A woman who escaped from the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram told her story Friday to a group of journalists gathered in Minneapolis.
Joy, 19, described how she saved herself and three other girls from their kidnappers last year. Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 girls from their school in Chibok, Nigeria. Many of them haven't been found yet.
The girls, Joy said, were taking final exams when the gunman stormed the school.
"They said, 'If you want to die, you go this way,' " she said at the National Association of Black Journalists annual convention at the Minneapolis Convention Center. "If you want to live, you enter the truck."
Joy escaped only by telling the men that she needed to use the bathroom and then running off with her friends.
She now lives in the U.S., but for safety reasons would not reveal her last name or where she lives.
International human rights lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe brought Joy and 10 other girls to the U.S. to talk about the atrocities in their home country. He said Joy is a hero.
"She inspires me," he said. "She led three other people to escape. She is a genuine heroine of our time."
Ogebe, along with panelists John Yearwood from the Miami Herald, Vladimir Duthiers of CBS News and U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., discussed how the use of Twitter on the issue galvanized international attention.
CNN anchor Michaela Pereira moderated the discussion.
Duthiers spoke about his time in Nigeria covering the kidnapping and how the social-media movement shed light on the incident.
"If you sent your kid to school and they didn't come home one day, what would you do?" he asked. "If your president never addressed it or lied about what the rationale was for why these girls went missing, what would you do?"
Wilson wore all red and a red cowboy hat to symbolize the color she chose to support the effort to bring the girls home.
Wilson has also brought the movement to the U.S. Congress. She continues to travel to Nigeria on behalf of the girls.
The former school principal said the movement spoke to her because of how the militant group attacks places of education.
She said she plans on tweeting and speaking about the issue until the girls are released. "We will tweet and tweet," she said. "We will break all records."
Yearwood has covered the Nigerian community in Miami. He agreed with Wilson, and said journalists at the convention should continue to write about Nigeria.
Through the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, the panelists answered questions about Nigeria and the violence there.
Joy said she will not let Boko Haram stop her from getting her education.
She is continuing her schooling in the U.S., hoping to one day become a doctor.