After three months of nearly non-stop action, the Congo Challenge, organized and led by Enough’s RAISE Hope for Congo campaign, officially comes to an end today. Since the activism blitz kicked off earlier this spring, thousands of people learned for the first time about the atrocities committed against women in Congo, and seasoned activists sharpened their resolve to help bring an end the world’s deadliest war.
Some of the highlights of the Congo Challenge included:
- The RAISE Hope speakers’ tour visited 10 university campuses from New York to Oregon to raise awareness about violence in Congo, where the weapon of choice – brutal sexual violence – is tearing away at society.
- We started drawing the links between the violence in eastern Congo, the mineral mines that are controlled by some of the most egregious rebel groups in the region, and electronics devices like cell phones that we all depend on. Disturbed to learn that their cell phones could be contributing to this deadly war, people sent 55,000 emails to the 21 largest electronic companies, urging them to ensure that their supply chains for these essential minerals are ‘conflict-free’.
- A three-part series of Activist Calls featured headliners such as actress and activist Emmanuelle Chriqui, Run for Congo Founder Lisa Shannon, U.S. Committee on Conscience Director Michael Abramowitz, and New York Times East Africa Bureau Chief Jeffrey Gettleman, as well as a numerous members of the Enough team. The calls provided for pointers for activists to Raise Awareness, Raise Your Voice, and Raise the Profile of the conflict in Congo.
- Enough co-Founder John Prendergast testified in the U.S. Senate alongside other prominent Congo activists on rape as a weapon of war. Moved by what they heard, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Russ Feingold (D-WI), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with a detailed list of recommendations for strengthening the United States’ and the international community’s response to this war crime.
It’s been a successful three months of activism, and the momentum from the Congo Challenge continues to build. We’re collecting an impressive assortment of homemade videos for the COME CLEAN 4 CONGO video contest from activists who are finding creative ways to show the links between their cell phones and sexual violence in eastern Congo. Two of the videos we used to launch this YouTube contest have received tens of thousands of views, and made Enough the most-watched non-profit on YouTube last week. If you haven’t seen our call-out video or the celebrities speak out video, be sure to check them out. And start working on your own COME CLEAN 4 CONGO video submission. (In addition to raising awareness, you could win a trip to L.A.)
To get involved with the ongoing advocacy of the RAISE Hope for Congo campaign, subscribe to the campaign’s bi-weekly newsletter and join in the daily conversation on Twitter by using the hashtags #enuf and #conmins.