Monday, May 12, 2014

#BringBackOurGirls Should Inspire Us to Act for the Future

This weekend, I had the honor to be a guest blogger on World Moms Blog to express my perspective on a constructive way Americans can react to the horrible recent story of the 276 abducted Nigerian girls at the center of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. World Moms Blog, founded by Jennifer Burden, is a collaborative international website with contributing writers from over 20 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights, and social good. I invite you to see my entire post, "What Can Americans Do for Abducted Nigerian Schoolgirls?", on World Moms Blog and stay to read other posts on many great topics.

The part of my post that readers seem to react to the most is the passage where I described how Malala Yousafzai's quotes inspired me to move from Twitter actions (derisively dubbed "Operation Poutyface" by those mocking the efficacy of celebrity pictures with hashtags) to calling for others channel their angst into taking actions with Congress to ensure all girls have access to education.

"She [Malala Yousafzai] has said, “The extremists are afraid of books and pens, the power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women.” Then, let those men be afraid of me. I am even more dangerous than a schoolgirl with a pen. I’m an educated mother with a laptop. And I’m not just coming after them. I’m coming after their whole oppressive way of life."

I was trying to give voice to how a lot of us feel: angry and helpless. We feel like we want to swoop in like vengeful angels, but we can't. Right or wrong, it's a fairly "American" attitude to just want to send a SEAL team in to the rescue...even to fantasize that we ARE that team. I offer readers a chance to be part of the team that can rescue millions of girls in the future from fates of inequality, injustice, and even abduction and slavery. By getting all girls and boys in school all across the world, we can create a generation of educated mothers raising enlightened sons. In such a world, schools for girls would no longer be such obvious targets for acts of terrorism.

Here is the call to action:
"So, what concrete actions can we – as Americans – take right now to hasten this reality? We can start by demanding that our U.S. Representatives pass the Education for All Act (H.R. 2780), which specifically calls out victims of human trafficking as some of the most vulnerable children to help. We can also call on them to sign U.S. Representative Jan Schakowksy’s letter to the Obama administration to fund $250 million over 2 years to the Global Partnership for Education, which aims to raise $3.5 billion from donor governments at a pledging conference this June. With $3.5 billion invested by donors, the Global Partnership can secure an additional $16 billion from developing country governments. By 2018, that investment can support quality education for 29 million children, largely in fragile and conflict-affected states."
By clicking on the links above, you can view clear fact sheets that explain the actions and describe how you can easily participate. Once again, I invite you to see the original post in it's entirety on World Moms Blog. I hope that after you read it, you'll want to spread the word so that others can join us in these actions while we wait and pray for the return of "Our Girls."

And speaking of "Our Girls," I'll share this very insightful comment from Paula Kiger, a fellow Shot@Life champion whose facebook comment articulated feelings I also share about the #BringBackOurGirls Twitter campaign:

"Although I like the hashtag #bringbackourgirls (and use it daily), I have to honestly ask if we would consider these girls "our" girls when it was the basic matter of helping them get access to education (and health care, and parity, among other things) were it not for this crisis? We can all do better, not just when there is an immediate crisis but when there is a long term smoldering one as well. And for every girl, everywhere." - Paula Kiger, @biggreenpen