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U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson speaks alongside Patience, Bulus, one of the former schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram, at a Congressional Forum.

Federal

Frederica Wilson continues effort to ‘Bring Back Our Girls’

It’s been five years since Boko Haram kidnapped hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls.

It’s been five years jihadists with Boko Hiram abducted 276 from a Chibok school in Nigeria. But U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson still wants to “Bring Back Our Girls.”

The Hollywood Democrat in 2014 introduced a bipartisan resolution condemning the Boko Haram terrorist group.

Perhaps more significantly, Wilson launched the Twitter campaign #BringBackOurGirls. It went viral when then-First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted the message with a somber photo of herself holding a sign promoting the campaign.

But close to half the “girls” never did go home. Wilson on Sunday marked the anniversary of the abduction with a fresh call to action.

“Today marks five years since the Chibok girls went missing,” Wilson said in an online video. “They were kidnapped from their boarding school by Boko Haram. That is a day we will never ever forget.

“It was so horrific, and that’s why we continue to wear red every Wednesday and still advocate for the release of more than 100 girls who are still in captivity.”

Throughout Sunday, Wilson’s Twitter account included fresh calls to save an estimated 112 Chibok girls still held by Boko Haram.

She also shared images of a Congressional forum held earlier this week acknowledging the five-year anniversary.

The event celebrated a Dickinson College bridge program for refugees.

At the event, Patience Bulus, a freed kidnap victim, spoke about the importance of continued awareness of Boko Haram. Bulus now attends Dickinson.

“I hope and pray that people fleeing violence in their countries are given similar opportunities,” she said.

“There have been so many people who have spoken on behalf of the Chibok girls, I hope the world does not forget about those that are still in captivity and many other women out there whose names and faces we do not know.”

While the campaign doesn’t hold the visibility it enjoyed in 2014, Wilson said she still sees progress.

“We are being successful in this campaign,” said Wilson. “I’ve been to Nigeria three times, and I know the ‘Bring Back our Girls’ movement is moving forward and won’t stop until every one of these girls has been found.”

But Wilson said her continued efforts should be seen as more than support for those girls abducted in Chibok in 2014.

“We’re talking about the thousands of women and girls across Nigeria, across Niger and Cameroon, who have been victimized by Boko Haram. Who have been turned into sex slaves. Who have been beheaded. Who have been used as human bombs.”

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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