With more than 4,700 people attending the Facebook event titled “Cover The Night - Austin, TX 2012,” government sophomore and Invisible Children member Julia Hudson said she knew that the actual turnout would not reach the online estimate.
The UT chapter of Invisible Children participated in Kony 2012 Cover the Night on Friday. Cover the Night is a major global event created by the non-profit organization as a part of their Kony 2012 campaign. Participants were told to obtain Kony 2012 posters and “cover the night” wherever they live, in order to further spread awareness of the infamous Ugandan warlord, Joseph Kony.
The UT chapter, along with participants from St. Edward’s and local youth groups, arrived at the Hope Foundation’s outdoor gallery at 3 p.m. to put up posters, with many staying until 3 a.m, Cassidy Myers, Invisible Children Street Team Coordinator said. Almost 40 people hung posters around the gallery, and three 13 feet by 35 feet walls were covered with large Kony posters. The outdoor gallery is located near the intersection of 11th Street and Baylor Street. Smaller groups subsequently broke off to cover the night in various places around Austin.
On one wall, an upside down triangle appeared with the message “Our Liberty is bound together” placed in the middle. Hudson said this image represents Invisible Children’s message of the world as a global community. African citizens affected by the Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army do not deserve the suffering and horrors inflicted on them, and this global community has the power to bring the cruel treatment to an end, she said.
“I’m really happy with how Cover the Night turned out,” Myers said. “The level of participation from people who actually care showed me how excited they were to be there.”
During a break, Ugandan advocate Vicki told her story to all attending of how her uncle was killed by the LRA and how her cousin was taken a few years ago, Hudson said. Invisible Children gave her the opportunity to finish college in Uganda as a result of their continued efforts. After she finishes her tour in America with the Invisible Children roadie team, she will return to Uganda to become a teacher, Hudson said.
Myers said people from every country such as Nigeria, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and London sent Invisible Children pictures of them covering the night.
“From the local, individual events to the Kony 2012 global movement, Cover the Night was everything we could have hoped for,” she said.
Hudson commented on the underlying problem facing Cover the Night and Kony 2012.
“Even though people saw the video and truly care about the problem, the existing problem is not knowing how to help and how to get involved,” Hudson said. “One has to have the personal initiative to make a difference and go beyond simply watching the viral video.”
Hudson said she prefers having a few people around who actually care, rather than a huge group who will not put their whole hearts into the campaign.The video went viral so fast, resulting in a lot of criticism and flack from skeptics. Hudson said Facebook events with the title “Uncover the Night” appeared soon after Cover the Night gained notoriety.
Undeclared sophomore Jayme Grander said she did not see any posters around campus this weekend. Grander said she watched the Kony 2012 video soon after it was released online and it seemed like a noble cause, but she heard from numerous sources that Invisible Children is a scam.
“If Invisible Children and Kony 2012 are a genuine non-profit whose main goal is spreading awareness, then that is noble, but people need to do their research before taking Kony 2012’s message so seriously,” she said.
The Kony 2012 campaign’s next step after Cover the Night is to take signatures and pledge cards from the Kony 2012 website to local representatives this June, Myers said. By signing the pledge card, Kony 2012 supporters are showing their representatives this issue is something they care about and needs representing.
The LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, signed by President Barack Obama on May 24, 2010, is one of two resolutions regarding Invisible Children. The second resolution calls for an expansion of the original bill and an increase in the number of military advisors Obama originally sent last October, Myers said.
Myers said more than 100 House and Senate representatives have signed the pledge out of a total 535 members of Congress, so Invisible Children still has some progress to accomplish.