Thursday, March 8, 2012

KONY 2012: My thoughts on your negative ones

For the last five years, I taught high schoolers a class called African-Asian studies. It was a survey of the history, culture, religions, and geography of two continents that my students often didn't know much or anything about. Throughout my teaching career, the Invisible Children organization came to my school and presented their different videos and informed kids what was going on in Uganda. Every year, I saw students affected by what they saw. Sometimes disbelief, but often sadness and a desire to help make a change for the children of Uganda. Students started clubs, raised money for schools in Uganda, and opened their eyes to the world beyond Chester county.


This week, Invisible Children released a new campaign called KONY 2012. There has been a great outpouring, but with lots of criticism as well. If you haven't already, take the time to watch the video and understand what the purpose of the KONY 2012 campaign is.



"KONY 2012 IS A FILM AND CAMPAIGN BY INVISIBLE CHILDREN THAT AIMS TO MAKE JOSEPH KONY FAMOUS, NOT TO CELEBRATE HIM, BUT TO RAISE SUPPORT FOR HIS ARREST AND SET A PRECEDENT FOR INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE."


KONY 2012 from INVISIBLE CHILDREN on Vimeo.



For me, the negativity is hard to understand. It's hard to comprehend people's criticism of a group trying so desperately to make a change to better the lives of people in Central Africa. It's hard to understand why people can't see the hope of the message found in Invisible Children- the idea that no matter who you are you can make a difference. IC started with 3 college kids who saw the devastating circumstances children were living in and have spent the last 9 years working tirelessly to try to make a difference for people they could have just forgotten about. It's hard to understand how the critiques can be made and yet so many of the people critiquing it aren't coming up with any other solutions to the problem.

And, when it comes down to it---

Isn't this what we want for future generations? Don't we want kids to see beyond themselves and to the great needs of the world? Don't we want to empower them to dream big and to leave the world a better place than when they came? 

Well, I do. And if it takes something like the Invisible Children organization to motivate, educate, and grab the attention of our youth and the world, then I think they're right on.



3 comments:

Ruth Witmer said...

Kristen,
This was so well said! Thank you for this amazing post. What a Blessing. Our family has close ties with this organization and have met the original young man Jason Russell ourselves. He is a very genuine young man with a dream to fulfill a promise that he made to a young African he met while he was visiting Uganda. He is fulfilling that promise, to not close his eyes and forget what he saw, but to keep a promise to do all that he can do to try to stop this evil man. Thanks for doing your part by blogging this story!

Brenna said...

I completely agree with you Kristen :)

Jenny K said...

I completely agree! Who is complaining anyway? People sitting and staring at a computer screen, not doing anything helpful? Well i am sitting here starting at a computer screen agreeing with you :) And now i will get up and try and do something helpful :)