Invisible Children stays visible after KONY 2012

Michael Bragg

Appalachian State University’s chapter of the non-profit organization Invisible Children will host its first free movie screening of the year in I.G. Greer on Wednesday at 8 p.m.

Appalachian’s chapter of the club will also hold a bake sale the same day on Sanford Mall to spread awareness about the screening, which is part of Invisible Children’s current campaign, ZeroLRA.

“The campaign ensures that every child soldier is brought home to their families and given the chance to fully recover in a sponsored rehabilitation center,” said Lisa Hurst, president of the Invisible Children chapter.

Funds raised for ZeroLRA will go toward supporting the rehabilitation centers, improving communications on radio towers that broadcast to areas where the Lord’s Resistance Army is hiding and distributing fliers to the LRA’s soldiers to convince them to rejoin their families, Hurst said.

“The film is an old film of [Invisible Children]’s called ‘The Rescue,’ but it’s an updated version,” chapter vice president Maddy Burns said. “This is one of the best films they’ve made.”

As always, the screening hosted several of Invisible Children’s “roadies,” or volunteers who travel on the road and discuss their experiences with the organization.

“The roadies attending the screening are both Americans and a Ugandan,” club publicist Natasha Greendyk said. “We never hear their stories until they physically arrive, which is actually a pretty cool thing, I think. It’s the element of surprise.”

The club meets every Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Newland Hall classroom. Meetings revolve around fundraising ideas and usually draw around 20 members.

“It may not sound like a lot, but our members are dedicated to the cause and that’s all you need,” Greendyk said.

Invisible Children faced intense public backlash last year for its KONY 2012 campaign, which focused on bringing warlord Joseph Kony and the LRA to an end. The campaign was criticized for its alleged homogenization of the conflict in the accompanying half-hour film. The club even had to have police officers at a past screening, Burns said.

“It was hard to hear people saying it was all a scheme because I know how many people suffered and are still suffering,” Burns said. “But we picked ourselves up and dusted ourselves off and kept going.”

This year, the club is remaining active and plans to host other larger events such as a benefit concert and a male beauty pageant.

“We hope to continue to raise awareness to one day succeed in seeing the LRA completely disbanded and the child soldiers return home,” Hurst said.

Invisible Children was founded in 2004 and works to raise funds and awareness to bring an end to the LRA conflict in northern Africa. Under the command of Kony, the LRA has used abducted child soldiers for decades to commit crimes against humanity in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan, according to the original Invisible Children documentary released in 2006.

Story: COLIN MOORE, Senior A&E Reporter