*At a time when I feel completely helpless, social media just may be the answer we are looking for.
Someone sent me a private Facebook message last week asking me to shed a light on a disturbing story that prior to it arriving in my inbox, I knew nothing about and hadn’t received much attention in the media.
Although the request wasn’t abnormal, the headline was, and I wasn’t prepared for the content that followed. The April 14th kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian girls between the ages of 16 – 18, has gnawed away at me. I admit that over the years, I’ve grown numb to the constant stories of international oppression. It isn’t that I don’t care–far from the truth–I just feel completely impotent as to how my New Jersey actions can make a dent in a global problem. Sure, I have donated money, I may even pound a fist or two from time to time, but my actions have been whittled down to mostly typing SMH in someone’s comment section, and calling it a day. I know…Shameful and wrong.
The inboxed message ended with the request to ‘follow the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls‘, so I obeyed. At that time there were a few cyber rumblings, but little to go on that led me to believe anyone was really raising a stink about the situation on a worldwide level. I also felt as if we were simply hiding behind our keyboards instead of placing traditional pressure on leaders that are supposed to act as our microphones on the political stage.
#BringBackOurGirls (also #BringBackOurDaughters) has taken on a life of its own, drawing the attention of not only the media, but igniting a fire under the butts of many governmental outlets and its officials to join in the rescue efforts of these young ladies. Their abduction was, until recently, all but ignored by the Nigerian government who shuffled their feet in attempting to hunt down Boko Haram, the terrorist Nigerian Islamic group who is making threats to sell the captured girls into human sex trafficking rings.
It is impressive and refreshing that with all of the negativity social media usually brings, its powers can occasionally be used for good. Having #BringBackOurGirls top the trending charts for the past several days has caused a major shift in progress. Although certain events leave us feeling powerless, uniting behind this hashtag may just be the greatest contribution you can make to #BringBackOurGirls.
**In addition to sounding off about this topic below, if you have other ways we can contribute to this cause, please share.
Tanya Tatum is the outstpoken host of “The Tatum Talks,” a live Blog Talk Radio show focusing on African-American interests. Feel free to join her for this week’s episode: WE TV’s Mark & Gloria: Life After Marriage Bootcamp, this Wednesday, May 7th from 9-10p EST at www.blogtalkradio.com/thetatumtalks. You can also join her for a daily discussion at www.facebook.com/thetatumtalks and follow her @TheTatumTalks on Twitter.