Imagine waking up your daughter to get ready for school. She gets dressed while you prepare her breakfast. The kitchen quickly fills with the sounds of laughter as the two of you discuss everything from her assignment that’s due next week to the young boy who’s beginning to give her butterflies.
You hug your sweet girl, kiss her cheek and say, “Mommy loves you.” And as she heads to the school bus she smiles, “I love you too.”
You savor this mother-daughter time because you appreciate every moment with your baby. But the day’s pending events will show you why, although you didn’t realize, that moment was so much more valuable than the rest.
Your heart flips upside down as you listen to the voice on the other end of the phone:
Your daughter has been kidnapped, you don’t know where she’s been taken, and you may never see her again.
Can you imagine, mothers? Can you imagine, in an instance, your baby girl being snatched from you? Can you imagine feeling helpless in protecting her? In comforting her? Being defenseless in the quest to bring her home?
And what if it wasn’t your daughter? Or your niece? Or your sister?
What if the kidnapped girl was…YOU?
On the night of April 14, an estimated 234 girls were kidnapped from their school dormitory in Chibok, Borno State, in Nigeria. Stories report that the radical terrorist group, Boko Haram, violently bombarded the Chibok School, and at gunpoint, kidnapped more than 200 Nigerian girls. News outlets say the militant group is selling the young girls into forced marriages for a USD equivalent of $12 each.
These girls are 12-17 years old.
Reports say the girls have been taken to neighboring countries, such as Chad and Cameroon. Stories also report that anywhere from 30-50 girls have escaped.
A story in The Guardian said that due to the lack of intervention from Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, the Nigerian parents had to setup their own search parties, scouring the forests where they believed the terrorist group had taken the girls. Many protests have taken place and several social media campaigns, under the #BringBackOurGirls and #BringBackOurDaughters, hashtags have helped ignite recent national coverage of the story.
One Nigerian woman has even setup a petition to “declare our solidarity with the kidnapped girls and call upon the world not to forget them, support all efforts to ensure their safe return, and ask President Goodluck Jonathan and the Nigerian Government to ensure all schools are safe places to learn, protected from attack.”
Due to its frequency, I think it’s very easy for us to shrug when we hear bad news and offer our “Oh that’s terrible” and “How sad” comments. And this is especially true when the news isn’t in close proximity.
But as a reader of BrownSista.com and as a Brown Sista in general, this tragedy is proximate. Those 200+ girls are “Brown Sistas” just like you and me, and it is our duty to fight on behalf of blood.
A post about Beyonce will get 700 shares and 500 comments. And if anyone says anything remotely negative about her, you’ll have the “Beyhive” swarming at you with all types of comments in her defense.
When the police failed to arrest George Zimmerman for shooting and killing Trayvon Martin… we fought.
When Paula Deen let the N-word slip out of her mouth… we fought.
When Pharrell Williams left out the darker-toned beauties on his GIRL album cover… we fought.
And recently, after hearing Donald Sterling’s ‘massa mentality’… we fought.
Now the issue lies outside of America, but it has a direct impact on every little brown girl inside of our nation.
Everyone is not free. In many parts of the world, women are still denied access to equal education or even receiving an education at all. Women are still stripped of their God-given rights, “handled” by men as mere object with disregard to their needs and wants. Women still are not respected, not equally valued and not afforded even one-third of the opportunities that us Americans have today.
We must fight for this too. We must show our little brown girls that women have the right to be treated as the human beings that we are. We must show them that this mass kidnapping is not okay and the Nigerian government’s lack of help is unacceptable.
We must fight and show them that women do matter. Like our outrage over racism and prejudice, protecting the livelihood of women is equally as important, no matter if they are here or 3,000 miles away.
Sistas, will you fight with us and for us, today?
Sign the petition and use the #BringBackOurDaughters and #BringBackOurGirls hashtags to promote awareness. Don’t feel like your efforts will be useless in bringing these girls home safely. Honestly, it’s not about if your tweet or your signature on a petition will directly result in their rescue, but similar to how many Americans (of all races, but especially Blacks) protested and boycotted in the fight against apartheid, your actions now are a symbol of solidarity.
Please imagine if this was your child or if you were taken against your will…and the impact someone taking a stand would make on you and/or your daughter’s behalf.
Service is her passion, writing is her platform, uplifting women and the Black Community is her purpose. Shala Marks is a writer, editor and soon-to-be published author. Through her work, Marks aspires to demonstrate “The Craft of Writing, and the Art of Efficacy.” She has a B.A. in journalism from Arizona State University. Connect with her at: http://shalamarks.com/ and stay up-to-date by following @shala_marks.