In defense of hashtags and #BringBackOurGirls

Rather, the movement to #BringBackOurGirls, which actually originated in Nigeria, has thus far demonstrated the virtues of solidarity and grassroots international cooperation, within and beyond the African diaspora. It has shed much meaningful light on how to make visibility and voice to the invisible and voiceless.

It has reminded us all of the value of naming and shaming – naming the girls to remind the world that they are human beings, and shaming terrorists, Nigeria’s incompetent government, and the structural and institutional racism and misogyny that allowed an atrocity of this magnitude to go unnoticed two weeks and unresolved for over three.

As a black woman in the United States, this movement has become as meaningfully encouraging as it is frustrating because for the first time ever, I am witnessing men and women come together to notice when a group of black girls goes missing, and demand decisive action.

Equally significant has been the pan-African unity on the issue. That people of West Indian and Caribbean, North American, Afro-European, and African descent have rallied in support of the Chibok girls, their families, and indeed, all of Nigeria, is no small feat.