While one in three teens has seen the Kony 2012 video, the same 33 percent has heard of the director’s naked breakdown, and nearly everyone is convinced that it’s a scam.
In an event sponsored by Glee Club, Alpha Phi Delta, Future Educators of America (FEA), and the Townhouses this past Thurs., activist Jonathan Wieland and Ugandan mentor and former Lord’s Resistance Movement (LRA) victim Richard Marks Ochaka attempted to regain much of Invisible Children’s lost reputation.
“Last semester’s screening was in the midst of the controversy, so almost no one came,” admitted senior secondary education major Sara Hutton.
Hutton was a driving force in bringing the Invisible Children presentation back to Pace after an unsuccessful turnout to an event earlier in the year.
Kony 2012’s “Cover the Night” event in April was similarly unsuccessful as a result of the press’ portrayal of creative director Jason Russell and the Invisible Children organization.
Invisible Children’s new video “MOVE” addresses much of Kony 2012’s negative media attention, explaining the crash of their website as an overpopulation of users and Russell’s indecent outburst as the result of dehydration and exhaustion brought on by the video’s adversaries.
“MOVE” additionally promoted Kony 2012’s event MOVE: DC, a protest at the White House on Nov. 17.
“I thought this event was amazing,” Hutton said of Thursday’s crowd. “It’s amazing to know that so many people saw the new film and are ready to rally behind the idea of Kony 2012 again.”
Whether the larger audience was due to Greek-required attendance or genuine support of Invisible Children is speculative.
“It was nice to see their reaction to the media’s portrayal [of Kony 2012] and to hear how Jason’s been doing,” said junior criminal justice major John Manzo of the presentation.
Senior childhood education major Margaret Bradley said that the presentation had changed her mind after an initial doubt in the cause.
“I never watched the original Kony 2012 video because of the negative feedback it received, but after seeing this video, I’ll be attending MOVE in November,” Bradley said.
Junior finance major Tania Leal was also planning on attending the event after the presentation.
“I was surprised they had an explanation of what happened following [the Kony 2012 video],” said Leal. “I’ve been following it since high school and I’m really motivated to go to MOVE.”
MOVE: DC aims to remind the leaders of the United States, United Nations, European Union, and African Union of their previous pledges to take action against the LRA, and to ignite further response. A certain quota of attendees from different areas all over the world are required to accomplish this goal.
“We never want to fight them,” said Wieland, the Team Leader from Invisible Children in charge of the Tri-State Area. “We want to work with them. That’s the best way to solve it.”
Invisible Children’s primary focus is ending the actions of the LRA, and their leader Joseph Kony. Kony is said to kidnap children all over Central Africa and use them as soldiers to slaughter and displace innocent Africans.
To date, 470 thousnad people from Uganda, Congo, the Central African Republic, and South Sudan are said to be displaced.
Ochaka, who spoke at the event and currently works as a mentor for the Legacy Scholarship Program, an initiative which provides funding for students in Northern Uganda affected by the LRA, was also displaced as a child.
“It’s the last thing you want to be—a refugee in your own home,” said Ochaka. “I felt like our death was just being postponed.”
Ochaka also said that the media attention of Russell and accusations of fraudulence had distracted from the intended good of Invisible Children.
“I think it’s a really great cause and that it’s very important for people to spread the word about these world issues,” said senior business administration major and president of Phi Sigma Sigma Kelsey Weinstein.
Weinstein added that Phi Sigma Sigma had sponsored events with Invisible Children in the past and that many sisters made regular donations to the cause.
One of the ideas frequently stressed throughout the event was the current generation’s power to make an impact on the world, especially through the use of technology, as Kony 2012’s initial success came from the sharing of its YouTube video.
Wieland encouraged supporters to visit Invisible Children’s website at www.kony2012.com for more information and to contact local representative Nita Lowey via Twitter to encourage action which will aid in stopping the LRA.
“We are invested and believe in the inherent value of human life and the abilities of our generation,” said Wieland. “If you care about an issue, do something about it because if everyone does something, we can get a lot done.”