Tomorrow afternoon (Sat) between 12-3 pm there will be a march in rally down by Lake Merritt in Oakland to be in solidarity and raise awareness of the 234 missing Black girls from Nigeria. This is important. One can only imagine the anguish the families are feeling.
As folks bring attention to their plight, please make the important connection to the scores of young Black girls who are standing on our corners right here in Oakland on International Blvd, San Pablo Ave and other places around the Bay Area. They are numerous. They are among us. They are young Black girls, not grown women who many like to say ‘made a choice’ to work the streets at night.
As is the case with the women in Nigeria who are said to be involved in an incident of ‘Forced Marriage‘ by extremist Muslims, the young girls on our street corners are said to be victims of ‘Gorilla Pimping‘. Many of us are reluctant to call any of this Human Trafficking, thus reducing what is part of a global epidemic to something that is a one of kind, isolated incident that is undeserving of deeper scrutiny. By reducing it we let a whole lot of people in charge from the president on down to local officials off the hook for how such atrocities are allowed to happen routinely
We like to reduce 13-year-old Black girls being snatched up and made to work street corners as a by-product of pimp culture which many of us celebrate in songs and movies. We want it to be disconnected from global structures in place that allow this to happen.
This type of thinking leads to people asking simplistic questions like ‘where are these girls parents and why aren’t they out here disciplining them? vs asking ‘Were these girls kidnapped?’.
This type of thinking leads to newly arrived hipsters seeing the girls on our streets as nuisances that need to be ‘cleaned out by the police’ vs asking how deeply rooted is this problem and how many institutions in the city and county are purposely asleep on the job or powerless to stop this widespread dilemma.
This type of thinking leads us seeing 234 girls being snatched up in Nigeria as a by-product of ‘backward unsophisticated Africans’, ‘Fundamentalist Muslim’ thinking vs something that has been going on for a number of years and with the blind eyes and even blessings of a many in government who we are now petitioning to rescue them…
The 13-year-old Black girls on the corners of Oakland are not seen in connection to the scores of Asian girls snatched up and made to work in brothels both domestically and abroad or the scores of Eastern European girls who are over here forced to work, or the scores of rich men from all over the globe who fuel all this by traveling to far off countries, on sex trips where they pay hefty fees to encounter these girls who are being snatched up…
None of us want to make the connection to the hundreds of girls/ women who have been snatched up and killed in Juarez, with no one in charge having any idea as to how and why…
While we can point out differences with each scenario, the overall bottom line and point being made is that the girls all around us are being preyed upon. They are being preyed upon in Oakland. They are being preyed upon in Nigeria. They are being preyed upon around the world. And while governments are petitioned to step up and do something and appeals are made to those identified as perpetrators, we also have to honestly ask ourselves in what ways intentional or not are we contributing to such a global hostile climate directed toward the young girls among us?
There are no easy answers. The are no overnight solutions.. But at the very least we should start connecting the dots and deepening our collective understanding..
In short don’t go rallying about these missing girls in Nigeria while obliviously drinking coffee in gentrified coffee shops in Oakland housed on the same corners where young girls 12, 13, 14 yrs old are being forced to work in what many are deeming one of the biggest hubs in the world for human trafficking.
For more information on tomorrow’s march go to https://www.facebook.com/events/552092998243775/
For information about Human Trafficking in Oakland check out