In the 00s, a war that had been raging for 25 years came to the world’s attention through the actions of 3 young surfers that had recently graduated college down in San Diego. Living in San Diego can leave one with a ‘what do I do now’ question at the end of summer. Upon seeing a news report by Collin Powell, the 3 amigos traded in their surfboards and life of privilege to go show compassion by filming conditions in an area ravaged by the evil Lord’s Resistance Army, led by Joseph Kony.
The ensuing DYI documentary went viral among the white, mainly Christian, youth as there was no outpouring of Jewish, Muslim, or Mormon schools or students into the cause. Also missing until late into the cause effort were any ‘black’ schools until Louisville’s own Central High won a national fundraising prize of sending several student interns to the African site seen in the movie, Invisible Children. It was a surprising silence from a demographic with the largest collection of combined African household art probably in the world. Oprah, the Queen of Daytime TV did have the boys, as they were then, on her show…in the audience. And she did later found an African girls’ school in her own name that ended in scandal. Meh.
Meanwhile the movie was a sleeper and galvanized many into action who saw it. That action led to the first Global Night Commute, promoted dramatically in a breath-taking color poster featuring a composite youth, half American white suburbanite with a backpack and half dark-skinned African child soldier with an AK-47 the same age and gender, marking the date, April 29, 2006.
There were locations all over the country including 8000 ‘commuters’ in Balboa Park, San Diego, and NO PRESS save one. No Spanish news, no black news, no media except IC’s which broadcast it around the world to other social media savvy youth outlets. This also wasn’t a political movement so there was no cannabis in use [at Balboa Park] or at other locations.
Momentum built and a whole organization began mobilizing into action. A headquarters was founded and soon the 3 young men were leading a global effort to bring relief to a tribe of Africans indigenous to the area they filmed. Still this effort remained largely in the hands and pocketbooks of Middle America white youth, devoid of outside school involvement by adults of any color except some Catholic International agencies. For a number of years IC teams toured the country raising both awareness and funds at high schools in places like Temecula, CA. But the subject never ignited in the public like immigration or Ferguson.
The campaign shifted focus when it was realized that constant fundraising and staffing missions were bailing water in a leaky boat. Not wanting to be future Mother Teresa’s and have a solution along with the ‘hope’ Obama brought in when he became President, the boys, now men, decided on pursuing it in a political direction. By this time it had been discovered that Kony was no ordinary brutal killer of men, women, boys and girls, Mr. Kony was hard to catch because he wasn’t ordinary. IC had crossed over into the side of life as told of in Memoirs, Chapter 7. According to witnessed reports, Kony had eyes that could glow red and the power of levitation along with the usual accoutrements of evil mystics. This Twilight Zone aspect was played down due to sensationalism since the movement was encountering blowback in some political quarters for shadowy reasons.
By the time the Occupy Movement came along, Invisible Children had been ham-stringed by being tied in with the right-wing anti-gay Christian element seeking to lawfully outlaw homosexuality. The blowback from that in the press distraction led to a video the next year that called for the end to Kony and that call went viral. Using his small son in the video, Jason Russell made it personal and took the fight to the level of him against Kony, with good over evil. However, like the magical force of revenge seen in the movie The Serpent and The Rainbow, based on a non-fiction book of the same name, suddenly leading founder and voice of the group, suffered a reversal of public opinion and then a nervous breakdown, also public.
After much success and stopping the ‘war’ in that area as well as at least getting some of the tribe relocated back to the prime pasture land they had been moved from by the government and a rudimentary communication system installed among other things, Joseph Kony is still free and Invisible Children as a cause force is folding their tents to return to a post IC normal life. The NEWS wishes Jason Russell, his family, and all the lives he and his other two amigos touched and saved a Happy New Year and Best of it in 2015.
You are both missed and celebrated for your Christian compassion beyond ego. To see last video, go here.