By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – President Obama announced earlier this week that the US would help the Nigerian government locate the more than 200 girls kidnapped from a school in mid-April. Philadelphia area efforts to support the young women continue into a second week.
Rallies, protests, as well as vigils, and a Philadelphia-based Facebook campaign, titled “200RosesNG” began in the area last week. Like efforts in Washington, DC, New York and others cities the events were designed to pressure President Obama, the U.N. and other authorities to step in and save the girls being who are reportedly being sold into slavery. Then the Twitter hashtag #BringBackOurGirls went viral.
“We could just not just talk about that, we could not just pray about it we have to do something,” says Angela Brown runs the non-profit A Woman’s Business. The group altered its mother’s day “Power to Be Tea” event in Pine Hill, New Jersey on Sunday, May 11th to show support.
“We’re asking everyone to wear a hat or a headband to show support and solidarity with the girls,” says Brown, “to know that mothers cannot be with their daughters on mother’s day because they are being held in captivity is heartbreaking.”
“The first step towards change is raising awareness,” says Jen Horowitz of Women’s Way of Pennsylvania, which advocates for the end of human trafficking in Pennsylvania and abroad. She says local, national and global efforts to get the word out and effect change to help the Nigerian victims appears to be working..
“It’s a lesson that even if you are in your own home and you hear about something you care about, if you think there’s nothing you can do—you can,” says Horowitz.
She says change begins with awareness, connection with others and action. Community groups in our area followed the formula. Now local elected officials are also getting involved.
“The more public attention that occurs, the greater opportunity it is to find these girls,” says State Senator Vincent Hughes, who introduced a resolution in the Pennsylvania Senate on Wednesday. The document expressed the Senate’s unwavering support for the victims, their families and the Nigerian government as they attempt to locate the missing teens. The document also denounced human trafficking.
“We wanted to add an official word to what was happening,” says Hughes, “and it was unanimous — all 50 senators signed on.”
For more on the Bring Back Our Girls movement go to twitter.com and search #BringBackOurGirls.