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Invisible Children is an amazing organization that many of you may not have heard of until last week when the following video became the fastest spreading viral video in internet history.
What you may not know is that I’m a member of Invisible Children, and I was a volunteer leader of the event they called the Rescue in 2009 which culminated in Chicago outside Harpo studios.
I could go on and on about that week and how awesome it was, but I’ll just summarize the week quickly. The Rescue was an attempt by Invisible Children to raise awareness of the atrocities committed by Joseph Kony against the people of central Africa. 100 cities around the world participated, and each city was provided a list of important people from their respective city that could “rescue” them.
Activists in each city pledged to sleep overnight at their location until they were “rescued”, and once rescued, they would travel to the nearest city that had yet to be rescued until all 100 cities had been rescued. I was a volunteer leader of the Grand Rapids Rescue, and we were one of the first cities rescued thanks to the head of Meijer. After that, it was on to Chicago. Because of Mayor Daley telling the Chicago media to ignore us, Chicago was the very last city rescued. We spent days in Chicago trying to get rescued. We ended up sleeping in church gyms, one night in the park, and pretty much anywhere we could. During the day, we would travel to different parts of Chicago trying to get noticed only to have the police kick us out of place after place. Finally, we decided to focus exclusively on getting Oprah’s attention. We marched around her studio one day, and when that didn’t work, we regrouped and came up with the following attention-grabbing idea.
Once we practiced that routine several times, we went back to Harpo Studios to perform the routine for over an hour in different locations all around the studio. Members of her staff took notice, but no sign of Oprah. People were a bit discouraged as we headed back to the church gym we would spend the night at. Many kids were talking about leaving for various reasons. Many of us had skipped classes, missed work, or had only taken off only a limited amount of time for this event. We couldn’t afford to stick this out much longer. Plus, we found out Oprah was leaving for a vacation directly following her live show the next morning. What happened next was a moment I will always remember.
Invisible Children rarely speaks about God, and I’m sure many members of the organization don’t even realize this, but the leaders of the organization are godly people. In our moment of need, when it seemed we might fail, the leaders of Invisible Children come out in front of all of us to explain how dire the situation is. They say they don’t want to offend anyone, but that this is too important for us not to pray. Then, they led us in a prayer that God would bless our efforts and provide a way for us to be rescued before Oprah left the next morning. Once the prayer was over, still not knowing what would happen, we all just went back to getting ready for bed. About an hour later, the leaders of Invisible Children came back out to provide us with a proposal. They said they knew we were exhausted from the past week, but that they had one last idea that was a long-shot and would stop us from getting the sleep we so desperately needed. Before they even explained what it was, we all roared with applause and enthusiasm so strong it stunned them. The plan was for us to head out around 3:00 AM to make sure we had Harpo Studios completely surrounded before Orpah arrived early in the morning. We hoped she would say something before she went into the building that would acknowledge that she supports our mission. After a few hours of waiting in the cold Chicago night/early morning, she arrived. She went into the building, and we didn’t see her again until 45 minutes before her live show was scheduled to start. She came out and told us she was restructuring her show to give us the first 8 minutes of the broadcast to tell her audience what we wanted to say.
I guess that ended up being a little longer than I intended. I hope you all will forgive me. The whole event still makes me a bit emotional because God has shown himself powerful in the ways He has helped this organization raise awareness of the plight of so many in central Africa. Since then, some critics of President Obama complained when he signed the bill to send 100 members of our military to Uganda to support the Ugandan government in apprehending Joseph Kony, but I had actually written both of my senators letters urging their support of that measure. I applaud that signing as one of President Obama’s few actual accomplishments. Now, we want to finally bring the monster Joseph Kony to justice, and that’s where Gov. Mitt Romney comes in.
A new website the group has set up, kony2012.com, has labeled Mitt as one of the important “policymakers” who will be able to help stop Joseph Kony. Therefore, @MittRomney is getting tweeted all day long by people all over the world asking Mitt to support the cause to stop Joseph Kony. I want to let the supporters of this cause know that they obviously have a friend in me, and that I will continue to advocate for this issue if Mitt is elected President. If we don’t get it done this year, I believe that Joseph Kony will finally be brought to justice and the LRA dismantled if Mitt Romney is elected President of the United States.
UPDATE: Invisible Children releases a sequel to Kony 2012