By Guest blogger City Councilmember Laurie A. Cumbo
As an African-American woman, and as a result of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, I do not know the origin of my African ancestry. I, like so many others of the Diaspora, identify with all of the people of the continent of Africa, and I feel a great personal loss with the news of the recent massacre of an estimated 2,000 Nigerians at the hands of the Boko Haram terrorist regime in the Northern African region. Those massacred, quite literally, could be my family. #iamnigeria
Boko Haram has been responsible for at least 5,778 deaths since April 2014, according to research compiled by the Council on Foreign Relations and are responsible for the kidnapping of over 250 schoolgirls, sparking the #bringbackourgirls movement. Almost a year later, and we still do not know the fate of those brave young women– young women who understood the dangers of seeking an education and who defied all warnings because they refused to see ignorance as an option.
Nigeria needs the support of the African community, the people of the Diaspora, and the larger international community as a whole. We must bring an end to one of the most destructive and inhumane terrorist regimes of our time. Nigeria is in a state of emergency and crisis; the global community can no longer wait to take action.
We each have our own personal responsibility to raise awareness of the genocide in Nigeria. How many more Nigerians will have to be slaughtered before the international community recognizes the brutality that so many innocent people are facing? How much longer will we fail to provide the most basic resources and support that all of humanity deserves?
As we approach Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, we have to be ever more mindful of his words, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. We cannot continue to think that a massacre that happens in Nigeria is exclusive to Nigeria within the context of our hyper-connected world. We have to be ever more mindful of our interconnectedness; these terrorist acts in Nigeria are a global issue and one that affects each and every one of us.
My prayers go out to the people of Nigeria and to the families that have suffered at the hands of Boko Haram. We must all continue to pray and to lift our collective voices in a united call for the end of one of the greatest genocides of this century.