Nigeria Kidnapped Girls

Muslim girls attend a demonstration calling on the government to rescue the 276 missing kidnapped school girls of a government secondary school Chibok, in Lagos, Nigeria. (AP Photo/ Sunday Alamba)

“When I came to America, I that American people say ‘Give me liberty or give me death.’ When I heard that, I remember the time I decided to jump out of the truck that I’d rather die than live,” said Saa, one of roughly 50 Nigerian schoolgirls able to escape Boko Haram militants who had taken siege of her school and forced over 267 of her classmates into bondage.

Saa stood courageously alongside her fellow classmate, Patience, U.S. Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (Fla-24), and a small group ofpoliticians and supporters dressed in red and holding placards of protest to acknowledge the one-year anniversary of the kidnappings, and encourage the world to continue the fight to bring the remaining girls home to their families.

Though outpourings of concerns and demands for justice have yet to yield the desired results, Wilson said she hopes to reinvigorate the call to justice that made the #BringBackOurGirls campaign a global effort.

“My colleagues and I have convened this press conference along with advocates committed to this movement to send a clear message: We have not forgotten the girls and the world must not forget about them,” Wilson said. “I will continue to call attention to the atrocities committed by Boko Haram, call for the return of the kidnapped girls, and hold Nigeria’s leaders accountable.”

Opposed to Western education that includes instruction for girls, the militant group reportedly took siege of the Chibok Government Girls Secondary school, and forced the girls into waiting trucks. “This crime has rightly caused outrage both in Nigeria and across the world. Today is a time to reflect on the pain and suffering of the victims, their friends and families. Our thoughts and prayers, and that of the whole Nigerian nation, are with you,” Nigeria’s President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari said in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said that the year since the Chibok kidnapping has been long and heartbreaking and it is important for the world to know that – even a year later – the girls have not been forgotten.

“These girls were abducted from their school because they were seeking an education. No girl or young woman should have to choose between their education and the threat of violence or modern day slavery. We must recommit ourselves to ensuring access to an education for all and ending human trafficking in all its forms,” Lee said. “Not only is this a Nigerian problem, it is a world crisis.”

Boko Haram’s reign of terror has impacted nearly 1.5 million people, displacing them from their homes and separating thousands of school children from their families. Still, those like U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, (D-N.Y.) insists the fight against Boko Haram continue as a human rights imperative.

“ have spent the last year in horrific conditions, married off to their captors. We must seek to bring these terrorists to justice so that other women cannot be hurt by their savage acts. We cannot accept a world where horrific acts are carried out against young girls just because they want an education,” Maloney said.