Invisible Children holds Displace Me Mizzou
It also hosted a concert, a bake sale and documentary screening.
Apr. 23, 2010
The Invisible Children at Mizzou slept Tuesday night on Carnahan Quadrangle in solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of people in Africa displaced from their homes due to war.
"This is the first ever Displace Me Mizzou that we have had," Invisible Children Co-President Brandon Schatsiek said. "We got the idea last year and have been working on it since. People who usually wouldn't come to an Invisible Children event came because it was out in the open for everyone to see."
Participants who camped out under the stars wrote letters to Invisible Children's representatives and had an Easter egg hunt along with other activities as they raised awareness about Joseph Kony's army and the 23-year war in Uganda.
"It's really great that MU has this organization on campus because the war needs to be stopped and most people don't really know about it," freshman Chelsea Ives said.
Schatsiek said the main idea for the campout came from other Invisible Children organizations that have held similar events. One campout in particular involved more than 20 members in front of Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn's home for 11 days.
Their efforts convinced Coburn to release his hold on the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act 2009, which, if passed, will disarm Kony's army and begin reconstruction in Uganda and its surrounding areas.
"No president of the United States has recognized this 23-year-old war and we want President Obama to acknowledge it," Schatsiek said.
According to the Invisible Children website, the non-profit organization began in 2003 when three young filmmakers traveled to Africa and discovered a tragedy they could not ignore. Its documentary, "Invisible Children: Rough Cut" exposes the war in Uganda and the thousands of child soldiers who are forced to fight for the rebels. It has now been seen by millions of people.
A group of MU students established the Invisible Children chapter in the fall of 2008.
"Its something that I've felt very connected with," founder Becky Dale said. "Ever since I heard about it in 2005, all I've ever wanted to do is tell others about it. The numbers of people that have come out have increased and a lot more people around campus have heard about us."
A documentary and Q-and-A session preceded the campout and four Roadies from Invisible Children and two young Ugandan survivors, Geoffrey Okot and Papito, presented it.
"It shows how lucky we are here in the U.S," freshman Erin Dismeier said. "We are free to have a childhood where as the children in Africa were pushed into adulthood way before their time."
Other activities throughout the day included a bake sale on Lowry Mall, a concert, featuring The Tyler Fillmore Band, Downbeat & The Black Sheep and other local bands.
"There are lots of worthy causes out there but if you step back and look at 13 to 15 year olds killing and raping people, sometimes even family members, this should not be happening," Schatsiek said. "I don't think anyone can say that they do not support an organization to stop this. It's a worthy cause to all and shows that you can't underestimate the power of a small group of people."