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South Florida joins world in demanding return of Nigerian Girls

Erick Johnson | 5/15/2014, 9 a.m.
Community organizations in South Florida are joining an international chorus of activists who are demanding political intervention for the return ...
Demonstrators protested downtown at the Government Center for the return of 276 Nigerian teenage girls who were abducted in April Photo by Miami Times File Photo

Community organizations in South Florida are joining an international chorus of activists who are demanding political intervention for the return of over 270 teenage Nigerian girls whose abduction last month has sparked protests across the country and the world.

Lions for Justice, a group of students and faculty from Florida Memorial University, joined Impact Miami and Soul Movement Crew for a “Bring Back Our Girls” rally near the Stephen P. Clark Government Center in downtown last Monday. The rally was the latest demonstration held in several major American cities, where protestors voiced their outrage and demands for U.S. intervention as the missing girls’ whereabouts remain unknown one month after they were kidnapped overnight by militants who stormed a high school in the Nigerian town of Chibok.

The region is home to the insurgent group Boko Haram, who are believed to be responsible for the kidnapping. According to reports, armed Boko Haram men herded the girls out of bed and forced them into trucks. The trucks then entered thick forests bordering Cameroon. Boko Haram has publicly admitted to assaulting and selling the Chibok girls as “brides” to the rebels for as low as $12.

A CALL FOR INTERVENTION

The incident immediately sparked protests from thousands of Nigerians, who took to the streets to demand the government do more to rescue the abducted girls. The worldwide outcry has ignited a global social media campaign, “Bring Back Our Girls”, a slogan for numerous demonstrations in Europe and in major U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago and Philadelphia.

The protests were not as large in Miami where only about 20 demonstrators wore red and white as they shouted slogans to draw support from onlookers on NW 1st Street.

“It’s a global disgrace on how the Nigerian government and the world has reacted,” said Gregory Wright during the demonstration. “I would like for President Obama to make us proud by bringing these girls home.”

Despite the low turnout, protestors were not discouraged.

“Don’t underestimate the power of protest,” said Pastor Jack. “We have to pray, persevere and put pressure on our elected officials. We also have to divest our interests in corporations that exploit people in Nigeria.”

In Liberty City, residents reacted to the kidnapping with shock and disgust.

“I think it’s horrible,” said Charles Jackson, president of The Making of a Champion, an organization for inner-city youths. “The U.S. should send troops to find those girls and bring them back home.”

Natalie Morton of Miami Shores is not sure on how much the U.S. should get involved in the crisis.

“I think it’s complicated because so many things are involved. But I think the U.S. should help,” she said.

PROTESTS IN GLOBAL CITIES

In Chicago, the Rev. Jesse Jackson led hundreds of protestors who packed the Daley Center in The Loop last Saturday to express their frustrations and support of the schoolgirls.

Shouting "Bring back our girls!" and holding up signs featuring the names of some of the captured girls – among them Aisha, Talata, Saraya, Rebecca – protestors called for more action to find the girls and to prevent another similar terrorist act.