Northern Nevadans gather to help Ugandan children
Appeal Staff Writer
A hundred of Northern Nevada’s teens and young professionals will join a nationwide grassroots movement tonight to bring awareness to the plight of Ugandan children.
They will show their support by laying down – under the stars, curled up in sleeping bags.
Although it’s a world away, Americans need to care, said Aaron Loar, 24. He will leave his Carson City home tonight and join a hundred others sleeping on a field at the University of Nevada, Reno campus.
“It’s to bring awareness,” Loar said Friday. “Primarily because Christ said to care, and secondarily because we don’t have these kinds of issues here in America. Compared to them, we’ve got it pretty easy.”
As of Friday, 50,000 people nationwide committed to gather at designated spots in 130 different cities.
The one-night camp out is intended to symbolize a solidarity with northern Ugandan children who walk every night into town to avoid capture and assimilation into a rebel army, according to the El Cajon, Calif.,-based activist group, Invisible Children.
The global night commute was organized entirely over the Internet, compelled by a movie circulated in churches and activist groups.
Fliers advertising the event show an American child morphed into the body of a young Ugandan carrying an automatic weapon. These fliers have circulated at schools across the country.
“Young people are volunteering at a higher rate than ever before,” said Eric Herzik, political science professor at the university, citing a 2005 civic- learning and engagement report. “They’re doing volunteer work and social protesting, and it’s more than what adults do, despite youths being seen as apathetic.”
Invisible Children wants the U.S. government to pressure the Ugandan government to eliminate the rebel army, said Carolyn Sams, a spokeswoman with the organization.
It also wants to start a recovery program for the children who were indoctrinated into the rebel army.
These may be lofty goals for an organization run by people all under 30, who get their support from a generation known for moving onto the next big fad.
“Through film and art, we’re inspiring,” she said. “Though it looks trendy and hip, the art is reaching people on a level that they are comfortable with.”
• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.