Students at St. Edward's Take Action to End Africa's Invisible War
What is Invisible Children? When someone asks me this, I could say it’s a nonprofit organization that seeks two things: resolution for the longest running war in Africa’s history and the rehabilitation of war-stricken communities. But that doesn’t begin to cover it. For 25 years, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has been attacking the countries of Uganda, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. The LRA is composed of child soldiers, individuals who were forcefully abducted from their communities to fight. To date, more than 100,000 civilians have been murdered and at least 30,000 children have been abducted. Until recently, this war has been one of the most neglected humanitarian crises occurring right now.
Six years ago, I saw the original Invisible Children documentary called “The Rough Cut.” It took everything I knew and turned it upside down, and it continues to change my life to this day. The Invisible Children organization on the St. Edward’s University campus — a chapter of the larger nonprofit — hopes to make the same impact on the lives of students through experiences like film screenings and social action
As the organization’s events coordinator, I’ve been collaborating with resident assistants in every residence hall over the past four weeks and hosting programs to watch “The Rough Cut,” which provides a basic understanding of what Invisible Children is all about.
This Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. in Jones Auditorium, we’ll be screening the film “Tony.” “Tony” is the next step in the direction by Invisible Children; it covers the journey of how Invisible Children came to be, the individuals they met in Uganda, and where this movement is headed. “Roadies” who voluntarily live on the road for six months while touring the U.S. to share this story will be at the screening. A former LRA soldier will be among them.
During an Alternative Spring Break leaders meeting, Liza Manjarrez, assistant director of Campus Ministry, brought to my attention that our screening would be perfect for Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. At first, it didn’t click as to why it would be a good fit, but then it hit me. At the height of this war, more than 1.8 million individuals in central Africa were being displaced, were forced to seek safety against the LRA and were homeless. They had homes, but couldn’t return to them in fear of the rebels.
After attending the screening, we hope students take away a sense of global responsibility. Where an individual lives shouldn’t determine whether they live — especially those affected by this war. As a community, we have the ability to use our resources and help implement change. We hope that the St. Edward’s community takes up this endeavor and will walk with us in ending this 25-year-long war.
--Becca May, sophomore Global Studies major