#BringBackOurGirls Vigil (PHOTOS & VIDEO)

UPDATED Dozens of community members turned out for a candlelight vigil at Walt Whitman High School on May 13 to show support for the school girls who were abducted by terrorists in Nigeria.

Principal Alan Goodwin said the goal of the Nigerian 300 vigil was to highlight the community’s support for the missing girls and to raise consciousness to influence more people to get involved.

According to Dr. Goodwin, the idea for the vigil came from Talia Brenner, a Whitman junior, who learned about the terrorist group involved in this incident in her social studies class and who wanted to do something to support the abducted girls.


Students Skylar Mitchell and Talia Brenner helped organize the #bringbackourgirls vigil at Walt Whitman High School on May 13.

Another Whitman student, Skylar Mitchell, said finding the girls must be a priority. Mitchell recently was also involved in a local march to close the achievement gap.

Participants at the vigil included a school board member, state delegate and a former resident of Nigeria who was so moved by the students’ efforts that he said this night was one of the most important days of his history living here in the United States.

There’s more to come from the students’ efforts. An open letter to the families of the abducted Nigerian girls from the Whitman community will soon be circulated. You can read that letter below:

“May 13, 2014

“An open letter to the families of the abducted Nigerian girls:

“Tonight, May 13, 2014, almost four weeks after the abduction of your girls from their school, we students of Walt Whitman High School in Maryland, United States of America, gather together in solidarity to let you know that, although we are more than 5,500 miles and an ocean away, we stand with you. We stand here to add our voices to the voices around the world asking that the Nigerian government act to find your girls and to accept outside assistance if it cannot act.

“If any of us were abducted, we would hope that authorities would do all in their power to find us, and to bring the perpetrators of such a heinous crime to justice. Your girls deserve the same.

“There are cynics who would say our vigil tonight accomplishes little. What is in our power is to broadcast this story through social media, to write our elected officials, and to stand here in spirit with you tonight to let our government, the Nigerian government, the United Nations, and all who will listen to us know that we sincerely care.

“In a way, words are not needed tonight. We all agree on the magnitude of the horror of this crime. We cannot imagine the terror your girls are feeling. We cannot imagine the anguish of your families for your girls’ safety. We share the outrage against these criminals by people around the planet.

“Tonight, our community members each took a number, lit a candle, and stood here to represent your girls. We reach out, and to you we say, your children are not forgotten.


The community of Walt Whitman High School
The State of Maryland
United States of America”

photo of Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda

Sonya Burke

About Sonya Burke

Sonya Burke is the Multimedia Manager at Montgomery Community Media (MCM). You can email story ideas at or reach her on Twitter @SonyaNBurke.


One Response to “#BringBackOurGirls Vigil (PHOTOS & VIDEO)”

  1. On May 19, 2014 at 8:11 pm responded with... #

    We thank the peoples of the world for their support to the Nigerian nation and in particular, the girls and their families. South Africa, like many other nations has joined campaign. Boko Haram has declared war on humanity and they must be stopped through military intervention. God Bless Nigeria. One Love!

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