The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024

Invisible Children Screens “Kony 2012” video at SMU

Invisible Children Screens Kony 2012 video at SMU
Logo courtesy of Invisible Children

(Logo courtesy of Invisible Children)

An international movement for human rights has knocked on the doors of SMU.

KONY 2012, an initiative started by the non-profit Invisible Children, wants to bring the actions of Joseph Kony to light.

As the leader of Central Africa’s Lord’s Resistance Army, Joseph Kony’s recruiting tactics involve the heavy exploitation of abducted children — boys are forced into the military and girls are turned into sex slaves.

“Where you live shouldn’t determine whether you live,” Jason Russell, Invisible Children’s co-founder, said in his film “KONY 2012.”

The 30-minute production has sparked global interest in Kony. In just a matter of days, the film has received more than 5 million YouTube views.

On Wednesday, the Invisible Children campaign stopped at SMU for an awareness screening of the video.

“I think our generation is really hungry for activists… [The movement] encourages college kids like you and me to go out and do something about it and more interestingly gives us an actual deadline to do it,” Ayen Bior, a junior, said.

Bior was not the only student to react so strongly to the event.

Whether they were unaware of the cause before the screening or not, the line to purchase KONY 2012 T-shirts, bracelets and posters was out the door.

Among those who organized the event was a young African woman who served as a guest speaker from Uganda, a woman who saw her own uncle murdered by the Liberation Army. While sharing her story, she expressed her determination to raise awareness in America.

The northern region of Uganda is safer now then it was years ago, but Joseph Kony and his rebels are still out there and it is just as important now for them to be stopped as it was years ago.

“I think it was great to see how big of a turnout SMU had for the screening. There is a large support group for the Invisible Children at this university” Andrew Byrum, Invisible Children representative, said.

The excitement for the cause upon the conclusion of the awareness screening was prominent as students rushed to the tables to donate money and buy T-shirts.

While skepticism of the movement exists, students seemed convinced the cause was worth the attention.

In April, students are planning to plaster SMU, the Park Cities and other Dallas areas with KONY 2012 posters to increase awareness about an issue rarely discussed in international discourse.

“This is what makes Kony such a critical issue. We are so focused on the here and now that we often forget about important global events that affect hundreds of thousands,” Tyler Douglas Anderson, a political science major, said. “The least we can do is act and let more of the politic know about Joseph Kony and what he represents.”

But, not all students agree with Anderson.

“We have to look at the whole issue. Is Invisible Children the best organization to donate to? Is mass activism really going to solve the problem? I think people should look at all sides of the issue,” Laura Chen, a sophomore, said. 

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