The release of Kony 2012 Part 2 on Thursday has people across the world talking again about Lord Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony once again. The now infamous Kony has led the LRA through Uganda, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, and The Central African Republic, leaving behind a path of destruction. Kony and the LRA are accused of having abducted over 30,000 children in northern Uganda alone.
Kony 2012 Part 2 comes several weeks after the release of a half-hour video created by Invisible Children Co-Founder Jason Russell about the rebel leader Kony. On campus, The GW college chapter of Invisible Children wants to take the lessons it learned from the Clinton Global Initiative Univesity Conference (CGIU), held at GW last weekdend, to help Kony's victims.
In order to attend the Conference, the student organization submitted a commitment to action plan about their goal of funding a year of art supplies for an art therapy program for ex-LRA children combatants at the only rehab center in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Members of GW Invisible Children went to several presentations about stopping genocide throughout the world and learned strategies on how to reach the world's most remote places in need.
"The conference was an incredibly interesting and inspiring experience," Nick Holdreith, the chapter's Vice President, said. "We also made some tentative connections with individuals and other non governmental organizations like Livestrong," he added.
The GW Invisible Children's chapter is in the planning stages of how to meet their goal of raising $2,500 by the end of 2012. The group plans to hold bake sales to raise the money, along with a larger fundraising event such as a dinner or an art gala show at a museum in the District. The money will go toward purchasing art supplies locally through an African NGO partnered with the GW group.
"We believe this [money] should be more than enough for the projected growth of the rehabilitation center to hold them over for some time," Holdreith commented.
The GW chapter of Invisible Children has seen an increase in support from the community since Kony 2012 was released. The group says it has gained 150 new facebook likes and more students in general have been in contact asking what they can do to help the organization.
"I defintely think our chapter is more recognizable," Jenny Rabago, the chapter's treasurer, said.
The group is also planning two other upcoming events. On April 20th, the chapter will be joining Invisible Children college chapters in the District area for Cover the Night, part of a worldwide movement of local Invisible Children chapters. The chapters will canvas the city putting up posters while dressed in costumes.
The GW Chapter will then show it's own screening of Kony 2012 on April 23rd at 6:00 in Funger Hall, followed by a discussion and Q&A session with a Ugandan survivor. A street team from the main Invisible Children organization will be on hand.
Not everyone has had a positive reaction to the video. Skeptics have questioned Invisible Children's organization and financial practices. The criticism compounded after Jason Russell was taken to a hospital after a recent public meltdown which included public nudity.
Still, the group's members are committed to Invisible Children's cause and continue to lobby members of Congress to support Kony 2012 resolutions that have been proposed on the House floor.
"Regardless of all the criticism, the video has made people aware," Megan McDonough, the Chapter's President, said.