“Do more than just watch.”
This is the motto that is near and dear to the members of Invisible Children at the University of Miami.
Founded last year, Invisible Children (IC) is an organization that strives to spread awareness of the atrocities that are taking place in Uganda – specifically, the young children who are being abducted and forced into carrying arms for the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel army that has taken up arms against the Ugandan government, despite the fact that these children have nothing to do with the rebellion or its cause.
“I was first made aware of the situation in Uganda when I read A Long Way Gone, a book about the child soldiers,” said freshman Kaci Dewitt-Rickards, a member of IC. “I try to get involved however I can. We are so far away from the atrocities, but every new person introduced to the situation helps.
This was the specific goal that the IC executive board had in mind at their “Patch Making Party” on Monday.
“Patches are the greatest way to spread awareness,” said senior Andrea Whalen, the vice president of IC. “You can put them on your purse, backpack or shirt. Then, when someone asks you about it, you can talk to them about the patch and IC. In my view, more change will come about when more young people know of the situation, as young people are energetic and ready to act.”
The event played host to roughly 30 eager and excited students who were ready to help in just about any way possible. Volunteers made patches that featured an image of Africa, in white, with a red heart over Uganda to symbolize their cause.
“I saw the video and was moved to act,” senior Brianna Phillips said. “I saw how these children had to journey away from their home just to find a safe place to sleep at night, and then I thought about how lucky I am. I felt I had to do something.”
For an organization that had barely 10 members just a year ago, IC is making great strides in terms of spreading awareness of the situation and getting people involved in their cause.
Their first meeting this year featured over 50 people, and they plan on keeping this trend going in the hope that they can really make a difference this year.
“We started out on the right foot this year, appealing on a grassroots level,” said sophomore Ian Hest, the events coordinator for IC. “We want to build a sense of community and create a desire to want to get involved.”
In an effort to create this desire, the organization has two screenings of documentaries highlighting the atrocities planned for Oct. 20 and 23, along with a couple of other ideas for the semester, including creating a portrait of Africa out of people, with a heart over Uganda, on the University Green.
“It really just takes a small group of people to create awareness about an issue that people did not know about before,” said Janki Amin, the president of IC. “We do what we can to help, and we hope we can make a difference.”