Sometimes Hard Work...Doesn't Work Mon, Apr 03, 2017
You might have heard me talk before about two of the most transformative years of my life that I spent interning and then working for a non-profit in San Diego after college. Invisible Children is an organization working to end Africa's longest-running war. A war now spanning more than 30 years, where Joseph Kony and his rebel army (the Lord's Resistance Army) have been abducting children, breaking up families and terrorizing countries in Central-East Africa in an effort of self-preservation.
Working for Invisible Children started out as a cause that stirred me from my own personal bubble as a 17 year old high schooler, continued as an issue that I couldn't shake from the back of my mind throughout my college years and then became a deeply personal mission after meeting one of my best friends, Tony, through I.C. Tony lived through the war, was nearly abducted on multiple occasions, and, at 28 years old, is the lone survivor of his family, due in large part to the way Kony and the LRA tore apart his home country of Uganda.
Friday afternoon, I received the news that the U.S. decided to end its participation in helping the effected countries hunt for Kony and his LRA. While at I.C., we spent years calling representatives and facilitating local lobby meetings (1085 to be exact) to pass the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act. With 267 bipartisan cosponsors, the bill passed in 2010 and was the most widely supported Africa-related piece of legislation in U.S. history when President Obama signed it into law. A huge accomplishment that is on my short list of things I'm most proud to have been a part of in my 28 years of life.
The moral of the story is that for as sad, frustrated and disappointed as I am now, I'm just as proud of the incredible work that was accomplished by a ragtag grassroots group of teenagers and twenty-somethings. The lives that were saved, the families that were restored and the global community that was built is invaluable to me as something I'm beyond proud to have been a part of. Because of Invisible Children, as of today, LRA killings are down 93% and Kony's army has been reduced to a small group in hiding.
Sometimes you give 110%, you're in it for all the best reasons, you wring yourself dry and it still doesn't work out how it should. But that never means you shouldn't give it everything you've got anyways - always wring yourself dry for something that matters.