Saturday, May 9, 2009
The Rescue Hits St. Louis
(Kristen Bell 'Forgetting Sarah Marshall' along with some IC founders at the LA Rescue Mission.)-Beth Borger
What do Oprah, Billy Boyd (Pippin in Lord of the Rings), and Switchfoot have in common? These celebrities along with nearly one hundred others pledged to support and advocate for Invisible Children’s Rescue effort. All across the world on April 25,nearly 100,000 people peacefully protested the mistreatment of the children in northern Africa. The Rescue was put on by Invisible Children to raise awareness about Joseph Kony and the Lords Resistance Army, a rebel army that has enslaved thousands of children for several years. Many of these children have escaped; however, a majority of the escapees have been mutilated, abused, and hardly resemble the children they were before they were taken from their homes and forced to fight in a dead war.
32 students from Greenville College participated in the Rescue event held in St. Louis, Missouri. Nearly seven hundred students participated in the somber walk from the Edward Jones Dome to the Arch at 3pm on April 25th. After completing the walk, students waited on the steps of the Arch to be “rescued” by both the media and a celebrity. The media showed up within a few hours and several radio stations broadcasted the event. The group continued to wait for a celebrity rescuer.
At 10pm the whole group moved to the “camp” around the Arch and set up their sleeping bags. After midnight, the hope of Taylor Swift showing up after her concert was slowly dwindling, especially considering the gunshots heard from a block down. Sunday afternoon at about 1:30pm St. Louis Rams linebacker Chris Chamberlain came to the rescue of the group and pledged his support.
By this time, there were only nine cities still waiting to be rescued in the United States. Every city in America had a mogul show up with the exception of Chicago, who continued to wait. A constant five hundred people remained for nearly a week in Chicago participating in this protest. Oprah Winfrey finally agreed to put the Invisible Children’s founders live on her May 1st show.
Even though the Rescue event has ended, Invisible Children will not stop raising awareness and urging thousands to protest. Instead, on June 22nd and 23rd thousands across the nation will travel to Washington D.C. to deliver letters and urge senators to find a way to end this war in Uganda. According to the Invisible Children organization, “the program will include lobbying trainings, VIP speakers, a kick-off rally and will culminate in an unprecedented outpouring of activism on Capitol Hill, with hundreds of meetings taking place between Members of Congress and their constituents.”
There are several things that can be done now that the event is over. Invisible Children sells merchandise which goes to benefit the child soldiers and the actual rescue efforts going on. The organization is also doing a TRI pledge. This pledge is asking each student to give up a three dollar cup of coffee at Starbucks in order to help the Invisible Children efforts. The donation is taken off of a credit or debit card each month. You can donate and purchase merchandise at InvisibleChildren.com and attend the lobby days in June at Washington DC. More information can be found at HowItEnds.tv. Please contact Beth Bounds or Jared Pitts if you have any further questions.