Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Obama Signs Historic Legislation with Invisible Children!

Now of course, everyone has an opinion on the President, and no one person is perfect, but what happened yesterday for the organization Invisible Children was quite remarkable. I'm really proud of our President for taking action and recognizing the hardwork and grassroots efforts of a generation of activists.

If you've been reading my blog posts for a while, then you probably already know about the organization Invisible Children and the mission they have been on for the last five years to see the government intervene in a horrible situation in Northern Uganda. Literally thousands and thousands of people have been moved from their homes into Internal Displacement Person Camps (IDP). They are over-crowded, and undernourished. They don't have access to adequate sanitation. They are suffering because of a warlord named Joseph Kony and his "Lords Resistance Army" (LRA).

Sure, our world has some bad people in it, but Kony is among the worst. He has been stealing children for decades from the villages and IDP camps of Northern Uganda. He goes after children between the ages of 5 and 12 because they are big enough to carry a gun, and small enough to sneak into communities to steal more children. Generations of children have lived in fear of the LRA. Literally thousands of children have been abducted each year to resource Kony's militia group. They are KIDS! They should be going to school, playing sports, laughing, and having fun. Instead they are being forced to kill other people. They are being forced to lose their youth and innocence out of fear for the death of themselves or the ones that they love.

As Invisible Children has lobbied over the last several years for the abduction of Kony and for intervention in Northern Uganda, they have been met with a groundswell of support. The organization was started by some recent college grads when they came face to face with children who made commutes each night from their villages into cities where there was additional protection for them. These kids slept in bus depots and hospital basements out of fear of being abducted.

Literally millions of american young people between 15 and 35 have gotten involved in this organization's work. They have believed in the ability of the people to be involved in government. People hosted video watching parties and learned more about the organization. They wore T-shirts, and donated money. They wrote letters and visited their congressional representatives. All because of a desire to see justice done in Northern Uganda. All because folks said enough is enough.

I'm writing this post today in celebration of what Invisible Children, Enough, and Resolve Uganda have been able to do through hard work and intense commitment to seeing change happen. Many of us gripe about politics but avoid getting involved in the process. We gripe about problems in the world, but aren't willing to get our hands dirty. We complain about injustice but then act like we are helpless to do anything.

I'm really proud of the folks at Invisible Children. I'm really proud of the activists who were catalyzed by this organization. I'm really proud to see a generation stand up for something wrong in the world, and see results. It's never easy to stand up for the right things, and it's always easy to just give up, but these folks persevered. They persevered and saw a bill go before congress, get passed, and then watched President Obama sign that bill into law. They saw what happens when people get engaged and stay engaged in the political process.

I hope you will take time to celebrate with them and their hard work. Many of my friends have worked, volunteered, and/or financially contributed to seeing this become a reality. I hope it increases your confidence that we can REALLY make a difference in the world. It takes hard work, but more than that, it takes many people making their small contribution to get in the fight.

As you go about your day, I encourage you to consider what you can do to continue to make a difference in this world as well.

Congratulations again Invisible Children!

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