For 26 years, children in central Africa have been subjected to senseless violence, murder, rape and slavery—and the injustice has gone on almost entirely unnoticed. On Tuesday, CJ students’ eyes, ears and hearts were opened to the atrocities in a lesson on social justice.
The lesson was presented partly in the flesh by Richard, a 29-year-old survivor of the terror and violence that has wreaked havoc on his village in northern Uganda for almost as long as he has been alive.
“People lived in fear of being killed, being abducted and losing their family members,” Richard told students. He recounted the night he and his brother, both young boys, were chased through the dark forests of Africa by soldiers carrying guns.
Today, Richard travels across the United States with volunteers from the San Deigo-based nonprofit group known as the Invisible Children, whose mission it is to shed light on the injustices that continue to affect young people and families in his home country.
The injustices against innocent Africans are carried out by a militia known as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which operates under the leadership of Joseph Kony, said Richard. The idea is to bring the battle with Kony to America by making him a household name amongst the citizens, policy-makers, and “culture-makers” stateside.
"The reps from Invisible Children did a great job sharing their knowledge with the CJ students and their message is like Theresa Flores' message," said senior Emily Casey. "We must be a voice for the voiceless."
The Invisible Children creates awareness and sounds the global call to action by taking advantage of the role of new media, its diminshed barriers of communication, and the speed at which technology has enabled us to share information in today’s social climate. Their presentation to CJ religion students during periods 3, 4, 6 and 7 began in the chapel with a screening of the short film Kony 2012.
“This movie is a 26-minute experiment, but in order for it to work you have to pay attention,” says the film’s narrator Jason Russell, co-founder of the non-profit group. Russell, a filmmaker and human rights advocate, asks that everyone pay attention and partake in the viral movement to “make Kony famous” in 2012.
In recent years, Russell and his group’s movement has gained ground in political and news media circles. Their efforts culminated in the October 2011 deployment of about 100 U.S. troops by President Barrack Obama. The troops serve as advisers to African militaries fighting against the LRA.