If the hearing words “Kony 2012” doesn’t automatically ignite a spark of recognition, you are probably the last of a dwindling set of people who have not yet encountered this viral campaign taking the world by storm over the past week. Last Monday, our partners at Invisible Children released a video, marking the launch of their year-long effort to make Joseph Kony famous and urge the international community to make sure that 2012 is the year he is stopped. The public awareness side of the campaign has certainly taken off, with everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Kim Kardashian mobilizing on social media to make Kony infamous and help end his more than 20-year insurgency.
However, as is expected when anything spurs such a buzz of attention overnight, a slew of criticism has also been leveled against Kony 2012. Perhaps one of the most common critiques is that the video offers little concrete information about how Kony can actually be stopped. But the video is not meant to be the be-all and end-all for apprehending Kony. The moving and inspiring 29-minute video is meant to serve as a jumping-off point, to raise awareness, generate political will, and recruit new activists eager to take part in future advocacy initiatives.
As partners in the Kony 2012 campaign, Enough and Resolve have developed complementary actions that build off the massive success of the campaign and encourage new activists to go beyond awareness raising to take other meaningful steps. Urging people to translate their online enthusiasm into real world activism is a crucial step in the campaign. To accomplish this, Resolve is helping people set up meetings with their members of Congress to discuss the campaign and what the U.S. government can do to help. While many politicians are already aware of the Kony 2012 campaign, it is vitally important to demonstrate that the American public has a sustained interest in seeing the campaign through to the ultimate goal: stopping the LRA.
Millions of people have already helped Invisible Children accomplish the first part of their goal: make Kony famous. Now comes the second and most vital part: find Kony and bring him to justice. This will only happen if people pressure their elected officials to proactively engage with regional efforts in central Africa, and coordinate with other nations around the world which are similarly committed to the cause. We laid out our joint policy recommendations in this letter to President Obama last week and have compiled our most recent LRA reports, blog posts, and field dispatches in one place for people interested in learning more about the LRA.
The lobbying initiative launched by Resolve is just the first of many upcoming advocacy opportunities coordinated all the organizations working to address this issue over the course of 2012. Join us in taking the next steps in this campaign to capitalize off the inspiring momentum spurred by this video.