First lady Michelle Obama expressed her “outrage” at the kidnapping of more than 200 girls by Boko Haram in Nigeria in her first solo weekly address released Saturday.
“In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters,” Obama said while also marking Mother’s Day weekend. “We see their hopes, their dreams – and we can only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right now.”
The kidnappings, which began earlier this month, have sparked worldwide outrage on social media. The first lady had tweeting a photo of herself holding a sign with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls.
She said President Barack Obama has “directed our government to do everything possible to support the Nigerian government’s efforts to find these girls and bring them home.”
“And what happened in Nigeria was not an isolated incident…it’s a story we see every day as girls around the world risk their lives to pursue their ambitions,” Obama said.
She recalled the story of Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani education activist who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban in October 2012. Yousafzai met with the first lady last year.
“I could feel her passion and determination as she told me that girls’ education is still her life’s mission,” she said.
Other notable public figures have called for the girls’ safe return including Secretary of State John Kerry, Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
And in her role as first mom, Obama doled out her own advice to American kids.
“I hope that any young people in America who take school for granted – any young people who are slacking off or thinking of dropping out – I hope they will learn the story of these girls and recommit themselves to their education,” the first lady added.