Invisible Children urges students to ‘be the change’

 

A group of representatives called “roadies” with the organization Invisible Children urged a small group of students to get involved with putting an end to the war in Northern Uganda on Sunday evening. Invisible Children is an organization founded by three men in their early 20s after seeing the need of thousands of children the war has affected.

Senior business major Cory Heddleson felt that same urge to help those in need when he heard of the organization during his freshman year of high school. Since then he has hosted and organized three screenings of the films made by Invisible Children to raise awareness for the cause.

“It’s important because Christ was a man who helped the downtrodden and abused,” Heddleson said. “Invisible Children is doing what Christ would be doing today.”

Invisible Children roadies along with Godfrey from Northern Uganda show students their merchandise. All profits from sales go to the organization to help end the war. (Photo by Chelsea Weikart)

Last Friday it was announced that the US government is sending 100 Military Advisors to Uganda to help with the fight against the LRA, or Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel group terrorizing Uganda for well over a decade.

The organization is not a religious one, claiming no affiliation religiously. However, Heddleson said that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t good.

“They are still doing God’s work, and despite the fact they don’t claim Christianity as a whole, there are still individuals within the group who do,” he said.

At the screening, one of the speakers was Godfrey, a Northern Ugandan who was affected firsthand by the war. He urged students to speak up and band together so see change.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to this because it’s a crime against humanity,” Godfrey said. “You can be the change you hope to see in the world.”

He also reminded students to not take anything for granted and to keep in mind those children without food, water, clothing or shelter because it’s a reality.

22-year-old Justin Mauldin is one of the roadies originally from Amarillo, Texas. After he graduated early from Oklahoma Christian University, he saw traveling with Invisible Children as a great opportunity to further his career in nonprofits.

“If people could see one thing from the screening I want them to see that they have a voice, even if it’s not with our organization, it can encourage them to know they can make a change and take action,” Mauldin said.

This is Mauldin’s second tour, this one concentrates on the Great Lakes region of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. The Great Lakes roadie team is on week six of 10 of their tour.

Invisible Children is now concentrating on raising money for a radio system that will alert remote villages if the LRA is coming as well as where recent attacks have been.

Invisible Children has evolved over the years as the three men founding it have learned more about the conflict and how exactly westerners can help without giving what they called “handouts” in the video.

After hours of promoting the event Heddleson said he was disappointed at the turnout.

“I wanted people to learn about this and have it affect them like it affected me,” he said. “I wanted it to become viral on campus.”

Although only 20 people came to the event, Mauldin said these are not horribly low numbers, since similar screenings at schools of Malone’s size bring 30 to 50 people.

Chelsea Weikart is managing/news editor for the Aviso AVW.

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