AU student club sounds off on KONY2012 movement

Correction appended

AU students have created their own educational campaign about the Lord’s Resistance Army, heeding the call sent to the over 84 million viewers of the KONY 2012 video.

The AU club One World Initiative works to contribute to campaigns like KONY 2012 through advocacy, creating educational seminars and taking advantage of being in D.C.

Leah Fantle and Travis Roberts, juniors in the School of International Service, co-created OWI their freshman year and used it to participate in activism with Invisible Children initiatives.

“I had a deep passion for social justice and human rights issues but never had an outlet with which to take action on it,” Fantle said.

The group was previously named “Invisible Children @ AU” until members changed the name in spring 2010. It recently changed its name to better fit the work it does on educating people about other third world countries, Roberts said. OWI is also not affiliated with Invisible Children.

Its membership grew from 10 people to 50 people immediately after the announcement of the KONY 2012 campaign.

The KONY 2012 video has caused a lot of controversy in recent weeks regarding its budget and social media methods.

OWI hosted an “open-mic” night March 24 to raise money and awareness.

The group also held an LRA 101 workshop March 21 to detail the actions of the Lord’s Resistance Army, an militant organization in central Africa run by Joseph Kony that has been accused of war crimes, including abducting children.

OWI chose to participate in the KONY 2012 initiative because “what you see with Invisible Children is an opportunity, a gateway,” Roberts said. “It’s also the message of hope that it brings that we are trying to bring through Fight Back / Rebuild campaign and OWI.”

OWI worked on Invisible Children’s campaign before the nonprofit released KONY 2012.

The campaign culminates April 20.

In the meantime, citizens and advocacy groups, including One World Initiative, will plaster bumper stickers, posters, and pamphlets throughout cities worldwide.

The U.S. Senate is currently considering a resolution, sponsored by 33 senators, that encourages more U.S. involvement and assistance to the governments of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

“That resolution would not have been proposed without KONY 2012 … absolutely not,” Roberts said.

OWI will be lobbying members of Congress to pass the resolution this year. They plan to write letters and make trips to Capitol Hill this semester.

“If even a small fraction of those people take action on this issue, and that action leads to them becoming better-informed citizens, then I think the video will have done its job,” Fantle said.

OWI has brought the Invisible Children road crew, a group that travels around the country to spread the organization’s message, to campus every year for two and a half years. It also screens films about the LRA crisis and the region.

Invisible Children will come to campus on April 25 for a film screening and in-depth discussion about Kony’s crimes.

news@theeagleonline.com

A previous version of this article stated that the Fight Back/Rebuild campaign was an initiative of Resolve. It is an OWI project.

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