Last October, President Obama announced his decision to deploy 100 U.S. military advisers to help governments in central Africa bring LRA leader Joseph Kony to justice and protect communities targeted by LRA violence. It was the most significant step ever taken by our leaders to help end this crisis and a testament to the enormous progress we’ve made together in the past few years.
But LRA attacks and abductions continue to terrorize communities across central Africa. That’s why we’re aiming to make 2012 our biggest year yet. And you can help us kick it off right by taking one minute to make sure the White House knows you’re committed to see this through.
Following the President’s State of the Union address from earlier this week, his top advisers are now responding to your questions via Twitter. We want the President’s team to be flooded with hundreds of tweets about the LRA — and that means we need your help.
Take a moment to send in a question (or five!) about the LRA and make sure to include #WHChat. Here’s an example (and feel free to plagiarize):
#WHChat Thanks to the President for sending advisers to help stop #LRA attacks. What’s the plan in 2012 to ensure success? @WeAreResolved
A top adviser to President Obama will be answering questions about foreign policy on the @WHLive Twitter account tomorrow – Friday – at 11am ET/ 8am PT if you want to see how he responds. We’ll be sure to also post any results on our blog.
We believe it’s possible for 2012 to be the year that Joseph Kony is brought to justice and LRA atrocities are finally ended, and we have lots in stow to help make that happen. We’ve got a great chance now start things off right, so that next year’s State of the Union address can reference the end of LRA violence as a signature achievement.
Last September, we partnered with Invisible Children to create and launch the LRA Crisis Tracker. Since then, we have been so encouraged by the positive feedback the tool has been receiving. Just to name a couple of examples — in November, our LRA Crisis Tracker team was invited to present at the International Conference of Crisis Mappers in Geneva, then in December, the Crisis Tracker won Best in Show at the Creative Media Awards.
More recently, we were notified that the Crisis Tracker has been accepted for consideration by TED’s Ads Worth Spreading challenge, which is in it’s second year and seeks to encourage creativity and innovation in advertising. While the winners are not chose solely on votes, it is a key component — which means you can help by watching this video, voting, and spreading the word. The more votes the Crisis Tracker gets, there greater the chances that it will win the challenge — so please take a minute to vote!
Regardless of the results, we’re hopeful that this competition brings the LRA Crisis Tracker — and the conflict as a whole — more needed attention.
In just a couple of days, our Resolve team will close up shop and head to our respective homes and families for the holidays. But as we eagerly anticipate the celebration and rest to come, we’re mindful that the comfort and privilege we get to enjoy is not the norm for most.
For many families in central Africa, this time of year is filled with sorrow, as it marks the anniversary of two of the LRA’s most brutal attacks – now known as the Christmas Massacres. And with the LRA still at large, the holiday season serves as a fearful and almost paralyzing reminder that similar attacks could happen again.
In light of this sobering reality, last week Resolve launched our second nation-wide vigil, One Voice: Resolved to Remember – an invitation to advocates all over the world to join us, from wherever they are, between December 14th and 25th as we pause to remember those lost to LRA violence and pray for the loved ones they left behind.
To usher in the two-week vigil, our team gathered with a handful of friends and fellow advocates in front of the White House last week. Each of us picked the name of one person to honor from a list of those killed or abducted in Christmas Massacres and we collectively offered a prayer of peace, comfort, and justice for those caught in the middle of this crisis.
It was a powerful time of reflection for our team and we were deeply encouraged by the opportunity to come together with fellow advocates and honor lives lost to the LRA crisis – lives that the world so easily overlooks.
As you celebrate the holidays this week and next, we encourage you to participate in One Voice: Resolved to Remember – individually or with others — in whatever way is most meaningful to you. Let it be an act of resistance against the injustice of being allowed to forget these epic tragedies and against our world’s tendency to treat some as if their lives matter more than others.
Peace to you and yours. And Happy Holidays from the Resolve team.
This past year, we worked together as never before to bend the ears of our leaders and turn our country’s attention to the task of ending the violence being perpetrated by the Lord’s Resistance Army. With one voice, thousands of us lobbied, wrote, shared, and gave of ourselves on behalf of peace.
But today, as our year draws to an end – amidst all the final exams and holiday shopping – we invite you to simply stop for a moment, and to remember.
From December 14th – 24th, the Resolve team will unite with supporters across the country for our second One Voice: Resolved to Remember nationwide vigil. We commemorate those who have lost their lives in this violent conflict, particularly during the LRA’s Christmas Massacres.
On December 24th, 2008 and December 14, 2009, the LRA launched two of the most brutal attacks in its history, targeting remote Congolese communities left vulnerable as they celebrated Christmas. Joseph Kony and his top LRA commanders ordered their soldiers to seek out churches conducting Christmas services, trapping worshipers inside. They killed and abducted hundreds, including many children.
As we continue to work hard to ensure that atrocities like these never happen again, we also believe it’s importance to stop and remember — to honor and uphold the memories of each life lost in these attacks as a simple act of resistance against our world’s tendency to forget. And we celebrate all those in central Africa and around the world who continue to struggle for peace.
On December 14, you can join our team across from the White House in Washington, D.C. at 7:30pm, or hold your own vigil — from right where you are — at any point between December 14 and 24. (Check out the video above of vigils held across the country last year.)
Whether in DC or around your family’s kitchen table, we hope you’ll join us at some point to stop and remember.
P.S. For more information about the D.C. vigil tomorrow night, email email@example.com
We’ve been focusing all week (Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs) on what we’ve accomplished together this fall and the important role that Resolve has played in these exciting developments. And we’ve been talking vaguely about this “future” where we’ll be pressuring our leaders to follow through on their promises and calling on our supporters to demonstrate that justice is worth the investment.
Today, we want to give you a glimpse into what’s coming this spring. Unfortunately, we can’t tell you the details of the main attraction yet, but we can tell you that we’re working with some of our favorite partners — and that it is going to be h-u-g-e. Huge.
But let’s move on to what we’re actually allowed to talk about.
First off, this spring the LRA Crisis Tracker will be getting a pretty sweet upgrade. In Phase 2, our capable crisis-mapping team will work with Invisible Children to communicate timely information on LRA activity —but this time we’re exploring how we can make it work in both directions. In addition to gathering information from communities on the ground, we want the Crisis Tracker to be a tool for getting information back into the hands of those most in danger of LRA attack — keeping them up to date on the LRA’s most recent movements. The goal is to prevent violence, not just respond to it. This has always been part of the plan for the Crisis Tracker, but with the help of our Cosponsors, we could have the capability to make it a reality this spring.
Secondly, we’re putting the pedal to the metal to get funding for President Obama’s LRA strategy. We’re in the final stages of hopefully securing $2 million in next year’s national budget that would go toward civilian protection efforts (radio towers, early warning networks, etc) and the rescue and rehabilitation of LRA child soldiers. We’ll be honest. Despite the dire need for these programs — and the relatively small amount we’ve been pushing for — getting this $2 million has been a real challenge. But next year, we are aiming to secure an additional $10 million for these same life-saving programs that are desperately needed on the ground. Ambitious? Yes. But we know it is worth all the time and effort that we’ll need to invest in achieving it. Like we’ve said over and over again this week, inaction carries a much higher cost.
We have big dreams for the spring. Now you know two of them — and you have our word that the one we can’t talk about yet will knock your socks off.
To get all this done, we need to expand our team of Cosponsors. Will you help us do that? Your donation of $20/month – just $5/week – gives us the ability to make big dreams come to fruition and ultimately see an end to LRA violence. We still hope to have 75 new Cosponsors by the end of the week. We are 59 Cosponsors away from that goal. Help us out?
The forum provides an incredible opportunity for Resolve to discuss the President’s decision to send 100 U.S. military advisers to the region, and to outline what our leaders should do next to help end LRA atrocities and advance lasting peace for communities in the region.
USIP has invited our advocates to tweet in their questions to the panelists. If you have a question you’d like to submit to tomorrow’s panelists, tweet your question @USIP and make sure to include the tag #USIPCA before the event starts. Click here to see the details and RSVP to attend in person. If you can’t make it to the event in person, watch the webcast live, right here:
And of course — it being Supporter Week and all — we have to thank our generous Cosponsors for their continued support, without which we couldn’t be doing this.
The United States is actively working with partners in Central Africa to end the horrific atrocities and senseless violence of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Consistent with the bipartisan legislation passed by Congress in 2010, the U.S. is pursuing a strategy that seeks to incorporate the lessons of history and take a comprehensive, multifaceted approach. With U.S. support, regional governments have made significant gains in combating the LRA over recent years. Ultimate success, however, will depend on a number of critical factors.
Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson will describe ongoing U.S. efforts to support regional partners in mitigating and eliminating the threat posed by the LRA, including the recent decision to deploy U.S. military advisers to work with regional militaries. He will also discuss new opportunities and continuing challenges for this regional effort.
This event will feature the following speakers:
Johnnie Carson, Featured Speaker
Assistant Secretary of State, U.S. Bureau for African Affairs
In preparing for Supporter Week, I’ve become increasingly convinced of 2 things.
First: advocates who change the world must be storytellers. Stories connect us to worlds thousands of miles away — and to each other. They help mend the disconnect between what is, what should be, and the part we play in getting from the former to the latter. As Americans, with representatives in Washington, we have access to power that communities targeted by LRA violence don’t. When we choose to share our stories — the stories of our lives intersecting with those caught in the middle of the LRA crisis and our commitment to seek justice for them — we provide those communities with access to power that they wouldn’t have otherwise. Ultimately, the question is not whether our stories are powerful — they are. The question is whether we will choose to share them.
Second: I have the best job ever. As Director of Field Outreach for Resolve, I get to meet and work closely with some of the most dedicated and sacrificial people you can imagine. I’m constantly humbled by their willingness to work together with Resolve — even on the turn of a dime, as urgent needs arise. While it’s my full-time job to advocate for an end to LRA violence, these individuals are students, working professionals, parents — people with plates that are already beyond full. Still, they each recognize the power of their story and they continue to make sharing it with their leaders in Washington a priority until this conflict is finally over.
In the audio piece below, you get to meet a remarkable couple, Keith and Erin Sampson, who’ve learned pretty quickly the power of sharing their story. I’m excited for you to get to know them. The ripple effects of their commitment have traveled beyond their Midwest community, all the way to Washington DC — and they’re not finished.
A huge part of my job is to create opportunities and provide support for people like the Sampsons to tell their story in ways that can have the biggest impact in Washington and can move our leaders to take action that can help end LRA violence. In Keith and Erin’s case, Resolve helped them tell their story at just the right time, to just the right people, which could help secure $2 million in next year’s national budget for life-saving efforts in LRA-affected communities. And we’re continuing to mobilize others across the country to do the same, in order to send a clear and undeniable message to our policymakers that ending LRA violence is worth the investment and that the cost of inaction is far too high.
Over the years, we’ve seen proof that Resolve’s advocacy campaigns can have a powerful impact in Washington and, ultimately, for families targeted by LRA violence. But making those campaigns happen — and happen well — involves practical needs that depend on your support. Would you consider becoming a Resolve Cosponsor today?Your recurring donation of $20/month — just $5/week — enables us to plan and mobilize strategic campaigns that can move our leaders to take decisive action to help end LRA violence once and for all.
P.S. Click here to learn more about what Keith and Erin are doing to help end LRA violence.
Dearest Co-sponsors, will you please stand up? We want to take this day to thank you for your monthly contributions to Resolve’s work. We’ve come through a lot this year—and especially this fall—and we literally could not have done it without you. Our work is built on the foundation of your monthly sacrifice. Thank you.
Thank you, also, to everyone who supports Resolve and uses their voices to speak up on behalf of the people in central Africa. Without your voices across the country, we’d be just a handful people in a DC office — with a lot to say, but very little power to be heard.
Thank you to President Obama and his administration for sending advisers to the help stop the LRA. You heard our requests and the requests of the LRA-affected communities in central Africa, and you acted on them.
November 24th marks one year since President Obama released his comprehensive strategy on the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). And later this week, we expect to receive an official report from the Obama Administration on what it has done during that time, as was required by last year’s LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act. Together with our friends at Enough and Invisible Children, we’ve released another report card to share our own evaluation of the President’s efforts to implement his historic LRA strategy to date, the third and final issue of the year.
As the report card shows, President Obama took a huge step forward when he deployed 100 advisers to assist regional governments in their attempts to apprehend senior LRA commanders and protect civilians. He went from a “D” to an “A-.” As the “homework” section of the report card points out, now we would like to see the President “work with his senior officials to improve collaboration between the Ugandan and Congolese governments on counter-LRA efforts; this includes ensuring the appointment of a capable Special Adviser for the Great Lakes region who reports directly to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.” Without the proper follow-through, the deployment of these advisers won’t be successful in helping achieve an end to immediate LRA violence.
There are several other issues that also demand President Obama’s engagement, such as expanding civilian early warning systems and encouraging members of the LRA to escape and return home. Mobile phone and radio networks are crucial to such efforts, and funding the expansion of these networks should be more of a priority for the U.S.
Below are President Obama’s grades in a nutshell, but take a look at the full Report Card to get the complete rundown on what the President has been doing and what he needs to do next. (You can also check out report cards #1 and #2 to get the full picture since November of last year.)
Element of Implementation
President Obama’s Grade
Expanded US involvement to end the crisis
Protection of Civilians
Stop senior LRA commanders
Facilitate escape from the LRA
Help affected communities survive and rebuild
The Grading for President Obama’s LRA Strategy & Implementation:
A = Significant progress B = Encouraging progress C = Little or inadequate progress
D = Efforts at a standstill F = Efforts backsliding
I’m convinced. You activists are darn good at what you do.
Last May, you got a bill passed – something that only happens to 3 % of bills introduced to Congress. Then, exactly one year ago, you got a Presidential strategy — the first-ever U.S. strategy aimed at permanently ending LRA violence. No big deal. And most recently, 100 U.S. advisers are on their way to central Africa with orders from the President to help strengthen efforts to stop the LRA and protect civilians. Needless to say, the past year and a half have provided ample evidence that your voices can make waves in Washington and move our leaders to help end this crisis.
All of this progress is definitely worth celebrating. But we have to party quickly and move on (think flashmob), because there’s lots of urgent work to do in order to see the game-changing action on the ground that’s needed to protect civilians from LRA violence and bring Joseph Kony to justice.
So naturally, we’re coming to you – because we have big things to accomplish and as we’ve already established, that seems to be your specialty.
From now until December 31st, we need you to go to town — calling and writing your representatives — to ensure that they continue to stand by their commitment to see an end to LRA violence.
What do we want from them specifically? Well, among other things, money. (Yup, I went there.) Bottom line: for the President to realistically translate his LRA strategy into life-saving action, Congress must provide funding for it in the national budget. Now, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that in today’s climate, Congress won’t choose to do that on it’s own. In fact, we’re already seeing evidence of resistance from some members of Congress who don’t see ending LRA violence as a worthy priority. Getting the LRA strategy funded is going to take a strong, concerted effort from all of us.
By thanking your members of Congress for passing the LRA bill last year and telling them how committed you are to seeing this crisis ended (and getting your friends and family to do the same – wink, wink) you send a loud and clear message to our leaders that ending LRA violence is worth the investment – and that inaction has a higher cost.
So here’s your assignment — and seriously, go crazy with it:
Politicians are people, too (yes, it’s true). And who doesn’t love getting a hand-written letter? Sure, writing a letter may take a few more minutes (and motor skills) than a phone call, but it’s actually one of the most effective ways to influence our policymakers. If you’re connected to a network, organize a letter-writing party. More letters means your message to Congress is louder and stronger. (Pssst! Teachers, this is a great writing assignment!) Click here for simple instructions and to download letterhead you can use.
3. JOIN A RAPID RESPONSE NETWORK OF RESOLVE ADVOCATES.
This fall and spring, as Resolve works to put pressure on the President to implement his LRA strategy and on Congress to support it, there will be crucial times when we need to mobilize advocates in certain states and cities. We’re going to need people who we can count on to take action – and fast. These targeted “advocate blitzes” could literally secure millions of dollars in life-saving efforts for LRA-affected communities. If you’re ready and willing to be a part of this “rapid response network,” shoot me an email. I want to know who you are and what you’re about. Email me at Lisa@theresolve.org with the following information:
1. Name (First and Last)
2. Phone number
3. Street Address, City, State, Zip (so I know your Congressional district)
4. Any experience you may have advocating on the LRA issue
5. Your networks – school club, faith community, class, etc
6. Any other fun tidbits you want me to know about you.
Alright, people, that’s all I got. Ready. Set. Go crazy.
Listen up, advocates! In true Resolve fashion, we have an urgent request for you to mobilize your friends and family and call your Senator TODAY – especially if you’re from one of ten key states listed below.
This should only take 5 minutes of your time – but it’s incredibly important. I’m talking $2-millions-dollars-for-LRA-affected-communities important. That’s right, $2 million dollars. Do I have your attention now? Good. Here’s the deal:
Resolve just got word that in the next few days, the Senate will be reviewing and voting on the US foreign aid budget. Why is this significant? Well, the foreign aid budget is where much of the funding for President Obama’s LRA strategy would come from.
Because of a lot of hard work this year from dedicated Resolve advocates and champions in Congress, we convinced leaders in the Senate to include $2 millions dollars for the President’s LRA strategy in an initial draft of the foreign aid budget. This $2 million would specifically support the rescue and rehabilitation of LRA child soldiers and the construction of radio and cell phone networks so that communities can warn each other of possible LRA attacks — two crucial efforts that can help save lives and get LRA-affected children and families on the road to recovery.
Getting that $2 million dollars in the draft of the foreign aid budget was a major victory. But now, we have a new and urgent challenge.
When the Senate reviews and votes on the foreign aid budget in the next few days, there’s a chance that our $2 million for LRA-affected communities could get cut out by Senators looking to reduce US foreign aid spending. To make sure that doesn’t happen, we need to move fast and voice our support for keeping it in the budget.
That’s why we’re reaching out to you now and asking you to call your Senator TODAY.
There’s a call script below to help you know what to say. And remember: it’s your Senator’s job to listen to you, so be confident!
They say that time is money — and in this particular case, 5 minutes of your time could mean $2 million dollars for life-saving programs in LRA-affected communities. So let’s get moving!
Make. Those. Calls.
P.S. Here’s where things get a little more strategic. There are 10 Senators in particular who we believe could step up as champions and allies in Congress and protect that $2 million from being cut — but only if they hear from their constituents (that means you!).
Take a look at the list below of 10 key states and senators. If you’re from one of these states, will you call your Senator today and rally your friends and family to call as well? Our goal is to get just 20 calls to these Senators today. Would you help us do that? Thanks!
10 Key States and Senators
IN – Sen. Dan Coats – (202) 224-5623
IL – Sen. Mark Kirk – (202) 224-2854
SC – Sen. Lindsey Graham – (202) 224-5972
NE – Sen. Ben Nelson – (202) 224-6551
FL – Sen. Marco Rubio – 202) 224-3041
GA – Sen. Johnny Isakson – (202) 224-3643
TN – Sen. Bob Corker – (202) 224-3344
ME – Sen. Susan Collins – (202) 224-2523
MO – Sen. Roy Blunt – (202) 224-5721
KS – Sen. Jerry Moran – (202) 224-6521
Hi, my name is ____________,
I’m a constituent of Senator _______, and I’m calling to urge the Senator to vote against any proposal to cut the foreign aid budget when the bill comes up for a vote in the Senate next week.
Specifically, I am asking the Senator to make sure that money is not cut from the $2 million currently in the foreign aid bill that would help stop Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) violence in central Africa. That money will support the rescue and rehabilitation of LRA child soldiers and the protection of people who are being attacked by the LRA.
This money is part of the implementation of a bill called the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act that passed unanimously in Congress last May, with 77 Republican cosponsors in the Senate and House.