AMK students divided about efforts to make Joseph Kony famous

AMK students divided about efforts to make Joseph Kony famous

KONY 2012; it’s a movement that’s loved or hated, revered or resented, superb or a scam.
The video, released by the nonprofit organization Invisible Children, has over 87 million views on Youtube and went viral overnight.
The viral sensation tends to get two very opposite reactions, expressed by two students on AMK’s campus: Chelsea Morales, philanthropy coordinator of Delta Phi Epsilon, and Will Stridde, who is majoring in History.
Both students came across the cause via Facebook, which was the main outlet used to spread this video throughout the rest of the world.
“When I originally heard about it, I thought he was running for president because it was called KONY 2012,” said Stridde. “Initially, I thought we should get in there and this guy out.”
“I first saw it when Daniela Troncoso posted in on Facebook,” said Morales. “So I was like ‘okay, let me check this out’. After I saw it, I was glad they were trying to reach out to us to be part of the cause too.”
Daniela Troncoso and Allie DeLeon, both future sorority sisters of Delta Phi Epsilon, made a group on Facebook to promote the “Cover the Night” event on April 20, where Invisible Children asked all viewers to post pictures and posters of Joseph Kony to help raise awareness.
After the video went viral, facts started to surface that seemed to hurt Invisible Children and their call to action.
One question that arose was how Invisible Children asked their viewers to purchase their media kits in order to effectively raise awareness of Kony.
“We’re not buying anything from them,” said Morales. “We’re making our own shirts and our own posters to promote the cause.”
“It just seems like a scam,” said Stridde. “They used the internet to scam everybody.”
It was also discovered that only 31% of the donations given to Invisible Children directly went to Uganda. Aside from that, reports showed Joseph Kony hasn’t been in Uganda for at least five years, fleeing somewhere in the Congo with greatly reduced numbers in his army.
Morales took the more positive outlook on this, staying with the cause, while Stridde no longer found their message relevant.
“There’s two sides to every story of course. The funds aren’t all going to Uganda, but they go to promoting awareness as well,” said Morales. “Kony is not in Uganda right now, but they still want to find him. That’s the main cause.”
“The Ugandans think he’s either been dead for five years, or no longer active,” said Stridde. “This was a bad thing when it was happening, but if the Ugandans say it’s no longer happening, why pay attention?”
A few weeks later, Jason Russell, a leader of the movement and cofounder of Invisible Children, was detained for a public meltdown, in which he was found in the streets of San Diego in just his underwear committing lewd acts as well as yelling at himself.
Stridde thought this really dented the work of Invisible Children, while Morales thought the movement can still go on.
“That sudden fame could make anybody crack, but he’s the leader of this,” said Stridde. “If he was not mentally prepared, then how does everything else work? The credibility is obviously diminished by that.”
“In a way it does (take away from the movement),” said Morales. “He may be the leader of the movement, but there’s still Invisible Children. There can always be a second leader to take his place.”
With this brief history of the movement, the future looks unsure. Morales still plans to participate in the “Cover the Night” event in Kingsville, while Stidde does not foresee the movement going through.
“I don’t see anything really happening. It was a bandwagon thing,” said Stridde. “Even if it does happen, I just don’t see it doing anything.”
Though the two had different outlooks on the movement, it was agreed upon that the Internet is a powerful place where ideas can spread, and a place where movements just like this one can start again.

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