Announce Empire State Building will be lit in purple and red to commemorate kidnapping’s 1-year mark
NEW YORK— The Empire State Building will be lit in red and purple tomorrow night as part of the effort bring attention to the 219 missing Nigerian girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists a year ago on April 14, 2014, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) announced today.
Maloney was joined by Dr. Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome and R. Evon Idahosa, Esq. of #BringBackOurGirls, an advocacy organization formed in response to the kidnapping, Minister of Counter Terrorism of the Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the United Nations Lawal Mohammed Hamidu, Assemblymember Rebecca Seawright (76AD), Survivor of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda Consolee Nishimwe, Co-Chair of the World We Want 2015 Policy and Strategy Group Ravi Karkara, Youth Representative & Advisor to UN Women Global Civil Society Advisory Group & African Leadership Academy Vivian Adhiambo Onano, Chair of the NGO Committee on Human Rights Bruce Knotts, Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Tau Investment Management Benjamin Skinner, President of St. Joseph HS’s Girls vs. Trafficking Club Ayana Gay, a group of High School students, Co-Chair of the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development Margo LaZaro and other members of the committee for the announcement. Dressed in red and purple, the official colors of #BringBackOurGirls and Stop Violence Against Women respectively, the leaders pressed for a renewed international effort to find and return the girls to their families. Maloney also called for an investigation in response to recent reports that some of the girls may have been among those murdered in Borno State before Boko Haram soldiers were driven out by Nigerian forces.
On April 14th #BringBackOurGirls is hosting the Global School Girl March in honor of the Chibok Girls. The march will begin at 6pm with an Interfaith Vigil at the United Nations Church Center (Chapel) located at 777 United Nations Plaza. From there participants will march to the Nigerian Embassy.
Also in attendance at the event were: Carmen Dixon, Policy and Faith Organizer, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies; Rev. Adrian Dannhauser, the Chair of the Task Force Against Human Trafficking for the Episcopal Diocese of New York; Rev. Que English, Chair of the NYC Faith-based Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence; Mrs. Salwa Kader, Founder & President, United States Federation for Middle East Peace & Member-at-Large of the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development ; Isaac Reshad, Vice President of Next Generation Energy Leaders Council & Managing Director of Sybaris Consulting Group, Adviser to the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development; Modou Cham, Secretary of the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development, UN/NGO Representative of World Information Transfer; Dr. Joan Lurie Goldberg, UN/NGO Representative of the International Council of Jewish Women & Member-at-Large of the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development; Laurence Singer, Esq., Member-at-Large of the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development, UN/NGO Representative of Global Family for Love & Peace; Luz Maria Utrera, Founder & President of Fundacion Luz Maria; Gordon M. Tapper, Founder of Give Them a Hand Foundation; Lindsay Ashby, International Council of Women, Youth Representative
Papa Dembele, Global Family, Youth Representative; Isabella Picon, International Council of Women, Youth Representative.
“Tomorrow night, when you look up at the Empire State Building lit in red and purple, I hope that you will remember the innocent girls who were stolen from their school by Boko Haram,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney. “They have spent the last year in horrific conditions, married off to their captors. Recent news reports have suggested that some of the girls may have been massacred, but we cannot give up hope. We must continue working to locate the Chibok girls and return them home to their families. We must also seek to bring these terrorists to justice so that other women cannot be hurt by their savage acts.”
“One year after almost 300 Chibok girls were abducted from their school, #BringBackOurGirlsNYC appreciates Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney's support as she stands in solidarity with us, their parents, siblings and communities to call for their rescue by the Nigerian government, other West African and African states, as well as the UN and broader international community,” said Dr. Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome. “Although saddened and astounded that our girls are yet to be Rescued, #BringBackOurGirlsNYC remains hopeful that the world's governments and multilateral institutions will redouble their efforts to rescue and reunite them with their families. We will continue to stand with their families and communities until these hopes are realized.”
"I cannot think of any milestone I wanted to see less than the one year anniversary of the mass Nigerian school girl kidnapping,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “It is a stain on our entire global community that more than 230 of these girls are still missing, and that the Boko Haram terrorists who committed this unforgivable deed have yet to be brought to justice. It is every decent human being's responsibility to do all they can such that we compel a reinvigorated international effort to reuniting these girls with their families. I appreciate Representative Maloney for her advocacy on this fundamental matter of human rights, and I applaud the Empire State Building and the advocacy community for shining a light on this ongoing tragedy. #BringBackOurGirls."
“We haven’t forgotten the more than 200 girls who are still missing a year after their abduction,” said Congresswoman Kathleen Rice. “We haven’t forgotten the parents who have lived this last year in agony, forced to wake up day after day wondering when they will see their daughters again. Today we’re making it clear that we haven’t forgotten, we will not forget, and we’ll continue to demand that the girls be released until the day they come home to their families.”
On April 14, 2014 around 11:45pm 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped from the Chibok Government Secondary School in Nigeria by Boko Haram terrorists. Several gunmen reportedly dressed in army camouflage stormed the school under the guise of protecting the students against an imminent insurgent attack. The gunmen claimed to be there to bring the girls to safe locations and ushered them into several vehicles. After the school was emptied the buildings were razed to the ground. On May 5th Abukakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, released a video claiming responsibility for the abduction.
Although 57 girls were able to escape into the brush at night after the vehicle transporting them broke down, 219 of the girls are still missing and are believed to have been forcibly married off to Boko Haram soldiers or enslaved. There are reports that some of the girls are in Chad, Cameroon, or Niger Republic.
On April 6, 2015, This Day Live, a Nigerian newspaper reported that some of the Chibok Girls may have been slaughtered last month in Borno State (located in North-Eastern Nigeria) by Boko Haram terrorists as they fled from Bama and other towns in advance of the Nigerian Military recovering the territories. As of right now it is unclear whether the murdered girls are the Chibok girls or other women forcibly married to Boko Haram fighters.