4 Things to Know About Nigeria + How Can We #BringBackOurGirls?

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Mayor Bill de Blasio and Reverend Al Sharpton in a moment of silent prayer

Last week a group called Boko Haram kidnapped over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls, and the world is, as they should be, outraged. Just today, CNN is reporting that the group has released a new video showing some of the captives. On Saturday, Nkechi Ogbodo of Kechie’s Project organized a rally in front of the Consulate of Nigeri in New York. Prominent politicians including Al Sharpton and Mayor Di Blasio attended, spoke, and prayed with the crowds. Women and men of all ages held signs and shouted, “Bring Back Our Girls!” in front of the Consulate. According to the Kechie’s Project website, the aim of the rally was to call out to all mothers, fathers, children, churches, mosque, synagogues, community organizations, students, NGOs, leaders and others to condemn this barbaric and criminal act against humanity.

Four things to know about the campaign and the ongoing crisis:

  1. How did it actually start? Nigerian lawyer Ibrahim M. Abdullahi  started the Twitter campaign after hearing Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, VP of the World Bank for Africa, repeat the words during a televised event.
  2. Boko Haram (Hausa for Western Education is sinful) is an Islamic fundamentalist terrorist group that operates in Northern Nigeria with the aim of implementing strict Sharia law across the region. The organization is known for violent attacks on schools and has become increasingly active with a death toll over 10,000 as of March 2014.
  3. The Nigerian government has consistently ignored the insecurity in the North and even lied about attempts to find the missing girls.
  4. Celebrities and prominent politicians have joined the campaign like Michelle Obama, Malala Yousafzai and David Cameron, who has pressured the Nigerian government to take action.

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Photos by Lela Edgar