I wanted to write about something very dear to my heart.
About two weeks ago, the organization Invisible Children announced that they are shutting down operations from their location in San Diego and instead, will turn things over to the leaders that they have in central Africa in order for those programs to continue. There will still be a small group in Washington D.C. that will work with policymakers there.
It's not the end of Invisible Children and the work that they are doing, but it's the end of everything that I knew. For those of you have been reading for a while or know me know of my involvement with IC, so of course when I heard this, I was really sad. I wasn't upset, because I understand why they're doing it.
The point of much of what IC did in the states was to help spread awareness - the campaigns, the tours/screenings, the events, etc. We can all agree that #KONY2012 was a game changer. It became the most viral video of all time with over 100 million views in just under a week's time. I remember those days. Our victories felt so much bigger and grander than anything that we had accomplished. But in #KONY2012, they accomplished what they had intended to do: to make Joseph Kony known internationally for his war crimes.
It only makes sense then that not much could be done after #KONY2012 in terms of awareness. There really was no need for tours and screenings anymore. People knew, but they were now faced with a decision: do they act upon this knowledge and care enough to do something about it?
People showed that they did care enough, and consequently, U.S. troops were sent to Uganda to track down and find Joseph Kony. (As far as I know, they are still there.)
While I agree with and support their choices, my heart feels so heavy. IC has been a part of my life for such a long time, and so many opportunities came along because of the movement. I came to know people from around the world. I was able to go to two of their Fourth Estate summits. With the club that Brianne and I started, we were able to raise over a thousand dollars in the poor college town of Rexburg for one of their campaigns. I was able to be apart of a meeting with one of our state senators to talk about why these issues mattered. I learned what it means to have empathy and to be a global citizen. I realized that I could be a leader, that I could do terrifying things, and that I could be a catalyst for positive change. IC did that and so much more for millions of people across the world.
The great thing about IC is that they encouraged creativity and advocacy and passion. They gave you the understanding and the resources to make effective changes in whatever community you lived in, no matter where you were or what it was. I will never get to be apart of anything like this again, but there will never be enough thanks in my heart for the time that I was able to be a member of the IC community. It was a beautiful time.