Hannah Cavey, a senior at Waupaca High School, wants to help make Joseph Kony famous.
“We’re not trying to make him a celebrity, but we want it to become known globally and locally what he has been doing,” Cavey said. “He has kidnapped more than 30,000 children from various regions of central Africa and has made them commit rape, murder and genocide.”
Cavey is president of Invisible Children in Waupaca. She and other members of the student organization are working to raise awareness of Kony’s atrocities.
Beginning in 1988, Kony waged a terrorist campaign to install a theocratic government in Uganda. He is head of the Lord’s Resistance Army, which has killed, maimed and raped civilians throughout central Africa for two decades.
Kony is most notorious for ordering his followers to abduct children and force them to become soldiers and sex slaves.
The International Criminal Court declared Kony a war criminal in 2005, and African troops have been searching for Kony since 2008. President Barack Obama sent 100 U.S. troops to assist the search in October 2011.
Earlier this month, Invisible Children in California posted a 30-minute video, “Kony 2012,” on YouTube. The video drew more than 80 million views in two weeks.
Long before the Kony 2012 video went viral, students at Waupaca High School were working to raise awareness and funds to support Invisible Children.
“I became aware of what was happening in Africa when I did a speech on it my freshman year,” Cavey said. “I got involved in Invisible Children my sophomore year.”
Last year, under the leadership of Izzi Mielke, Waupaca’s chapter of invisible Children collected 14,000 books to help raise funds for the international effort. The local chapter raised the third highest number of books of any local group in the United States.
Local members of Invisible Children raised $400 by selling T-shirts at Strawberry Fest and another $250 through other events.
“What we’re doing is important because of what’s going on in Africa,” said Courtney Jungers, a Waupaca member of invisible Children.
“We live in a global community and we have obligations to the global community, not just to our own,” Cavey said. “Where you live should not determine if you live.”