Hundreds of people in New York City gathered around the United Nations to raise awareness of the 1 year since Boko Haram terrorists abducted the Chibok girls on April 14th. The activists and demonstrators gathered at an interfaith vigil service in the early evening, before marching silently to the Nigeria consulate and UN mission two blocks away.
One of the organizers, PathFinders Justice Executive Director R. Evon Idahosa, told SaharaReporters that the event was “decidedly interfaith because it creates a representation that the violence against the Chibok girls can happen to anyone.”
“Making this event interfaith shows the many faces of violence against women,” R. Evon Idahosa said.
Giving the Chibok girls justice was a central theme in the speeches by religious and activist speakers. A high school student who spoke at the vigil told SaharaReporters that she feels that “people should enlighten themselves about the Chibok girls” and that the most important first step is to “become educated and expose yourself to new experiences.”
Mojubaolu Okome, an organizer of the protest and professor at Brooklyn College in New York, told the crowd that a grave injustice was directed against the Chibok girls not just from Boko Haram, but from the Nigerian government.
“The Nigerian government has not interviewed the girls who escaped—to learn about their needs, or even to gather intelligence about where the remaining girls may be,” Professor Okome said.
“The will need psychological and social support, their families will need the same, and the communities must be rehabilitated—that is what a top-notch country does,” she added.
Demonstrators silently walked marched from the vigil to Nigeria’s consulate carrying #Bringbackourgirls signs and red tape covering their mouths to symbolize the silencing of women through violence. Once outside protesters began counting from 1 to 219, for the number of Chibok girls still in captivity.
Reporters on the ground say they observed Nigerian diplomats leaving their offices, and quickly avoiding the protesters.