By Comms Blogger Roberta Barnett
You’ve probably seen it, read numerous blog posts about it, thought about it, and maybe even discussed it with your chapter. And no matter how you feel about Invisible Children, the campaign, or its intermediate goals, it’s important to bring it full circle to realize that the end goal, putting an end to atrocities perpetrated by the LRA on children and families in Central Africa, is pretty much the same.
Opinions aside, it’s hard to ignore the amount of attention the video has gotten from students, Internet personalities, and news organizations. The interest we have is a powerful tool that if used effectively, can really make an impact on people in our own communities, and indirectly, communities halfway across the world. There have been several blog posts and thoughts shared as to why the video was such a social media hit, so I will not discuss that here (I think Student Director Daniel Solomon’s piece on Securing Rights really helped me gain a better understanding of this).
One thing almost all STAND members have supported is using the KONY 2012 video to help raise awareness among students. As the video is primarily the story of Jason Russell and his son, it was certainly difficult for KONY 2012 to offer the full story of the LRA’s impact in Central Africa. This is a great opportunity for STAND to educate on major conflicts from Uganda, to the DRC, to Sudan. Colby STAND recently held a successful discussion event between professors and students that was not only educational, but allowed students to participate. Other chapters have had similar meetings. If yours hasn’t, try planning an event that is both educational and interactive.
The social media campaign also an opportunity for networking. I was actually quite surprised to see the diversity of people “liking” or “sharing” the KONY 2012 video. For the most part, I had never even seen any of these people at a STAND meeting. For my chapter’s upcoming event, we are encouraging these digital activists to leave the confines of their computers to discuss the very real issues in person. Likewise, it’s an opportunity to reach out to other internationally focused organizations such as Model UN and Amnesty International in order to create a larger campus impact. Invite another club to check out your discussion, or better yet, host an event together! You may just get a few new STAND members.
While STAND does not necessarily support the actions recommended at the end of KONY 2012, there are still tangible requests to ask of your fellow students while you have their attention. STAND alum Janessa Goldbeck has been biking throughout the Southern U.S. to raise awareness of the importance of U.S. leadership on conflict prevention, humanitarian aid, and civilian protection. In order for the U.S. to take effective, life-saving action in the future, it needs to have sufficient funds allocated to do so. Significant foreign aid would probably not be a reality if constituents like you did not support it. You and your chapter members can call Congress at (202) 505-5012 to show your support for foreign aid. You can also support upcoming legislation, such as The Sudan Peace, Security, and Accountability Act of 2012, by calling 1-800-GENOCIDE and talking to your representative about it.
Many core chapter leaders are sharing their take on KONY 2012 on the Google Group. Join in the discussion! If you’re not part of the group or are unsure of how to use it, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.