Two young Invisible Children supporters attended the United Nations Security Council’s briefing on the LRA last week. A few days before that, they accompanied our CEO Ben Keesey and assisted him in handing over the 3,729,816 signed pledges. Maya and Marcelo represented the millions of young activists that committed their support to see the end of LRA violence. Suffice to say, you were represented well.
These students are two of our most incredible supporters and among the most dedicated young activists we’ve ever seen.
For Marcelo, attending a social justice-oriented school since the third grade, the idea of international justice began in correlation with his academics. What started as an everyday class project, ended up being so much more. The assignment instructed students to find a non-profit organization: study it, interview staff, find out what they do and how it involves the rest of the world. That’s when Marcelo came across Invisible Children. After endless conversations with various organizations, Marcelo told us that Invisible Children was the first to really show interest in talking to a group of eighth graders on these issues. He credits a former Roadie, Morgan Harbin, who after an informative and helpful conversation, proposed the idea of hosting a screening. A successful screening led to Invisible Children’s “25” event in April 2011. He was able to meet more people who were involved with Invisible Children, including our Director of Idea Development, Jedidiah Jenkins, who Marcelo says had an impact on his decision to apply for an IC-hosted conference called the Fourth Estate in August 2011. When all was said and done, Marcelo said that that summer changed his life.
As adolescents we are often told, “You’re young, you can’t do anything, yes you signed this petition but it’s not going to do anything”. But Invisible Children really challenges that and I think I’ve also challenged that as a result of being a part of Invisible Children.
For Maya, her story played out a little differently. It began at the end of last year when she had the opportunity to spend some time with the Tri-State Roadies while they were in town. By hearing their stories and by listening to them speak about the organization, she was enamored and knew she had to learn more. “I needed something to put my energy and time into, and I finally found something that I cared about that I thought I could help with and that I knew could make a huge difference…I wanted to make a change.”
She told us that the release of the KONY 2012 film gave her opportunities to gather her whole family and tell them about the conflict and encourage her school friends to get involved. She pushed for a screening of the film at her school. She initially faced resistance which just made her more determined to get – and keep – other people involved.
It’s the fact that in this modern age because of new technology, people hear about something and it’s all the rage and in a week it’s gone and people are on to the next big thing. And so that idea hit me and I realized how important it is to keep people involved and interested.
For both supporters, presenting the pledges to Ambassador Rice was a humbling and empowering experience. Marcelo said, “I saw myself as simply one in the 3.7 million, but also as just one individual with the responsibility of representing those committed to ending Africa’s longest running war.”
These young people feel more empowered than ever. The recent series of events have proven that there are no boundaries for those who believe they can change the world. They said, “If the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do, then I guess I’m pretty crazy.”
Here’s to the crazy ones.