There has been a social media storm about the two-hundred or so girls of varying ethnic and religious backgrounds, mostly ages 16-18, who were kidnapped last week from boarding school in Nigeria. Some are supposedly being sold as child brides in Cameroon for $12. The Nigerian government hasn’t done a great job getting the story out right or getting the girls back, which also bothers people (and rightly so, not that we should be surprised).
Thankfully, this is making us pretty mad. Could you imagine being kidnapped from your high school and being sold off in marriage for sex? Or imagine that happening to your daughter? Hopefully, you have no life experience that can even help you comprehend the horrors of this.
But, although we might feel strongly about how wrong this is, it is pretty hard to know what to do about it. In fact, there seems to be a major lack of something to do about it. I’ve been scouring the internet and I haven’t even found a place to donate money! (Though I’ve seen rumors that families were collecting money to pay for search parties into the forest.) Maybe I am just missing the obvious, but it seems hard to know how to put our angered feelings into action.
In short, these are the five ways I have found that you can help:
1.) Tweet It Up
The reason you know about this in the first place isn’t because this is a spectacularly rare and evil event. Instead, we have all heard about it just because of everyone who is telling everyone else as it trends in Facebook and Twitter feeds around the globe. You can be part of that movement. Help others see that you think this is wrong. By this you create good peer-pressure, helping society come to a boiling point until we can’t ignore injustice any longer.
These are the common #hashtags to use when talking about this online:
2.) Picture This
Going along with the whole social media thing, pictures work wonders. You can submit a “solidarity photo” to Amnesty International and share it on your own Tumblr, Instagram, etc…
This is my awesome picture. Five minutes of doodling = advocacy. But no need to get fancy. Most people are just taking a picture of themselves holding a sign that says one of the above #hashtags.
3.) Classic Petition:
You can sign this petition to the White House administration asking them to be involved. They are asking for about 90K more signatures than the petition already has. Of course, if I understand the news correctly, the Obama admin. has already offered to help find the girls, so not sure this is even necessary. But, don’t take my word for it and sign away!
There is also this petition at Change.org to President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and this one, at TakePart.com to Nigerian officials and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, although I know they are trying to do something as well.
4.) Naughty Rally
Does this mark you as an activist? Oh ya. But go ahead and go. These are mostly in big cities, but they are happening everywhere. Just don’t ask me to find one for you, because this action goes beyond slacktivism. You can find one for yourself! 😉
5.) Most Importantly, Be An Every Day Fighter
Yes, 200+ girls were taken and it really is horrible.
These guys didn’t just steal and enslave some girls. This same group, Boko Haram, has killed 2,300 real people since 2010 (look at this report for more). And then, this is just one group in many others around the globe that are killing, torturing, raping, trafficking people. These girls aren’t the only ones sold for $12. Did you know that less than one percent of Human Trafficking victims are even identified, let alone rescued?
I don’t say this to minimize their plight. But, if you care about these girls, care about the others as well. Although you might want to keep your eyes tightly squeezed closed to reports of evil, force yourself to digest at least some facts so you can help change the world.
Ask yourself this:
- Do you ignore the many others?
- Do you follow God religiously, or do you live out justice, mercy and humility with His help?
- What is one thing you can do to care about justice every day? (Let us know what you are going to do in the comment section, below.)
You and I might not know how to fight specifically for these girls all that well, but when you remember them, remember the others. Use this as a catalyst to fight injustice every day.
No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.