A swarm of teenagers ran down Castro Valley Boulevard and Redwood Road on the night of April 20 with a single message in their hands: Stop Joseph Kony.
Kony 2012 was recently brought to light by the organization Invisible Children, Inc. According to the group’s findings, Kony is a Ugandan war criminal who kidnaps children from their homes in Central Africa and forces them to fight with him in his rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army. Among the objectives of the militant group, one of the biggest goals is to fight against the centralized government in Uganda and instead enforce a competitive multi-party democracy.
April 20 was the date chosen by Jason Russell, director of the Kony 2012 video and co-founder of Invisible Children, to bring awareness to the issue and put up posters with Kony’s name on it, saying that he had to be stopped. Ideally, this night was supposed to be participated in worldwide, yet many major international news networks have called it “disappointing” in terms of the level of participation participation.
Regardless, freshman Amanda Bailey was the one who coordinated the Castro Valley event, and she is pleased. Bailey organized the night to run from 8-11 p.m. The group of about 20 started from the Safeway parking lot on Castro Valley Boulevard and made its way through it and Redwood Road, putting up posters and grabbing attention from passersby.
“It was in the works for a month,” Bailey said. “The word was spreading around at school. Two hundred people joined on Facebook, so there was a good amount of people there.”
While there has been a lot of praise for the video and the cause, there has also been a lot of criticism and skepticism towards both. The negative reactions fired even further after Russell was arrested for public indecency, leaving many to question whether or not he was “stable” enough to create and lead such a following.
Bailey has said that she has acknowledged all of the accusations, yet it is not enough to keep her from believing that what she and her fellow classmates did was not worthwhile.
“This whole thing isn’t about whether or not you agree with Invisible Children. It’s about opposing and defeating the awful horrors occurring in Africa.” Defiantly, she added, “To those who won’t stand up to this for whatever negative reason, I couldn’t care less! I am a very sensitive person, but I believe that a lot of us have become desensitized to everything else happening in the world.”
Bailey only hopes to inspire more people throughout the year. She’s considering making an Invisible Children club on campus next year.