On March 5, 2012, Invisible Children Inc. debuted the video “KONY 2012” on YouTube. Within hours, the 30 minute piece, highlighting the iniquities of Joseph Kony, became a viral sensation.
The “KONY 2012” movement hopes to familiarize Ugandan military leader Joseph Kony internationally with hopes of arresting him by the end of 2012.
“I learned about Kony 2012 through Facebook and the intense and emotional video that Jason Russell posted on the Internet through the organization of Invisible Children,” said sophomore Andrew Sohrabi.
Over the course of the past 26 years, Joseph Kony has abducted over 30,000 young children, destroying their villages and forcing them to join his private militia.
The organization “Invisible Children” has been working on raising awareness of the situation in Uganda for the last ten years.
In response to the Kony Movement, Carlmont students Danielle Rosenduft, Eshani Patel, and Luisa Zepeda started a Facebook group to raise awareness.
“Honestly, our only intention for starting the Kony page was to raise awareness and spread the word. We never had a true intention of having so many people follow; we only wanted people to know about it,” stated junior Luisa Zepeda.
Within the first few hours, the Facebook group had attracted over a thousand members and continued to grow as students began inviting others to join the event.
“At first I thought it was interesting seeing people post it on their wall, then as the hours went by, my friends and I couldn’t believe the page had so many followers. It was surreal to see how fast the word was spreading. I couldn’t go to sleep that night because my friends and I would refresh every minute and the number would continue to grow!” added Zepeda.
Some students strongly support the Kony Movement and hope to help spread awareness.
“I care about Kony 2012 because of its general purpose to help improve the lives of Ugandan children who have been kidnapped and forced to act as child soldiers and those who may be kidnapped in the future due to the current situation of their lives,” said Sohrabi.
However, some students find no interest in the Kony Movement.
“It’s not that I don’t care about Kony or the children in Africa, but it could be a total scam. Only a third of the money actually goes to help the people. There’s a good chance that Kony is dead, he’s not in Uganda anymore or he’s not a threat anymore, ” stated sophomore Aaron Goodwin.
“When I first saw the video, I was really touched and wanted to do something. After hearing many rumors about Kony is actually dead and Jason Russell was arrested for nudity in public, I don’t really support the movement anymore,” said sophomore Iris Choi.
Invisible Children Inc. first implemented its Uganda-based program for capturing Joseph Kony and stopping his rogue Lord’s Resistance Army in 2005.
However, the formerly obscure “KONY 2012” campaign skyrocketed in popularity when Jason Russell from Invisible Children Inc. published a film promoting the charity’s “Stop Kony” movement.
By March 19, 2012, the film had over 83 million views on YouTube and 16.6 million on Vimeo.
On April 5, 2012, Invisible Children Inc. launched a sequel to the KONY 2012 video, which was directed to an international audience.
In addition to the video, Invisible Children Inc. offers posters and action kits containing campaign buttons, posters, bracelets and stickers on their online website in attempt to gain wider recognition.
On April 20, 2012, many Carlmont students plan to attend a world-wide event called “Cover the Night”, where members will hang posters around Belmont and Redwood Shores to inform the community of Kony’s actions. Some students are looking forward to movement and hope everyone in the community will join together.
“Like everyone else, I plan to go and put up posters around where I live,” said Zepeda.
However, others have no plans of attending the event.
“I probably won’t help put up the posters, but I will support those students who put the time and effort to try to help the people,” stated Choi.
Despite the thousands of Facebook members who support this movement, some believe that Kony 2012 will lose its popularity after April 20.
“I think that Kony 2012 will lose its popularity around Carlmont and the internet due to the reduction of publicity that it will receive after April 20 which is the main night to spread awareness through posters and signs. People are joining numerous Kony 2012 events on Facebook because they want to be viewed as caring people, which is supposedly determined by clicking ‘going’ on Facebook to these events,” stated Sohrabi.
Although the Kony 2012 movement has received both positive and negative criticism, many hope it will continue to gain popularity and serve as a symbol of peace and change throughout the world.