U2 frontman and human rights activist Bono took to the stage of Broadway’s Golden Theater on Saturday afternoon following the matinee of Eclipsed. He lead an emotion-packed dedication of the performance to the abducted and still-missing 219 schoolgirls of Chibok, Northern Nigeria, taken in April 2014 by the terrorist group Boko Haram, and to abducted girls all around the world.
Surrounded by the cast of Danai Gurira’s ferocious drama about women in civil-war torn Liberia and introduced by the show’s star, Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, Bono came onstage to applause and explained that the purpose of the movement was to identify the missing girls by name so that people would not thinking of them as an aggregate of numbers but instead as their sisters, daughters, mothers and loved ones. “The cast wants us to remember two specific girls in particular — Lydia Habila and Rejoice Musa,” Bono, co-founder of the ONE Campaign, said. “It goes without saying if they were American girls or Irish girls we’d get a daily report on how they are doing. Well, they’re not out of the news tonight and we want that daily report.” The initiative they have begun is #BringBackOurGirls.
Her voice breaking with feeling, Nyong’o said, “We’ve asked (Bono) to join us today to launch our effort to bring direct attention to the challenges faced by millions of girls all over the world living under the tyranny of war, in poverty and being denied their human rights simply because they are female … From here on out, each performance will be dedicated to specific girls from around the world who have been kidnapped and are still missing.”
Cast member Akosua Busia added, “Many of the abducted girls are living lives exactly like those you have just witnessed today on our stage. They are used as tools of war. Lydia Habila and Rejoice Musa. Know her name.”
Playwright Gurira is an ambassador for the ONE Campaign and its Poverty is Sexist campaign. ONE will be working with Eclipsed on the Dedication series to drive attention and action in support of the fight to #BringBackOurGirls, #KnowHerName, and other initiatives that will highlight the issues experienced by girls and women globally. ONE is a campaigning and advocacy organization of more than 7 million people around the world taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa.
Eclipsed also participates in 10,000 Girls (tenthousandgirls.com), an initiative to bring ten thousand girls of 16 to 24 who would likely never have the opportunity to attend a Broadway show, to see the play. The production also supports the Education Must Continue Initiative (EMCInitiative.org), which rehabilitates children victimized by terrorism in Nigeria by providing them safe haven, medical treatment, counseling and a return to their education. EMCI is currently sponsoring 10 escaped Chibok girls to school in the U.S.