Several years ago I was handed a DVD and told to watch it. Having been told it would change my life and it would be very hard to watch, what did I do? I put it in my room and I watched the DVD cover. I never actually put the DVD in the player and watched it. The picture on the front cover told the story and I was not ready to watch young children who had their childhood’s stolen from them and guns placed in their hands and used as killers in a long standing war in Uganda (at the time).
I gave the film to a friend to watch. I began to hear rumblings from former students, now in college, of the atrocities of child soldiers. My heart broke and my interest grew. The story of these children was heart breaking to hear about and I was drawn to respond in some way. Not knowing what to do, I simply shared the film (which I had not watched), directed people to the articles I had read on line, collected information and gave it away when warranted.
I eventually met a young woman who had traveled with the organization who made the film I had been given those years earlier, Invisible Children. She told me her story and experience with them. Through her, I met several other young, passionate, men and women who had given months, a year and some many years to the cause of raising awareness of the plight of child soldiers throughout parts of Africa.
Up until this time of my life I hadn’t really given much thought to activism as a whole. I knew of people who would get upset about something and picket stores, offices and government buildings. I had been approached by individuals raising awareness of the plight of baby seals being uselessly slaughtered for their coats. I had seen scenes in movies where characters rallied against wars and for equality. But my life had yet to intersect with someone who cared so deeply about an issue, an injustice, that they wanted to give their life to simply raise the awareness of an atrocity of which most people were ignorant. Now, my life was connected with someone who profoundly cared about people they had not met, in a country they had not been and for an issue that had not affected them personally. Their passion inspired me. Their love compelled me. Their tenacity encouraged me. And their fortitude left me awe struck.
Since engaging in relationship with several who have given time and in some cases lives to the work of Invisible Children I have been continually drawn to the perseverance and singular call of this organization. And over the years, the atrocity of children being soldiers is no longer invisible to many.
Yes, advocacy has it’s place. It is one part of a much needed rescue effort. It is not the whole. But through the work of Invisible Children I’ve seen hundreds and thousands of students inspired to engage the world. I have seen people wrestle with injustice. I have witnessed hearts aching, not for their own selves, but over the situations of the hurting in the world, this inspires me. Individuals around the globe have been compelled to act, to respond with their voices, to play their part… even when people have not agreed with IC’s strategy, Invisible Children’s story and work has arguably pushed people out of complacency into action.
This is why I am sharing my space with Invisible Children today. Take some time to peruse their website, watch their videos, listen to stories and see what resonates with you. Then take some time and share how Invisible Children has inspired you or how you’ve been compelled to act in response to their efforts or even because you disagree with their efforts. Perhaps take time to write a prayer for IC in the comment section. Share this blog with others you know or take some time and think about how you are giving your life to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly.