Kony 2012 activists show Washington — and themselves — that their voices are powerful
This Monday kicked off the second phase of the KONY 2012 campaign, during which activists across the U.S. are emailing, calling, and meeting with their members of Congress, urging them to take action to help arrest Joseph Kony, end LRA violence, and seek lasting peace for affected communities in central Africa. More specifically, they are asking representatives to cosponsor the Kony 2012 Congressional Resolution (H. Res. 583 / S. Res. 402) which was introduced in both the House and the Senate following the release of the Kony 2012 film.
So far, 91 members of Congress — Republicans and Democrats — have officially cosponsored the resolution and several more, as a result of local lobby meetings with activists, have verbally confirmed that they will be cosponsoring as soon as they return to Washington after the April recess.
Our team continues to receive a stream of wonderful stories from young activists across the country — many of whom have never lobbied their representatives until now — who are now filled with excitement about engaging politically to help end LRA violence. These high school and college students are not only making waves in Washington, they are proving to them themselves and their peers that their voices are powerful.
We’ve been humbled and inspired by the young people we get to work with, and we wanted you to share a few of their stories with you.
Josh Stegmeier, a high school junior from Longmont, CO, accidentally signed up with us to lead a Kony 2012 lobby meeting, thinking that he was simply signing up to attend one. Our lovely fellow, Becky, convinced Josh that he would do a great job leading — and that she would help him every step of the way — so he agreed! This week, Josh and 9 others met with Representative Cory Gardner (R-CO4) and despite being a lobby-meeting rookie, Josh did a fantastic job leading the group (no surprise there) and it went off without a hitch. Here were a few of his thoughts after the meeting:
“We were so happy with how it went, it was hard to put into words. Representative Gardner was really appreciative of us meeting with him (as we were of him). I’m really looking forward to seeing what Rep. Gardner will do. I think we’ve got his vote…… If there’s anything Resolve needs help with in the future, feel free to let me know! I had such a fun time; it was truly a memorable experience.”
College student Sarah Scinto and 9 other activists from Wilkes-Barre, PA, met with Representative Tom Marino (R-PA10) this week. Sarah is a veteran with Resolve but several in the group had never lobbied before. In the picture above, the activists are showing Representative Marino a video of testimonies from communities currently affected by LRA violence, made by our friends at Discovery the Journey. According to Sarah, the Representative was deeply moved by what the activists shared and he even committed on the spot to cosponsor the resolution! Here are some more reflections from Sarah:
“Representative Marino was overwhelmingly supportive of the resolution and spoke about his recent trip to parts of Africa. He said that he tries to be a champion for children all across the world, citing his background as a prosecutor, and assured us that he would fight for this issue to remain in the attention of Congress……I was unbelievably surprised by the Congressman’s amazing response. He actually thanked us for working on this issue, while we were sitting in shock at his display of passion towards bringing Kony to justice. I still can’t believe it went so well, and all of my fellow participants were amazed by the experience. We’re ready for whatever comes next!”
College student Rachel Marie Asaro and the Invisible Children East Coast roadie team met with Representative Charlie Dent (R-PA15) today. The group did a fantastic job sharing their personal stories, updating the Congressman on current LRA activity, and urging him to take action by cosponsoring the Kony 2012 resolution. The Congressman enthusiastically agreed at the meeting to become a cosponsor and went on to say that as a member of the House subcommittee that helps decides the U.S. Foreign aid budget, he would do all he could to help ensure funding for life-saving programs in areas currently affected by LRA violence. That is a major victory, folks! Here are some thoughts from Rachel:
“The successful meeting with Representative Charlie Dent was a huge milestone for our journey to bring this conflict to an end and our lobby team couldn’t have been more happy to be a part of it! It was an amazing experience for both myself and the East Coast roadies. To be in the room when Representative Dent confirmed that he would be a cosponsor on the House resolution and work with his subcommittee to help address LRA violence made all our hard work worth it. We are confident, passionate, and persistent. I believe that as long as we continue, we will see an end to this war.
More stories to come — this is only the beginning! Inspired to contact your representatives? Click here for 3 things you can do right now.
Stop at nothing.