She claims not to have any of the big answers, but for Lori Guevara, answers aren’t necessary to understand the feelings of fear and outrage.
Guevara, who coordinated the #BringBackOurGirls rally in Tulsa on Wednesday in response to the Islamist militant group Boko Haram’s kidnapping of more than 200 school girls in Nigeria, said she is simply trying to educate others and get the voice of the movement heard.
“You just picture your own child being at school trying to learn and being kidnapped,” Guevara said.
“And I think, as parents, we all have somebody in our lives who we can just envision sitting at school — just learning — and being kidnapped by terrorists, and how frightening and horrible that would be.”
Through social media, Guevara was able to attract a handful of Tulsans to the Chapman Centennial Green to raise awareness of the plight of the kidnapped schoolchildren.
“I really didn’t know how to get the word out locally, because I haven’t done a lot of activism here in Tulsa. But with social media, I had everything done in 10 minutes,” she said. “I’m just trying to get these girls back home safe and sound and do anything we can to prevent something like this from happening in the future.”
Sheryl Siddiqui, spokeswoman for the Islamic Council of Oklahoma, said she hopes events such as the on Wednesday continue to put pressure on governments across the world to bring the situation to an end.
“My feeling is, if these guys read their Quran and lived by it, they would feel such sympathy for the families that they wouldn’t have taken the girls to begin with and they would find some other way to solve their problem,” Siddiqui said. “When people are feeling empowered, they don’t do these things unless they’re sheer, maniacal criminals. These men are criminals.”
Siddiqui said she has been watching the situation evolve and hoping there was something people could attach to at the national level to encourage the release of the schoolgirls.
“I think to have something in Tulsa right now is really appropriate,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what their religion is; it doesn’t matter what our religion is. It’s person to person; we support you and are praying with you for your daughters’ safe return.”
Mari Masterson, an Episcopalian at the rally, said she wanted to show her support for women throughout the world.
“I’m here today to stand for girls all over the world, because I feel like we have a world problem of women being thought of as second-class citizens,” Masterson said. “I have two daughters and a granddaughter, and I want to make a difference today.
“I hope they do the right thing and show some real courage by letting these girls go.”