Portland, Ore.— Hundreds of Portland-area residents will rally with cities from around the world to urge the release of nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls who were kidnapped by anti-education extremists. The rally will demonstrate support for the girls’ families, provide information about the girls’ plight, and provide solidarity with the growing number of international leaders and organizations working to find these young victims of terrorism.
The rally will be held 5-8 p.m., Wednesday, May 14 in Pioneer Courthouse Square (rain or shine) in downtown Portland. The event will feature:
• Speakers from the Nigerian community of Oregon and SW Washington
• Speakers from Portland’s faith communities
• Experts from organizations that work to end human trafficking
• Local elected officials
• Education advocates
• Performances of creative writing and poetry
“We want the girls brought safely to their homes. We support girls’ education and promote peace,” says Vitalis Ogbeama, president of the Nigerian Community of Oregon and SW Washington.
“The kidnapping strikes at a primal fear shared by all people in communities around the world,” says Portland rally organizer Sue Gemmell. “Every child should feel safe in a place where they can learn, grow and thrive. Abduction by violence into a life of slavery is reprehensible. Portland will stand with cities worldwide and say NO to misogyny and slavery in all forms everywhere.”
Response to the rally, which is completely volunteer-driven and promoted through Facebook and Twitter, has been overwhelmingly positive. Portland joins other cities and communities that are planning similar rallies.
The event page on Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/events/317372181750093/permalink/317621891725122/