By Westside Gazette’s Generation Next
“I just want to thank you all for orchestrating the Prayer Vigil for the over 200 girls that were kidnapped from school in Nigeria. As I watched the media coverage, with a broken heart for the girls and their families, I thought of my own little girls. I called them away from their daily tasks of completing their homework and practicing the piano to watch the coverage with me.
“I explained to them that these young girls were only doing what they can do freely here in our country….just go to school and get an education. I reminded them of why I tell them not to ever complain about not wanting to go to school be-cause, in some other places, children don’t have the right to an education that is free from fear and chaos. I then explained about the ignorance and evil minds of the people that kid-napped them and how they’d rather sell the girls as slaves than to see them excel in life.
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL—The Bring Back Our Girls prayer vigil held at Mount Hermon A.M.E. Church, was an attempt to allow the Faith Community to give voice to the concerns over the 300 girls abducted in Nigeria.
“This was also a chance for us to come together as a unified faith community to lift our voices in prayer to involve all of our community and make them aware of terrorism towards women from a global perspective,” affirmed Reverend Henry E. Green, Jr. Pastor of Mt. Hermon.
Over 200 people gathered to offer and join in unified prayers on behalf of the over 300 kidnapped school girls and their families from a school in Chibok, Nigeria.
As a prelude to the evening’s prayers Mt. Hermon AME Church’s Historian, Earl Beneby gave a brief history of the country of Nigeria.
“Nigeria is the fourth largest oil producing country in the world. Though they may not dress like Wall Street they are some of the richest and some of the smartest people in the world,” Beneby said.
The militant group Boko Haram has been outspoken and brazened about their lowlife actions. More than 300 girls were abducted from the rural northeast region of Nigeria on April 15 while attending secondary school; 276 girls are still believed to be held captive.
As Congressman Alcee Hastings (D-FL) addressed the crowd he spoke of the cowardice of Boko Haram. “These are people who do not deserve the recognition that they are receiving and one of the things that they do by kidnapping these girls is to get the recognition they want and the reason that they want the recognition is to demonstrate a weakness in Nigeria so that they can take over,” stated Congressman Hastings.
Congressman Hastings also shared a few words from First Lady Michelle Obama that were quite touching and emotional giving honor to the Mother’s of the world with prayers and support for the kidnapped girls of Nigeria. “I want you to know that Barack has directed our government to do everything possible to support the Nigerian government’s efforts to find these girls and bring them home. In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters. We see their hopes, their dreams and we can only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right now. We are committed to giving them the opportunities they deserve to fulfill every last bit of their God- given potential. So today, let us all pray for their safe returns… let us hold their families in our hearts during this very difficult time… and let us show just a fraction of their courage in fighting to give every girl on this planet the education that is her birthright.” “Thank you,” stated Michelle Obama.
The evening’s program was woven with an umbilical cord of prayer and supplication wrapped in words of encouragement by Judge Ilona Holmes and Congressman Hastings.
“Crime is crime, sin is sin, it could happen anywhere regardless of the country,” said Rev. Harrigan who brought the attention of the situation in Haiti before the people.
Reverends Simon Osunlana, St. John United Methodist and Lucedel Harrigan of Greater Haitian Baptist both of Fort Lauderdale gave prayers in their native language; Reverend Osunlan was born in Nigeria and he prayed in Yoruba. Reverend Harrigan was born in Haiti and offered his prayer in Creole.
“I think the most important way to build relationships is education. Many of our people still do not know much about the continent of Africa let alone the connection we all have as Black people around the world. Many people do not know that Nigeria is the 4th largest supplier of oil to the United States.
Many do not know that most of the salves that were brought to The United States came from West Africa. Many people still do not know that Africa is more developed than the caricature they usually portray on the TV. The same attitude some Africans have towards Blacks from other places. Educating the community about how Black people are one people is essential. I actually feel great that you asked me to pray in Yoruba, my native language. I feel happy that people had the chance of hearing me in another language and I feel so happy to hear the Haitian brother praying in Creole as well. We need to do more of that,” Rev. Osunlana said.
“I was overcome with sorrow as heard the brothers pray in their native tongues. Thank you my brothers I felt every prayerful moan, and sound you sent up to God for our children. My Spirit was on one accord with yours. I may not have heard your prayer in your native language but I felt it in my native soul. God bless you my brothers,” lamented Publisher Bobby R. Henry, Sr.
Where do we go from here? As we looked over the audience there were many vacant seats that should have been filled with concerned parents and worried citizens.
Judge Ilona Holmes stated, “As a community we are having too many prayer vigils after the fact. We are reacting rather than preempting. Prayer is preemptive! We are taught that we should always pray and not faint. Luke 18:1 While indivi-dual prayer is good, corporate prayer is better. Joshua 23:10 states that one man shall chase 1000 for the Lord your God fights for you as he promised you. If we all got together for prayer our communities would be better. Lastly, prayer is the least expensive remedy for sin.”
Our communities are suffering all over this country and the need to have forums like these is pressing.
“It was a great event and like others I hope that we can use it to jump start more community activism. I’m thinking we move to politics in some fashion”, said Pastor Rasheed Z. Baaith of Christ Resurrection Community Church, Fort Lauderdale.
Publisher, Bobby R. Henry, Sr., wanted to bring attention to the different forms of abduction that have taken place here in America and to more than our precious children.
“Before we begin to point fingers, let us remember that we have our own kidnappers’ right here in this country. Kid-nappers like the Tea Party, Voter suppression, Black on Black crime, HIV/AIDS; we got a whole lot of work to do right here!”
“Seeing the reality of how school is not just a common right, they expressed a little fear and wondered what we could do to help them. My youngest daughter, Jacy (seven-years-old), said, “Mommy, I know what we can do! Let’s get on a plane, fly to Nigeria and help look for the girls!” An innocent solution from an innocent mind. I explained to her that un-fortunately we could not fly to Nigeria because we wouldn’t know where to look and dangers involved would be too great. I told her what we could do was to PRAY. And that’s what we did.
“So when I heard of the Prayer Vigil, I knew that I needed to attend with my girls. All of the prayers were powerful and purposeful, but Judge Holmes summed it up best…”Our prayers can take us where our feet cannot!”
“So while I could not plan the ultimate field trip adventure to Nigeria, that statement was confirmation that the prayers of my little girls could reach Nigeria and the heavens above!”