#BringBackOurGirls spreads awareness, calls for change

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#BringBackOurGirls spreads awareness, calls for change

Cortlyn Dees

Cortlyn Dees

Cortlyn Dees

#BringBackOurGirls allows students to voice concern for kidnapped Nigerian girls

Cortlyn Dees

By Kori Adair, Canyon HS, Canyon, Texas

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An inky night surrounds a boarding school in northern Nigeria. Engines rumble as trucks edge toward the school. The sound of gunshots shatters the stillness of the night, followed by shrill screams of young women pulled from their beds and their education into a nightmare.

Members of Boko Haram abducted 276 female Nigerian students aged 12 to 17 years old April 14. Boko Haram is an extremist group that denounces secular education and the prevalence of Western influence within the country. After the abduction, the leader of Boko Haram threatened in a video to sell the kidnapped girls in the market, and released a video May 12 discussing the potential trade of the students for Nigerian prisoners.

The right to pursue an education is a right that all individuals possess, regardless of gender or location. The abducted young women’s only alleged crime is this: they are women seeking knowledge.

The search for understanding and knowledge plays a crucial role in the pursuit of happiness. Although the kidnappings occurred in a remote corner of northern Africa, the voices of the young girls deserve to be heard over the distance. Two hundred and seventy-six school girls should not suffer simply because they seek an education. Rather than cruelty, these women deserve happiness and the chance to follow their passions.

Two hundred and seventy-six school girls should not suffer simply because they seek an education. Rather than cruelty, these women deserve happiness and the chance to follow their passions.”

Boko Haram’s crime extends far past the abduction of the 276 girls. The young women were paving the way for other women around the world to pursue an education by attending school. Now, not only are those 276 girls unable to attend school, but countless other women may abandon their aspirations to receive an education out of fear.

At the beginning of May, “#BringBackOurGirls” exploded across social media platforms from Twitter to Instagram, spreading awareness of the kidnappings and imploring government officials to take action to retrieve the girls. Media coverage of the kidnappings on various platforms skyrocketed, educating those unplugged from social media. Through the numerous tweets and posts crying out against the kidnappings, many people who would have otherwise been ignorant to inequality in other areas of the world were informed and moved to speak out against oppression as well. Awareness of the kidnappings alone can ignite change both on an individual and a global scale.

Many people may believe that the Twitter campaign “#BringBackOurGirls” will do little to help rescue the girls from Boko Haram. However, expressing opposition to oppression allows world leaders to prioritize the safety of individuals who may otherwise be unnoticed or ignored. Social media acts as a megaphone to project the voices of those who dare to speak out. Although the Twitter campaign will not directly swoop in and save the young women, education and awareness are the first steps to protecting the rights of the silenced.

Although the Twitter campaign will not directly swoop in and save the young women, education and awareness are the first steps to protecting the rights of the silenced.”

Students in America, and in other Western countries of the world, must take the time to appreciate their privilege to attend school regardless of gender or social standing. Overall, students in Western schools are valued based on their commitment to education, not on characteristics they cannot control, such as gender.

The Twitter campaign urges government leaders to find ways to bring the Nigerian girls back. I urge them to bring those girls, and all other women who seek refuge, forward to a place where they can realize their worth, better themselves and no longer live in fear because of their gender.