Friday, June 12, 2009

America's Youth Address the Plight of Ugandan Children

On June 22 and 23, there will be a lobbying event in Washington D.C. that addresses the atrocious situation facing the Ugandan region and all of its children. The rally has been titled "How it Ends" and the tagline is "It's time for Africa's longest running war to be over, and this is how it ends." Backed by thousands of people, celebrities and politicians alike are showing up to lobby on behalf of this cause. The "How it Ends" website states, "The program will include lobbying trainings, VIP speakers, a kick-off rally and will culminate in an unprecedented outpouring of activism on Capitol Hill, with hundreds of meetings taking place between Members of Congress and their constituents."
The youth of America have been banning together as word of the children of Uganda's plight spreads through the schools, churches, and clubs through groups like enough!, Resolve Uganda and Invisible Children. I am most familiar with Invisible Children, a movement that has provided specific materials and instructions on how youth can make a difference. Overnight walks and mock kidnappings demonstrate through our youth the devastating actions of the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda. Thousands of youth participated in a peaceful "sleep out" last month all over the country. Specifically, they made news by camping outside Oprah's studios and she invited them on the show to share their story.
On March 12, Senator Russ Feingold addressed President Obama and the Senate regarding the Ugandan crisis. His statement began, " Mr. President, I rise today to express my grave concern at the continuing massacres, kidnappings and terror orchestrated by the Lord’s Resistance Army, the LRA, in northeastern Congo and southern Sudan." Feingold's interest and actions regarding this issue go back to 2004 when he authored and Congress passed the Northern Uganda Crisis Response Act. The United States committed to vigorously pursue the end of the war. Negotiations have failed with Lord's Resistance Army leader, Joseph Kony, for over five years. In fact, when Ugandan, Congolese, and South Sudanese armies went on the offensive against the LRA early in 2009, Kony's forces struck back harder killing over 900 people in a two month period. The biggest struggle for most Americans is how Kony is reinforcing his armies - with kidnapped children.
Feingold stated, "We have come a long way in just a few years, thanks especially to young Americans who have become increasingly aware of and outspoken about this horrific situation." My three daughters have been involved in various ways through the Invisible Children organization and it is uplifting to see our children right here in Brentwood striving to make a difference for children halfway around the world. I applaud America's youth. See if you can make a difference or at least make yourself aware of the plight. I feel if it were not for my children and their friends, I might not have known myself about this atrocity.

Invisible Children

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