A wide range of famous names — from entertainers like Amy Poehler and Wyclef Jean to world-renowned public figures Hillary Clinton and Malala Yousafzai — are calling for the return of more than 200 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls.
Boko Haram, an Islamic militant group behind mass killings, bombings and attacks in northern Nigeria, claimed responsibility for kidnapping the girls from the remote Chibok Government Girls Secondary School last month.
In a video released to media Monday, the anti-Western group's leader Abubakar Shekau vowed to sell the abducted girls "on the market." Meanwhile, eight more girls in northeastern Nigeria were kidnapped by suspected Boko Haram gunmen overnight.
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As news coverage of the shocking abduction and the overall situation spreads around the globe and as parents and supporters stage protests demanding the Nigerian government act, famous faces have also urged action — largely through social media.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Clinton and Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani education rights activist who survived being shot by the Taliban, are among those who have posted on Twitter about the plight of the school girls using hashtags such as #BringBackOurGirls and #BringThemBack.
Access to education is a basic right & an unconscionable reason to target innocent girls. We must stand up to terrorism. #BringBackOurGirls— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) May 4, 2014
Online call to action
On Tuesday, the education group Girl Rising and online network Smart Girls at the Party (co-founded by Parks and Rec star Poehler) co-hosted an online "call to action" out of New York that featured journalists and international experts shedding further light on the situation in Nigeria and discussing how people can help.
"One week ago, when there were rallies all over the world in Nigeria, but also London, D.C., New York — all over the place — it really started to paint a picture that people care," said Gretel Truong, Project Manager for Global Business Coalition for Education and a senior project manager for international education rights group A World at School.
There's a definite impact when everyone from "Questlove, Common, Taraji P. Henson, Hillary Clinton [to] Sarah Brown" are talking and tweeting about the situation, she added.
"If you think for a second that people aren't listening, people are."
On Tuesday, the general manager of the Toronto Raptors basketball team also weighed in.
"We all have to stand up," Nigerian-born Masai Ujiri said.
Nigerian human rights activist Hafsat Abiola, daughter of the late Nigerian politician Moshood Abiola, underlined why international support and aid are important.
"We are aware that we don't have the capacity to rescue these girls on our own. The goal is not to attack the insurgents, but to get the girls back safely," she said.
"For those of you that are calling on your leaders — from the U.S. and beyond — that is something you can do so we can get the assistance, so we can get our girls back home safely."