Brittany Ballantyne

Equinox Staff


Words have the ability to educate, spark an idea, provoke an emotion, cause disagreements, and travel across the world. When word spread about the Kony 2012 campaign, awareness as well as controversies followed.

Joseph Kony is a warlord of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and ranks number one on the International Criminal Court list. The LRA is located in Uganda, the Congo, central Africa, as well as Sudan.

Kony and his army have been capturing children, making them sex slaves and forcing them to join his forces for nearly 20 years, creating an estimated 66,000 child soldiers within that time frame. Kony’s whereabouts are currently unknown.

Organizations such as Invisible Children (IC) have been spreading awareness of this issue in hopes to capture and arrest Kony for his crimes. IC has been working on this issue for about 10 years and has hosted the controversial Kony 2012 campaign. This campaign aims to make Kony famous, not because they are praising him, but to educate people on Kony and his tactics.

The campaign’s YouTube video turned viral, skyrocketing to 83 million views on YouTube alone after a matter of days. Many are skeptical of where IC’s funding is spent, the information presented in the video, as well as the organization itself.

IC members and a refugee from Africa will be coming to KSC on April 11 at 7 p.m. to speak with students and others who attend the event about this controversial topic.

The location for this event is not yet determined due to the need to fit 200 students that said they would be attending. The Holocaust and Genocides Awareness club organized this event but said they are not for or against the cause, but merely pro-awareness.

Sophomore Chloe Edmonds of the Holocaust and Genocides Awareness club said, “The entire organization was based off three people, three college students that went to Uganda and saw what was happening, saw that kids were being stolen and came back to America and decided ‘I’ve seen this first hand, I’m going to try to change it.’ And however the organization decided to send that message and to make that change, everybody can refute certain areas of that.”

Senior Danielle Flaherty, also of the Holocaust Genocide Awareness club, said, “There needs to be more knowledge layered on top of that video, there needs to be a balance of inspiration and knowledge and emotion.” Flaherty said there is much more history and complications that can’t be put into a small portion of time through video.

Edmonds said, “If you don’t agree with it or if you have problems with the organization, don’t attack it and attack the people that support it. Come to the Holocaust and Genocide Awareness club and tell us a different organization that you think is doing better aid and create your own opinions and create an alternative to what Invisible Children is doing.”

Junior Melissa Lipkind said, “A lot of people don’t know what’s going on in the outside world and I think it’s important that people do know…A lot of people don’t think it’s necessary (to go into Africa), but in the International Criminal Court, Kony is number one and I think it’s important that everyone realizes how significant that is.”

Edmonds said IC was chosen to come to KSC to educate the student body. “I knew there were people that didn’t agree that Invisible Children was the best organization to send your money to or to take support in but the fact is Invisible Children is one of the few organizations that gets the average person to start looking into situation around the world and start getting average people involved.”

She also said, “By bringing them here, you’re bringing in an organization that’s going to open up the average person’s eyes about what’s happening. Whether they support it or not, they’re going to start understanding what the country is having to deal with and they can take their own stance on the best way to help.”

Sophomore Johanna DeBari spoke of why and how this issue is important to college students. “We’re always taught that we can make a difference,” she said. “It’s showing people that what you say matters and you matter and your opinion matters,” DeBari said.

Flaherty said this is a humanity issue. “Yes we have poor people and yes we have homeless people, we have a lot of things going on in America but we also need to keep out for our own, it’s humanity. These are other human beings that are being treated like this. These are children, not just adults,” she said.

“You need to look out for your fellow man before you can talk about ‘I need to look out for my nation,’” Flaherty also said.

DeBari said, “Whether it’s in Uganda, whether it’s in Europe, whether it’s in America, we’re all people and it can happen anywhere, it just so happens that it happened in Uganda.”

“It’s almost like the idea of if you have two houses and you hear screaming and you hear something happening in one house, you hear somebody getting hurt and you know should be stopped, just because they’re not one of us in terms of ‘they don’t live in my house’ does that mean that you don’t provide aid?” Edmonds questioned.

Lipkind said the refugee speaker would have the most impact on the crowd at this event. “A lot of people have a better reaction to survivors and I think that that will be the biggest part of our event,” she said. “I get a better understanding and a better feeling towards what’s going on when I hear from someone who’s lived through it,” Lipkind also said.

“If they’re [IC] passionate about what they’re working on, it translates so much better to the people that they’re trying to send their message to,” Edmonds said. Edmonds hopes for a good turn out and also hopes students will get involved some how in some way to make a positive change.

Edmonds said, “If they [students] leave that event dedicating their time to something else, that would be worthwhile enough for me.”


Brittany Ballantyne can be contacted at





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