Students promote Invisible Children, help expose war in Africa

Karen Holcomb

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Abducting children and forcing them to fight as his soldiers, Joseph Kony is a “madman” terrorizing four countries in Africa. When three young filmmakers from Southern California discovered this, Invisible Children was born.

Jason Russell, Laren Poole and Bobby Bailey traveled to Africa in the spring of 2003. They discovered a tragedy that disgusted and inspired them — a tragedy where children are both the weapons and the victims.

When they returned home, they created “Invisible Children: Rough Cut,” a documentary exposing the tragic realities of northern Uganda. In their movie, found on, they state, “Where you live shouldn’t matter whether you live.”

Invisible Children branched out, spreading to Kent State and other universities. Kristin Mulcahy, junior international relations major, is the president of Kent State Invisible Children.

“It’s an amazing movement to be apart of,” Mulcahy said. “Invisible Children has become my family. It sounds so cheesy, but it’s so true. It’s like you all have a common soul.”

Kony is a madman who is against the government in Uganda, Mulcahy said. Wanting to create a rebellion, Kony couldn’t get enough people on his side so he started abducting children from their schools and homes, turning them into soldiers and sex slaves.

To avoid Kony and his rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army, children become night commuters.

“Children go to sleep at bus stations because there is something that prevents the LRA from taking the children there,” Mulcahy said.

Mulcahy said Kony’s army spread from Uganda to Southern Sudan, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and it’s the longest running conflict on the continent.

“Invisible Children really believes in the power of a story,” Mulcahy said. “I went to a conference this summer, and it was all about knowing your story and telling it.”

Kent State Invisible Children meets Wednesdays in Room 319 of the Student Center. At the meetings, the group breaks into three “tracks,” consisting of artists, organizers and activists.

“That’s what’s so great about it,” Mulcahy said. “You can use your own talent to help.”

The artists create merchandise, such as bracelets and paintings, to sell and bring in profits, while the organizers plan fundraisers and events for the year. The activists are all about the storytelling and getting the word out. They’ve made videos and put on photo shoots, trying to find ways to promote Invisible Children.

“Right now we’re fundraising for a radio tower in Congo,” Mulcahy said. “We have a goal of $7,400 because that will build one tower and maintain it.”

Mulcahy said this is important because the people in Congo have no idea what the LRA is doing. Their children are being taken, and they don’t know why. The tower will create a way of communication.

“It acts almost as their 911,” Mulcahy said. “If there is a problem they can report it, and now they have the LRA crisis tracker to track the LRA’s activity.”

Mulcahy said Invisible Children wants to bring awareness to this conflict. There are many programs that help rebuild war torn regions and put up schools.

“The thing I love most is that Invisible Children doesn’t ask for your money,” Mulcahy said. “It asks for you.”

Contact Karen Holcomb at [email protected].