Nigerian missing girls crisis spurs Hamilton Mother's Day rally

City Hall will be the site of the Mother's Day #BringBackOurGirls rally Sunday, after a group of local activists sharing their concerns on social media came together to find way to draw attention to the 276 missing women.
An unidentified mother cries out during a demonstration with others who have daughters among the kidnapped school girls of government secondary school Chibok, Tuesday April 29, 2014, in Abuja, Nigeria. Two weeks after Islamic extremists stormed a remote boarding school in northeast Nigeria, more than 200 girls and young women remain missing despite a “hot pursuit” by security forces and desperate parents heading into a dangerous forest in search of their daughters. Some dozens have managed to escape their captors, jumping from the back of an open truck or escaping into the bush from a forest hideout, although the exact number of escapees is unclear. (AP Photo/ Gbemiga Olamikan) (Gbemiga Olamikan/AP)

A day to celebrate mothers across the globe is the day set for a local rally demanding that governments do more about the crisis in Nigeria, where 276 girls are being held captive by Islamic extremists.

City Hall will be the site of the Mother's Day #BringBackOurGirls rally Sunday, where local mothers and families are asking Hamiltonians to show their support and spare 30 minutes for the rally call. The rally has its origins in online social media, as four local women activists shared their anger and anguish over the crisis on twitter over the past several days.

"It's an urgent matter for the international community to get involved and do what they can to pressure the government to do more," said organizer Evelyn Myrie.

"I know the Mother's Day is inconvenient but you know what? We can make the sacrifice in solidarity with these women…. We need to send a strong message that we're standing with them and they're not alone."

The event is set to start at 12:30 p.m. and end at 1:00 p.m.

Missing Girls will be sold, says Boko Haram

On Monday, the militant Islamic group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the abduction of more than 300 Nigerian school girls. Fifty-two have escaped, but their leaders say they plan on "selling" the remaining girls. 

"By Allah, I will sell them in the marketplace," Abubakar Shekau said in a video. Speaking in Hausa, a language of northern Nigeria, Shekau also said the students "will remain slaves with us."

The Associated Press reports its unclear if the video was made before or after reports surfaced some of the girls have been moved into neighbouring Chad or Cameroon and that some had been forced to marry their abductors for the price of $12.

Before Boko Haram, which means "Western education is sinful" claimed responsibility, Myrie saw images of mothers dropping to the ground, crying, coming from Nigeria. 

"It broke my heart": Myrie

"I saw this woman wailing and rolling on the ground. It broke my heart, " said Myrie. "And that's when I tweeted, 'is there anybody out there listening or seeing this?' That's when I started getting involved."

Using the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag, Denise Doyle, Renee Wetselaar, Adeolu Sanyaolu and Laura Babcock joined in on the conversation last week. It spurred them to do something locally to speak on behalf of the girls and families who have been scared to speak out against their captors. 

"We're being their voices. We'll represent them wherever we are. If their voice is being silent because of possible reprisal, then we will speak for them," Myrie said. 

The half-hour rally will start at noon Mother's Day, Sunday, May 11, at Hamilton City Hall. 

With files from the Canadian Press


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