State House Rally for the kidnapped Nigerian girls transcends our differences

bring back rallyThe terrible situation of the 276 kidnapped Nigerian girls feels hopeless and so far away, but there is much we can do, even here in Rhode Island, to help. To that end Mary Gwann of the Rhode Island Young Professionals, in coordination with the Nigerian Community of Rhode Island and Take 5 with Reza Rites will be holding a rally on the mall side of the State House today at 5pm “to keep up the pressure on the United States’ efforts in rescuing and reuniting the girls with their families!”

In the meantime, Mary Gwann has other ideas on how to help. You can go to the Whitehouse.gov website and sign the petition demanding the White House work with the UN and the Nigerian government to bring home the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. Let other people know on social media that you signed the petition and that they should too. (I’m signer #21,961.)

Then you could write to your Senator or Congressperson to let them know that you want action taken on this issue. Jack Reed, Sheldon Whitehouse, David Cicilline and Jim Langevin are standing by, eager to take your calls and/or read your emails.

MichelleObamaBringBackOurGirlsWhile you’re on the Internet, playing around with social media (and using the #bringbackourgirls hashtag), take a picture of yourself with a sign that says any one or more of the following: “#bringbackourgirls”, “Devuelvan Nuestras Niñas”, “Real men don’t buy girls” or “#bringbackourgirls” in another language. Some people are putting their petition signature number on the sign while they’re at it.

Mary Gwann

Mary Gwann

Finally, you should go to the rally. This event transcends religion, race and politics, so anyone and everyone should come if possible. As Mary Gwann said to me this morning, “Today’s rally will demonstrate to the world that it doesn’t matter the color of your skin, how much money you have, or if you are Christian, Muslim, or Atheist. Everyone in attendance has one goal – to have the girls rescued and reunited with their families. For me, that would be the best Mothers day gift any of us could ask for.”

 

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Steve Ahlquist is an award-winning journalist, writer, artist and founding member of the Humanists of Rhode Island, a non-profit group dedicated to reason, compassion, optimism, courage and action. The views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of any organization of which he is a member.

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"We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” - Elie Weisel

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu

"There comes a time when neutrality and laying low become dishonorable. If you’re not in revolt, you’re in cahoots. When this period and your name are mentioned, decades hence, your grandkids will look away in shame." - David Brooks

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