This isn’t the most articulate thing ever. Because I’ve been so flooded with calls and emails and craziness I felt like I should post and share this. Hope it helps and doesn’t just add to any confusion that might be out there:
Today many people heard the name ‘Kony’ for the first time. In an impressive social-media blitz, armies of individuals took action to spread the story thanks to the talented folks at Invisible Children.
Today many people also came under fire for supporting IC because of their financial reports. Much of this came via a blog called Visible Children. I’d encourage you to read it. He does cite sources and, though overly critical, does seem to care about what happens in Uganda.
Today I received lots of messages and emails from people on all sides. Some messages were from concerned people who had supported IC in the past and were heartbroken to hear that they might’ve been misled. (One girl called crying. That was tough.) Some messages were from concerned people who knew I had “supported this Invisible Kids thing before” and I should pray to God for my “soul to be cleansed” because of it. Yeah. (Don’t worry. I did.) Other messages were from concerned people who just wanted people to pay attention to what they support.
Here’s what I think:
Invisible Children is not the answer.
I think they do awesome work. I think they are master storytellers. I think they have done some absolutely remarkable things. I also think they are just the start of the conversation. I’ve always felt this way.
I will continue to support them. Here’s why: For many people IC is the first time they hear about Kony. For many IC provides the first time they hear about a world outside of their driveway where injustices occur. Yeah. IC should be commended for tapping into our culture in the way they have.
They are, however, not the final answer. Awareness is not the only thing Africa (or the world for that matter) needs.
I’ve also been keeping an eye on the #StopIC hashtag. Through it you can see the stories of many people in Africa who oppose the actions of IC. That’s pretty tough, but important to hear.
I say all that to say this:
Friday night we are hosting a screening in Henderson, TN at FHU beginning at 7 PM. I’d love for you to be here. Your presence does not mean you fully support Invisible Children. Your presence will say “I want to be a part of the conversation.” A few weeks ago I bought the URL http://weloveuganda.com. Right now it goes to our FB event page, but the plan is that in a few weeks it will go to an action page on ways you can bring hope and love to Uganda.
I’d love for the massive interest in Invisible Children to spill over into actual action towards helping the many grassroots groups, churches and individuals who are working on the ground in central Africa. I’ve been in conversation with several people who are doing some things that are absolutely beautiful. Can’t wait to share.
Posting status updates and changing profile pics is cool. Don’t stop. It does it’s part to get the word out. Be careful, though. This can fool people into thinking they did something. Truth is - yes.. you did something, but there’s more. We started a little campaign via Love In Stereo called Slacktivist No More. The dream is to end ‘raising awareness’ and instead move an entire generation into action. Not action out of guilt, but out of love.
Don’t allow suspicion and cynicism to cripple you into inaction.
I’ll close with some words from my friend Nate Dorough
“It’s OK to question. This is NOT about supporting Invisible Children as an organization. This is about rising up together and making sure that it’s known that on this planet, the horrific things that are still happening throughout Africa (and elsewhere on this planet) are not OK. We have the ability to make things happen, to stop many of the tragic things that are happening on this earth.
Do not blindly throw your faith into an organization because you watched a video. Do the research. And know that your direct involvement (not by donation, but by action) is the key. If you feel moved to donate, do so, because there are real costs involved with this work. But the key is that you stand up and let others know, and let your representatives know, that you’re not OK with a world where kids are carrying guns, here or in another country.”
Let’s begin a conversation on how we can all rise up together to bring true change.
Go. Spread love.
Do you realy want to hear Jesus say:
For I was jobless and you told me to ‘get a job you lazy bum’;
I was homeless, and you called me a dirty hippie;
I was destitute and you said to me, “helping you would encourage a big socialist uprising, so just be patient and my weath will trickle down to you.’ ?