Why I Can’t Get Behind #BringBackOurGirls

My Thing Is: I want the kidnapped Nigerian students home and safe as much as anyone does. But I worry that a hashtag is a distraction from more meaningful, lasting engagement. 

D.A. Lovell Courtesy of D.A. Lovell

We should arm ourselves with information and avenues for making an impact beyond just awareness. I’d personally rather see lasting social change in Nigeria than temporary, hashtag-inspired media attention. We know that never lasts long. Plus, the other amazing thing about the Internet is that we don’t need the media to be our middleman.

I’m concerned that this cause—the value of the lives of girls—is now being even further diluted, with the Twitter discussion veering off into a debate about who deserves the credit for the first #bringbackourgirls tweet. No one deserves credit until the girls are safely home. And credit should be the furthest thing from anyone’s mind.

I do applaud Twitter users for gaining the media’s attention, and I am thankful that so many care about this issue. But I’m careful not to let myself become complacent. For me, that means skipping the hashtag and focusing on understanding and learning about why this happened, what is required to fix it and how we can make lasting change to make sure it doesn’t happen again. If others do choose to use #BringBackOurGirls, I hope they at least understand that there’s more that can and should be done, even without leaving their computers.

D.A. Lovell is an international philanthropic adviser living in the United Kingdom and a social commentator on race, culture and the lines where they blur. Follow her on Twitter.

We want to hear your story. Send pitches for My Thing Is, a forum for personal narratives by The Root’s readers and contributors, to MyThingIs@theroot.com.