May 9, 2014 12:32 AM by Maddie Garrett
It's gaining worldwide attention and grabbing the hearts of people here in Southern Colorado, the kidnapping of nearly 300 Nigerian girls from a school by Islamist militants. There's a growing outcry to rescue the girls, and voices are now sounding out in Colorado Springs at a vigil held Thursday night at the All Souls Unitarian Church hosted by the state regional NAACP.
The hashtag, #BringBackOurGirls has been used millions of times to raise awareness and call for the girls' rescue.
"These are our daughters too," said State NAACP President Rosemary Lytle at the vigil.
Because what if it was your sister or your daughter?
"As a mother I couldn't believe, you know, I wouldn't know what to do," said vigil attendee Levon Coates.
The crisis might be a world away, but there's one common thread bringing everyone together. Humanity.
"It begs for us, as those who care for our own children, who hopefully care for the children in our communities, to care for these children as well," said Lytle.
The latest mass kidnapping of nearly 300 girls to be sold into sexual slavery is a fraction of the more than two thousand kidnapped over the past year in Nigeria. Islamist militants known as Boko Haram are responsible. The name means "western education is a sin."
One mother in Nigeria name Esther, who's 15-year-old daughter was kidnapped, said she would have rather been killed than to lose her daughter.
"They should go into my house, burn my house, break everything inside my house. That would be better for me than taking my daughter. Even if they take my life at that moment, I think I'm satisfied, more than when they take my daughter away," she said.
An ocean away, mothers like Coates struggle to comprehend their pain.
"As a mother and as a woman, I couldn't imagine what the mothers are going through, the parents are going through over there, it's awful," said Coates.
This situation is desperate, but it won't be hidden in shadow. Outcries like this one are bringing attention to, and hope for, the missing school girls.
"Show our support, see if we can bring those girls back home to their families," said Coates.
The NAACP is getting involved and expressing the need for more efforts from the US government to help find the kidnapped teens.
"As people all over the country conduct gatherings like this one I think it says to our government and says to the world that we are not isolated as Americans, that we care about young people and all people no matter where they are," said Lytle.
The US and other countries are now involved in the rescue efforts, but it may be too late. US intelligence has found the school girls have been split up, as has been feared. Some of them may already be over the border.