Roadies Visit, Kony 2012 Discussed

Invisible Children club members pose with the Roadies during their visit.
Invisible Children club members pose with the Roadies during their visit.

The Invisible Children club hosted a visit from the Roadies on April 2 in Lecture Center (LC) 100 at 7 p.m.

The Roadies are representatives from the Invisible Children organization who travel across the country to hold screenings of relevant films and discuss the group’s mission. A Ugandan representative provided a first-hand account of the Lord’s Resistance Arm (LRA).

Invisible Children is an organization that works to stop the LRA’s violence, and support war affected communities in East and Central Africa. Their movement gained media attention after the short film “Kony 2012” was released online on March 5.

This semester, the New Paltz chapter of the club was optimistic that the viral success of the Kony 2012 movement would raise the event’s attendance, Co-President Jaime Albanese said.

She said she hoped the criticism will get more people to come and ask questions.

“This event is critical for anyone who may be confused about the video or the organization,” Angela Matua, the club’s public relations officer said. “…it allows for people to receive information straight from the source.”

At the event, the film “Kony 2012” was shown and followed by a question and answer period hosted by Roadies Bryan Funk, Kristen Wilson and Gabby Mooney.

Boni Akena, this year’s representative from Northern Uganda, was featured in “Rough Cut,” the first film by Invisible Children
released in 2005.

He spoke about his experiences as a child soldier, and how he and others tried to avoid being abducted by the rebels.

“When you are abducted you end up doing many things,”Akena said. “You kill your parents and friends.”

Akena said Invisible Children’s efforts to convey their message about Joseph Kony and the LRA is really helpful. Just a week ago, Ugandan troops were sent to Central Africa in an attempt to find him.

Funk said that the Roadies have been responding to the controversy surrounding the Kony 2012 movement in a positive way.

“Even though there has been so much spotlight, we wouldn’t want it any other way. It is incredible how Kony has become a household name,” Funk said. “We are happy people are asking questions and digging deeper.”

After the event, Matua said that members of the club were pleased with the evening’s outcome.

“Boni was great,” Matua said. “And it was interesting hearing his experiences as a northern Ugandan affected by the war.”

Invisible Children will hold another event in collaboration with Amnesty International on April 12 in LC 100. During this event, a panel of professors and a member of the Invisible Children club will participate in an open forum so attendees can ask questions about the Kony 2012 movement and the organization.