Coming back to the school where it all started, the Invisible Children organization will be hosting an event Thursday to raise awareness about the crisis in Uganda and its effect on children.
USC alumni Jason Russell and Bobby Bailey, along with co-founder Laren Poole, began Invisible Children after they visited Africa as students to create a filmmaking project. After seeing the toll the Lord’s Resistance Army — a militant group terrorizing communities in Uganda — took on the children in the country, the two created the documentary Invisible Children: Rough Cut and sparked the movement that is still going strong today.
“We’re promoting people in the international community to be aware of the atrocities that are going on in Eastern Africa and Northern Uganda,” said Garrett Glick, a Southern California representative and roadie for Invisible Children.
Invisible Children sends 10 tours to visit schools around the country every year. USC is a special stop for the organization because of the group’s roots at the university, Glick said.
“It started as a project from USC and just blossomed into a huge movement,” Glick said. “USC is where Invisible Children was planted.”
This year’s event, called the “Legacy Tour,” will focus on discussing and raising money for children who cannot afford to attend school because of poor economic conditions in Uganda. There will be a movie screening, spoken word artists and a forum.
The forum will attempt to put a face on the tragedy by featuring two speakers who have experienced the situation in Uganda firsthand, Glick said.
Devon Feldmeth, president of Invisible Children at USC, said this is the first time the tour has brought such important presenters to USC. Jolly Okot, the director of Invisible Children’s Ugandan business operation, and Okello Ronald, a former child soldier in Uganda, will speak about their experiences during the forum.
“They’re telling the story of their life to inspire people,” Feldmeth said.
Ronald, who just graduated from high school in Uganda, has been a peace advocate since he was 8 years old and now hopes to bring awareness to the United States. As a child, Ronald escaped abductions from the LRA nearly 10 times, Feldmeth said.
Cameron Ernst, last year’s president of Invisible Children at USC, said the screening and events at USC help raise awareness on a campus where not many students know how to get involved in the organization.
“That was kind of our way to inform USC students,” Ernst said. “They’ll see that there’s a lot more to Invisible Children than they thought.”
The “Legacy Tour” will take place in THH 101 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.