Social Media Will Not Bring Back Our Girls

June 24, 2014

Dear Fellow Members of Society,

It is with great displeasure that I am writing to you today upon the injustices that men and women still face in this “global community”. We have all heard about the horrific kidnapping of the 276 girls by Boko Haram in Nigeria. These girls were kidnapped on April 14th and are still missing exactly two months and ten days later. Dare I ask why it has taken so long for these girls to be rescued?

The whole #BringOurGirlsBack movement is a great campaign whose intentions have been misconstrued. It is only due to the prowess of social media that people began to shed light onto the situation. However, this situation has been less of a focus onto the girls than it has been on the politics of awareness. A tweet is little more than a status symbol and definitely not equal to action. People are telling others that they are aware of the situation and how horrible it is, but are failing to react to the real consequences for the girls, their families, and the political bodies they are caught between. When children are first kidnapped, within the first several hours of being held in captivity, they are exposed to the horrors that no one should ever have to face at such an innocent age. For a female, these tragedies include forced rape and even worse, their bodies are exposed to a plethora of objects that will be used against them. These horrific situations can onset pregnancies, early menstrual cycles, ruptured uteri, psychological problems, and even lead to sexual dysfunction in the future. We continue to accept tragedies like these because they happen in Africa, the wild land of post-colonial turmoil. If it was 219 white European or American girls who were to have gone missing, all of the governments of the world would have acted swiftly and moved mountains to have brought them back.

Given everyone’s perception of Blacks due to colonization, it seems as though the major governments pass an apathetic glance over the crisis in Nigeria due to the fact that these are 219 black girls that have gone missing. It appears as though because these girls are black, it is only natural for them to have been sold into slavery. After all, it is what Post-Colonial Africa is known for. We all know the stereotypes- poor, dirty, lacking any form of government, constantly in a civil war, and most importantly, the innumerable accounts of human rights laws being violated. Due to colonial European influences, Africa is chaotic because it was never allotted the necessary resources to self-govern.

What fascinates me the most is that the American government and the other “superpowers” meddles in everyone’s affairs but their own. When it comes to the lives of civilians caught in the crossfire, their troubles are forever ignored. My favorite part of this whole situation is that only after the #BringOurGirlsBack Movement began, a photo of our first lady, Michelle Obama, posing with the slogan sign appeared everywhere. Shortly after, we learned that President Barack Obama was being briefed on the situation.

It took our government three weeks to react to the situation. In three weeks, a child could have been raped to death, brutally beaten, or tortured.  We send drones to kill “terrorist” organizations and surrounding civilians, but we can’t send drones to kill child rapists. It is tragic to consider the fact that these girls may never be returned to their parents because they are either dead, in which case they are lucky, or are already sex slaves in one of the neighboring countries.

If democracy is meant to be synonymous with ignorance, then I must bid democracy adieu. One only hears of “liberty and justice for all” when the interests of big American corporations are at stake. The fate of our future generations is in our hands, and if we continuously allow those of different races to be subjected to such unjustifiable horrors, then where do we stand? I understand that it is not America’s job or any of the other “superpowers’” jobs to police the world. However, when we are responsible for the disadvantaged state that a country or its people are in, wherever they are in the world, it is everyone’s duty to aid in the process of reversing the effects of colonization and prolonged racism by underscoring the ideals of a global community and togetherness. It may not be an immediate solution to the problem, however it’s a start. Racial and social problems still affect us and we will never be able to surmount them if we knowingly turn a blind eye to them.


Christiana Signature

Bella Abzug Leadership Institute partners with New York Commercial Real Estate Women (NYCREW)


BALI would like to thank the New York Commercial Real Estate Women (NYCREW) foundation network for their very generous support and partnership. NYCREW is an organization that focuses on bringing women of power and influence into positions of leadership in the field of commercial real estate. Through their charitable foundation, “The CREW Network Foundation,” they have committed to support BALI this summer and in future.


NYCREW Network (New York Commercial Real Estate Women Network, Inc) is the first New York area chapter of CREW, founded to advance the success of women in commercial real estate through opportunity, influence and power.  NYCREW encourages doing business together in collaboration rather than competition, providing its members with the skills and opportunities to achieve success in commercial real estate.

About CREW Network and CREW Network Foundation

The mission of CREW Network ( is to influence the success of the commercial real estate industry by advancing the achievements of women. CREW Network does this by looking outward to bring more women into the industry, showcasing member successes and serving as a key resource to its members and the industry. CREW Network members represent all disciplines of commercial real estate – every type of expert required to “do the deal.” Members comprise of nearly 9,000 commercial real estate professionals in over 70 chapters across North America.

CREW Network Foundation, incorporated in 1998 as the 501(c)(3), philanthropic arm of CREW Network, continues to stand as the sole foundation dedicating its resources to support the mission of CREW Network while building opportunities for women and girls in commercial real estate.

BALI President and Founder, Liz Abzug wishes to extend a heartfelt thanks to our BALI Board members Theresa Garelli (NYCREW  Board Member) and Beth Lafonte (Director of  Partnerships for the Crew Network Foubdation) for making this terrific new partnership with the  NYCREW Network Foundation happen!

We very much look forward to the 2014 BALI summer trainees having the opportunity to meet, learn from and be mentored by NYCREW members.

(Left to Right)

Beth Zafonte (Director of Partnerships for the Crew Network Foundation and BALI Board Member), Theresa Garelli, Esq. (NYCREW Board Member and BALI Board Member), Liz Abzug (President and Founder of BALI), and a NYCREW member after their generous donation for the Summer 2014 Training Program.

Liz Abzug (President and Founder of BALI).


Left to Right

Isabelle Pullis (Fidelity National Title), Liz Abzug (President and Founder of BALI), and Erica Forman (BALI Board of Directors Chair)


The esteemed Douglas Elliman (SVP of Commercial Real Estate), Liz Abzug (President and Founder of BALI) and Faith Hope Consolo (NYCREW Board of Directors member).













IMPORTANT UPDATE: Final application deadline is MONDAY, JUNE 30th at 1pm.

We are looking for female high school and college student leaders from the 5 boroughs of New York City and the tri-state areas to participate in the upcoming Summer 2014 Program!

Our FREE 12-DAY LEADERSHIP AND DEBATE TRAINING from July 21st-August 2nd program includes workshops in debate techniques, public speaking, critical thinking, policy research, speech writing, articles, and developing the skills to analyze contemporary public policy issues. Highly accomplished female professionals, who work in the top echelons of the corporate, business, government, and not-for-profit sectors as well as women business owners, elected officials and diplomats, come as guest lecturers and also conduct workshops.

BALI has developed a close partnership with the New York City Urban Debate League (NYCUDL), the newly reconstituted citywide organization that represents competitive debate teams from public high schools throughout New York City. Together with the coaches of the New York City Urban Debate League, our students  take a four-hour lab on policy and public forum debate which results in actual debate competitions at the end of each week of the 12-Day Leadership and Debate Training.








Final deadline: Monday, June 30th, 2014, 1pm

If you apply by this date and your application is selected, please save Wednesday, July 2nd and Thursday, July 3rd for an interview and the final decision will be emailed to you by Tuesday, July 7th.

We will not accept applications after 1pm on Monday, June 30th. No exceptions!

*Candidates will be selected for the interviews based on the responses to the second part of the application.  Please send your application via email to or by mailing us at Hunter College, 695 Park Ave. Room HE1233. New York, NY 10065.

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