Rallies across America to #BringBackOurGirls
On their 100th Day in Captivity, Americans Gather to Support 240 Predominantly Christian Schoolgirls Abducted by Boko Haram
Date Washington, D.C.
International Christian Concern
International Christian Concern (ICC) applauds rallies that will be taking place in Washington, D.C., New York and Los Angeles today, July 23, and Thursday, July 24, in support of the immediate and unconditional release and return of more than 240 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram, a radical Islamic insurgency, 100 days ago.
On the night of April 14, hundreds of Boko Haram militants, disguised as members of the Nigerian military, raided the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, a small village in Nigeria's increasingly lawless northeastern state of Borno. After sezing control of the compound, Boko Haram hand selected more than 300 girls, who were then loaded into the backs of military-grade trucks and driven to Boko Haram camps hidden in the Sambisa Forest, near the western shore of Lake Chad. While more than 50 of the original abductees have successfully escaped, many on the night of the mass-abduction, it is belived that more than 240 remain in captivity. Of the girls selected, 90% are professed Christians, according to a list compiled by the Christian Association of Nigeria and Nigerian Security forces.
Since the night of the mass-abduction, a series of propaganda videos released by Boko Haram have confirmed that some of those abducted have been sold as child brides to their militant captors for as little as $12 USD and/or forcefully converted to Islam. Abubakar Shekau, Boko Haram's current leader, has also communicated with the Nigerian federal government by way of these propaganda videos, pledging only to release and return those still captive in exchange for imprisoned Boko Haram militants. The federal government has repeatedly refused to initiate a prisoner exchange for the girls' release and return.
In Washington, D.C., human rights and religious freedom activists, international non-profit managers, concerned citizens, and Nigerian-Americans will meet in front of the Nigerian Embassy from 12:00-2:00 pm EDT. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D) (TX-18), while unable to attend, has stated her intention to read a statement in solidarity with those gathered. The keynote speaker for the event will be the first certified medical doctor from northern Nigeria.
In an email to ICC, Emmanuel Ogebe of the Jubilee Campaign-the primary organizer for Thursday's event-said, "We are priviledged to have as guest speaker from Nigeria, the first female medical doctor from northern Nigeria who will be speaking about her courageous path to education and the new challenges and trials facing young Christian girls in northern Nigeria who strive to follow in her footsteps. Join us to keep hope alive."
In Los Angeles' Holmby Park, A World at School, an international campaign with offices in London, New York, Los Angeles and Washington, DC that works to meet the Millennium Development Corporation's goal of enrolling every child on earth in school, will be hosting a rally to send messages of support to the parents of those abducted. According to the event's official page, attendees "will 'light' [their] phones with red candle images, send messages to the Chibok families and community, and take pictures with [their] messages to share them on social media."
In New York, NY, a candlelight vigil will be held in front of the Nigerian Consulate from 5:30-8:30 pm EDT to honor "the 200+ school girls that were kidnapped and are still in captivity." Attendees have been asked to "wear red and bring hand-made signs, if possible."
Details for the events have been listed below:
New York 100 Day Vigil
828 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10017
5:30-8:30 pm EDT
Wednesday, July 23
Los Angeles 100 Day Vigil
601 Club View Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90024
6:00 pm PDT
Wednesday, July 23
100 Days of Captivity Rally
3519 International Ct NW
Washington, DC 20008
12:00-2:00 pm EDT
Thursday, July 24
Cameron Thomas, ICC's Regional Manager for Africa, said, "The fact that more than 240 girls were not only abducted en-mass for their Christian faith, but have been deprived of their education, sold into domestic and sexual slavery and forced to wear the traditional dress and recite the scriptures of a religion to which they do not subscribe is abominable. While international support has been extended to Nigeria in its efforts to locate and return those abducted is appreciated and should be applauded, more clearly must be done. For 100 days, more than 240 schoolgirls between the ages of 15 and 18 have been subjected to the elements of the African rain forest, deprived of all privacy, isolated from their families, communities, and churches, and threatened with sexual slavery and violence. Boko Haram's possession of these girls and their futures must come to an end, now."
For interviews, contact Cameron Thomas, Regional Manager for Africa: RM-Africa@persecution.org
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