For the past 20 years, Ugandan children ranging in age from 8 to 14 have been kidnapped, brainwashed and forced to kill others, often their own families, according to Relevant Magazine.
In the Spring of 2003, three friends from California, Jason Russell, 27, Laren Poole, 22, and Bobby Bailey, 24, traveled to Africa, with cameras in hand and discovered this atrocity that is being referred to as the second Holocaust by some journalists. The crimes they witnessed motivated them to launch Invisible Children, an organization built upon their desire for a call to action from the U.S. government.
In an effort to make Americans aware of the situation in Uganda, they have started a tour documentary-screening called the “Suburban Safari,” a team comprised of volunteers that fill seven RVs
The tour, which began on Feb. 1, will end on April 27, the day of the “Global Night Commute.” Thousands of people in their respective cities will travel downtown by foot and spend the night sleeping outdoors just like the children in Uganda do every night.
Recently, two of the filmmakers, Jason and Laren, were present at the screening held at Bluestockings Bookstore in Manhattan on Monday, March 6. They had high hopes for the audience. “The ultimate experience would be a mental paradigm shift,” said Jason.
The filmmakers have repeatedly said that, although they are Christians, they are not a Christian organization. They want to make that clear to the public because their sole purpose is to dedicate themselves to the cause in Uganda.
“I’ve experienced that God is not divisive and today we are pointing out the division [in our society] like race, sexual orientation, gender and even ways of practicing faith,” Jason Russell said. “Hopefully, the film can transcend that.”
The filmmakers focus on Joseph Kony, the leader of the terrorist organization called the Lord’s Resistance Army, who has been in opposition to the government since the 1980s.
For 20 years, there has been war and the Acholi people have lived in fear because of it. They are fearful that their children will be abducted and forced to join and they are fearful when the children choose to join the army; it doesn’t matter what side they are on because they are not safe either way.
The founders of Invisible Children Inc. want the people of Acholi to have security and above all, an education. They need the help of people in the U.S. in the form of time and money.
“If you’re about equality and justice, you have to be for it [helping the Ugandan children],” said Laren Poole. “We’re asking you to give of yourself.”
On the organization’s Web site, www.invisiblechildren.com, there are numerous ways people can contribute to the cause. The filmmakers have stressed the importance of spreading the word about the situation in Uganda. Their documentary DVD is for sale. Buyers receive two DVDs so one can be shared.
There is also a bracelet campaign which they call “the bracelet that comes full circle.” The bracelets were made by Ugandans and each bear the name of a child that will be supported by the proceeds.
The money received from DVD and bracelet sales will fund an education program for the children of Uganda.