Mothers, daughters, and members of the community are invited to a rally in Kalamazoo this Sunday to protest the recent kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria by Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.
Local artist and event organizer Alessandra Pye says the goal is to demonstrate solidarity and support for the families of the kidnapped girls.
"There are rallies like this going on all over the country, and it's significant locally and globally. We want to deepen our conversation about empowerment and justice for women in Kalamazoo," says Pye.
"A great way to do that is to support the YWCA in town and also utilize the power of protest to demonstrate globally and stretch that energy all the way to Nigeria, and hopefully put some pressure on the people in command and in charge of taking care of these problems."
Similar rallies and protests around the world have drawn attention to the crime, which took place last month. The U.S. has dispatched military advisors to Nigeria to help plan a strategy to rescue the girls, whose ages range from 12 to 15.
It's not lost on the rally's organizers that Sunday is Mother's Day in the United States.
"What more significant day can we do this on?" says Pye. "I think it's a great way for us to say, 'We feel for you.' Here we are and we are able to celebrate with our families and with our children...but I get to have my daughter, and I think that we have to acknowledge publicly that we're not okay with the fact that 200-plus mothers and fathers and family members will not be able to do the same. Even if they don't celebrate Mother's Day in the sense that we do."
There will be speakers and poets present, and attendees are welcome to bring their own signs. The rally will take place at 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 11 in Bronson Park.