In the spring of 2003, we were three young filmmakers traveling to Africa in search of a story. We soon discovered a tragedy that disgusted and inspired us, a tragedy where children are both the weapons and the victims.
For the past 23 years, thousands of children in northern Uganda have been abducted and forced to fight in the ranks of a rebel army called the ‘Lord’s Resistance Army’ (LRA). The effects of this war devastated the region, leaving millions displaced from their homes. Upon returning to the US, we created the Invisible Children: Rough Cut, a documentary film that exposes the tragic realities of northern Uganda’s night commuters and child soldiers. The film was originally shown to friends and family, but has since been seen by millions of people. We created the non-profit Invisible Children, Inc., giving compassionate individuals an effective way to respond to the situation.
Our organization of ambitious twenty-somethings has a mission to transform apathy into activism on behalf of a neglected crisis in central east Africa. By documenting the lives of those living in regions of conflict and injustice, we hope to educate and inspire individuals in the Western world to use their unique voice for change. With a widely successful awareness campaign, a catalog of acclaimed documentary films and the most innovative development programs in Uganda—we just might be on to something.
Meanwhile, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) continues to terrorize the region, murdering and displacing thousands in Congo, southern Sudan and Central African Republic. A war originally contained within Uganda’s borders has now evolved into a widespread regional crisis, prompting massive international attention.
It’s frightening that this war has now grown into an international crisis. We need to respond with an international body of activists to increase the visibility of this conflict and end Joseph Kony’s reign of terror.
We are responding with our most ambitious and controversial event to date, THE RESCUE, a worldwide rally on April 25th in 100 cities across 10 countries. Participants will ‘abduct themselves’ on behalf of abducted child soldiers. Each city will be ‘rescued’ by a prominent political or cultural figure who attends the event and makes a statement on behalf of the child soldiers. Confirmed rescuers include Pete Wentz, Kirsten Dunst, Kristen Bell, Switchfoot, Paramore and Paris Hilton among others.
In February, we launched a world tour to screen our latest documentary, The Rescue of Joseph Kony’s Child Soldiers, which profiles the elusive rebel leader, Joseph Kony, who has terrorized northern Uganda and surrounding areas igniting a new urgency for global attention. It also shares groundbreaking testimonies from child soldiers themselves. This powerful 35-minute piece of media serves as a worldwide catalyst to combat apathy and empower a generation to take action towards a forgotten war, culminating in THE RESCUE event on April 25th. This event succeeds Invisible Children’s previous awareness events—the Global Night Commute’ in 2006 and Displace Me in 2007—that drew 150,000 collectively to peacefully demonstrate on behalf of northern Uganda. The attention generated from Invisible Children’s previous events widely contributed to the start of the peace talks and appointment of a senior level diplomat to oversee the process. The political impact of this event is anticipated to be historical not only for northern Uganda and surrounding areas, but for a new generation of activists in bringing about change through a simple, unified act.
Ten countries. 100 cities. One collective voice: bring the child soldiers home.
You can TakePart with Invisible Children by watching the film and signing up for your RESCUE city.