Recently, a YouTube video uploaded by Jason Russell went viral. Elizabethtown College will be participating in Russell’s awareness campaign event, Cover the Night, on April 20.
“KONY 2012” is a short film about international war criminal Joseph Kony and the efforts to arrest him. Kony is currently on the International Criminal Court’s wanted persons list. His charges include murder, sexual slavery, abduction and rape. “Of all the problems that are out there, none is more severe than one that mutilates and takes the lives of little kids,” James Inhoffe, a Republican senator from Oklahoma, said. Many celebrity culture-makers, including Mark Zuckerberg and Taylor Swift and 12 policymakers, including Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, are endorsing the movement.
Cover the Night is an international event. Juniors M.J. Aumen and Derek Shive and sophomore Owen Howson will be hosting Etown’s version. “Our plans are to make fliers and put them around the campus to raise awareness about the KONY 2012 movement,” Shive said. “The fliers and posters will have some background information on Kony and the idea behind the movement. With the outpouring of support we have gotten so far, we hope to have enough to split into small groups and be able to get to as much of the campus as possible.”
Aumen thinks that the event will get students involved. He believes students should practice activism, but he fears that some students may have the attitude that we should only take care of own our problems and that some people are ignorant to the consequences of the issue. “America has the power to do something,” Aumen said. “It is like the comic book quote, ‘With great power there is also great responsibility.’”
Aumen expressed gratitude for the students who are getting involved. He is pleased that students have responded, whether negatively and positively, to the movement. However, he is not happy with everything so far. “I hope 50 million people aren’t jumping the bandwagon,” Aumen said. “I want the people to be active in issues they firmly believe in and not treat Kony like he’s a trend.”
Aumen believes they have to expose Kony’s face differently than the proverb about the boiling frog; if they gradually increase the awareness of Kony, as one would gradually raise the temperature of the water, the public may get desensitized to the issue.
“I hope we get a turnout that is somewhere near what we have got on the [Facebook] event page,” Shive added. “We have a preliminary idea to gather in Founders Lounge or gain access to Thompson Gymnasium as our starting point where we can coordinate our ideas. We’re hoping for a huge gathering to show the support behind this movement.” Howson and Shive originally anticipated a smaller number of students indicating they would attend. “When Owen and I originated this idea, we were talking about being happy with 30-40 people and how we could organize it and go across campus,” Shive said. “Now, with 184 people attending, this goes far and beyond anything I think either of us could imagine.”