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'Bring Back Our Girls' rally set for Wednesday

A "Bring Back Our Girls" rally to demand the release of hundreds of kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls will be held from 5 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, May 14, at Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland.

“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 Southwest Washington.

The event will be one of many similar protest around the world against the kidnapping by the Boko Haram terrorist organization in mid-April. Around 300 female student were kidnapped in mid-April and about 276 are believed to still be held captive.

The rally is intended to demonstrate support for the girls’ families, provide information about the girls’ plight, and express solidarity with the growing number of international leaders and organizations working to find the kidnap victims.

According to event organizers, it will feature:

• Speakers from the Nigerian community of Oregon and Southwest 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.

• Music.

“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.”

The rally is volunteer-driven and promoted through Facebook and Twitter.

The event page on Facebook is www.facebook.com/events/317372181750093/permalink/317621891725122/

On Twitter, follow @BBOurGirlsPDX