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Invisible Children inspires community

By Jeffrey Alkins
Published: October 2009

I wasn’t expecting much out of my Monday. No one enjoys Monday mornings, especially if you have to wake up at 5:30 after having crammed in a seven-page paper the night before.

So the news that I was going to an assembly, where I would have the opportunity to sleep all block, somewhat made my day.

But I did not fall asleep. Instead, I spent third block listening to an eye-opening presentation of Invisible Children, an organization whose goal is to free child soldiers in Uganda. Prior to that day, I had heard the term “Invisible Children, but had never put much thought into its meaning or its history.

In the mid-1800s, Alice Lakwena formed the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) under the belief that God had told her to overthrow the Ugandan government.

After Lakwena’s exile, Joseph Kony, who claimed to be her cousin, took control of the LRA.

Under Kony’s supervision, the LRA began to use extreme measures to overthrow the government, causing the army to lose support.

In 1996, the remaining members of the LRA, still under Kony’s command, began to invade Ugandan villages, kidnapping children and forcing them to join the army.

These children, some even as young as 10 years old, are forced to mutilate, rape, and slaughter others, including their friends and family.

These children, who can’t be heard, who may never see their families again, who no longer have a face: these are the invisible children.

Run by seniors Sam Hyun, Brendan Shanny, and Julia Sklar, South’s chapter of Invisible Children organized the Monday assembly.

The assembly began with a documentary, summarizing the tragic events of this 23-year-long war.

The documentary was followed by a video explaining the actions the Invisible Children organization is currently taking and how students can support the cause.

Firstly, students can sign up for Invisible Children’s TRI Campaign. By signing up, they make monthly pledges of $12 or more that will go toward the rescue of child soldiers.

Secondly, they can make donations or buy from Invisible Children’s online store at www.invisiblechildren.com. This is a great way to access information on the status of child soldiers in the LRA.

A way to support the liberation of child soldiers and stay informed about the Ugandan war is to join the Invisible Children club, whose goal is also to raise money and awareness for child soldiers.

The original Invisible Children founders were three college graduates who saw the conflict and decided it had gone on for too long.

The assembly sought to teach us all that it only takes one person to stand up to injustice, regardless of age.

The presentation not only opened my eyes to an unnecessary war that had been going on for 23 years, but also encouraged me to speak out against such atrocities.

Although we may take some of our freedoms and liberties for granted, we must remember that the invisible children in Uganda don’t even have a voice. It is up to us to speak for them.

So think about it. Is there anything you have to say? Because I, for one, refuse to sit down and allow this to happen any longer. I will take the first step by joining the TRI Campaign and South’s chapter of Invisible Children.

Now we all know what is happening to young children of Uganda. The question is, could you live with yourself, knowing you had the power to help these children, make a difference, and save a life, but didn’t?

I know I couldn’t.

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