New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Reverend Al Sharpton, and at least 200 local residents, and elected officials, all representing a cross section of activists, and concerned citizens took part in a rally in front of the Nigerian Consulate on Saturday afternoon. It was the second such gathering in front of the Consulate this week with public attention squarely focused on the fate the still missing 200 plus female students kidnapped by the Boko Haram in mid-April.
The New York Mayor weighing in on the issue is significant for a locally elected official in the U.S.
Most U.S. mayors and governors avoid speaking out on a global issue not directly touching their jurisdiction, even one as controversial as the kidnapping of the 200 plus female students in Nigeria.
That mayor de Blasio spoke out, and marched alongside fellow citizens will likely change the tenor of the debate in America’s most international of cities. De Blasio who addressed the crowd of roughly 200, said that the kidnappings in Borno State “should be denounced around the world.” His wife and daughter at the march that assembled in front of the consulate joined the mayor.
The Reverend Al Sharpton, and some members of his National Action Network team in Harlem, took part in the march and rally, bringing further media attention to the issue. Some Harlemites, like Lesha Sekou, marched the five-mile trek from uptown to the mid-town Nigerian consulate. Sekou, an anti-gun violence organizer, led a group of about 50 Harlem residents to the rally. She said that she was there because the 200 plus Nigerian school girls were abducted at gunpoint.
What is clear from the New York rally is that the kidnapping of the female students by the Boko Haram Islamic sect in Nigeria’s northeastern region more than three weeks ago, continues to generate world wide condemnation not likely to subside.