The search for the 234 teenage girls who were kidnapped from their school in the Nigerian city of Bornu while taking their exams on April 14 is still dragging on. At this time, it is assumed that they were taken by the Boko Haram—a local Islamic extremist group whose name means “Western education is forbidden”—sold into marriage, and some moved to the nearby countries of Cameroon and Chad.
In the face of such an extreme act of violence, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless. But tireless feminist crusader Eve Ensler’s group 1 Billion Rising For Justice wants everyone to know that there are three ways to help:
1. SIGN THE PETITION
2. #BRINGBACKOURGIRLS: USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT THE SITUATION IN NIGERIA
It is time to put massive pressure on the government, security forces, and the neighboring governments (of Chad and Cameroon) to spur them to action—specifically to #BringBackOurGirls. It is deplorable that this situation has been happening for quite some time now and hasn’t received the attention it needs to stop the killings, abductions, and constant insecurity plaguing women and girls in the North and the rest of Nigeria.
3. HOLD A SOLIDARITY DAY OF ACTION ON MAY 5TH
The Nigerian government is currently focused on preparing for the World Economic Forum (WEF) taking place in Abuja/Lagos from May 6 – 10, holding various meetings and activities. While the event was welcomed before the kidnappings happened, there is now growing anger that the WEF has taken priority over the lives and welfare of over 200 Nigerian citizens. A huge rally is being planned in Lagos on Monday, May 5th to call for justice for the missing girls, and to use it as an opportunity to show that “Women and Girls Matter.”
WE ARE CALLING ON OUR ONE BILLION RISING NETWORKS ALL OVER THE WORLD TO STAND OUTSIDE THE NIGERIAN EMBASSIES IN YOUR COUNTRIES ON MAY 5TH TO DEMAND JUSTICE AND TO SHOW SOLIDARITY WITH OUR SISTERS IN NIGERIA.
These are just a few ways to help, but feminist groups all over the world are coming up with even more. If you know about local actions happening in your area and want to spread the word, leave info in the comments section. Together, we can all make sure the plight of these young women isn't forgotten.
Emily Rems is a feminist writer, editor, rock star, playwright, and occasional plus-size model living in New York’s East Village. Best known as managing editor of BUST magazine, Emily is also a music and film commentator for New York’s NPR affiliate WNYC, and is the drummer for the horror-punk band the Grasshoppers. Her nonfiction writing has appeared in the anthologies Cassette from my Ex and Zinester’s Guide to NYC, and her short stories have been published in Rum Punch Press, Lumen, Prose ‘N Cons Mystery Magazine, Writing Raw, and PoemMemoirStory. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for fiction in 2015 and is working on a novel. Follow her on Twitter @emilyrems.