citizens of and contributors to the world,” Brooks wrote in the resolution.
A local Bring Back Our Girls rally will be held in Oakland on Sunday, May 11 at the Grand Lake Café, 440 Grand Ave. from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. (at 4 p.m. they will have an out-door drum circle).
Jesse Browns contributed to this article.