Supporter Week Blog Posts
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?
Thanks for joining us this week. Together, let’s make these plans and dreams next year’s realities.
We’ve told you many times before that your voice matters and that there are powerful people in Washington listening to what you have to say. It’s the truth. But don’t just take our word for it; we’ve got proof.
Congressman Jim McGovern spoke to students at Auburn High School in Massachusetts a couple of weeks ago. And of all the things he could talk about, he used Resolve’s story as an example of what young people can accomplish when they work hard towards a worthy purpose. He told the story of Resolve’s founding and the successes that our supporters have been a part of ever since.
“Just two years ago,” McGovern said, “there was too much silence in Washington, D.C., but now that’s changed because of the national movement created by Invisible Children, Resolve and a handful of other groups.”
Rep. McGovern first joined our efforts in 2008 after our Director of Advocacy, Paul Ronan, met with one of his senior staffers, Cindy Buhl, a tireless advocate for human rights. Rep. McGovern has since become one of our bravest Congressional Champions on the LRA issue, in large part because he’s seen how important ending this injustice is to young Americans. In his speech he said, “When I, as a congressman, meet young people who are so committed and serious about an issue, I have to say ‘yes.’ I have to say, ‘How can I help you?’”
We’re honored that Rep. McGovern and his team believe in our work, and we’re grateful to have them as allies in Congress. There’s no way we would have gotten as far as we have without them. Case in point: Rep. McGovern was one of the two original House sponsors of the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act. Thanks to leadership like his in Congress and the relentless efforts of hundreds of thousands of activists, that historic legislation passed with flying colors and paved the way for so much of the progress we’ve seen this year.
What would have happened if Paul hadn’t first met with Cindy in Rep. McGovern’s office about the LRA, or if Michael hadn’t scheduled meetings with his colleagues to get a foundation of support in Congress? What if Lisa hadn’t organized the voices of thousands of you, our supporters from across the country, to communicate how important this issue is to all of us? Every component of the Resolve team’s work relies on the other members of the team, and on the dedication of our activists and our champions in Congress.
We’ve made huge strides in advancing US engagement to help stop LRA violence, and the trusting relationships we’ve built with members of Congress and the Administration has played a part in that. As a Resolve Cosponsor your donation of $20/month – just $5/week — enables us to continue partnering with leaders in Washington like Congressman McGovern until our mission is accomplished.
We’ve been saying all week that we want our leaders to see ending LRA violence as worth the investment. And now we’re asking the same of you. Would you consider becoming a Cosponsor today?
It’s true: Michael might be more comfortable in a t-shirt and jeans, but a suit is an essential part of his job. As Resolve’s Executive Director, he uses his self-taught know-how about the inner workings of Washington to make sure that our policy goals and campaigns are relevant, strategic, and effective.
A significant portion of Michael’s work entails direct advocacy. That means he helps deliver the analysis from Paul’s field research in LRA-affected communities, as well as the voices of our supporters across the U.S., to the proper people in Congress and the White House. It’s demanding work that can often go unnoticed because it usually takes place behind the scenes.
If you’ve ever wondered what direct advocacy looks like, today we’re pulling back the curtain to give you an idea.
In this video Michael explains how Resolve responded quickly and strategically within DC in the wake of President Obama’s October-14 announcement that he would be sending 100 advisers to central Africa to support efforts to stop the LRA. As soon as that happened, we needed to make sure that members of Congress had all the facts in front of them and could make informed opinions about the President’s decision, particularly leading up to the first-ever Congressional hearing on the LRA, which would focus on the deployment of these advisers.
Our direct lobbying efforts had a positive impact on the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) hearing and thankfully, there ended up being no major signs of opposition to Obama’s decision. But, now, we need our leaders to do more than simply not oppose action to stop the LRA. We need proactive leadership in Congress on this issue if we are going to see the kind of game-changing action needed to end this crisis. And time is not on our side.
When our Cosponsors commit to donate $20 every month — just $5 each week — Michael is able to personally reach out to Members of Congress and the Administration, cultivating allies in Washington who can stand with us in our efforts to end LRA violence. This is perhaps the crux of our work: Paul’s field research suddenly becomes much more valuable when we can delivered to the right people in leadership, and our grassroots efforts carry more leverage when we can bring the concerns of activists directly before the eyes and ears of policymakers.
Please consider becoming a Cosponsor today and help us continue our direct advocacy efforts. Our goal is to have 75 new Cosponsors by the end of this week. We still need 68 more to reach our goal. Help us get there!
P.S. Speaking of direct advocacy, today at 2pm EST, Michael will be on a panel with Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of State on African Affairs, to discuss US efforts to combat the LRA. This is a huge opportunity to hear directly from senior officials in the Obama Administration about their plans to help end LRA violence and for Michael to represent the concerns, questions, and desires of those committed to see this conflict ended. If you live in DC, RSVP and come watch in person. Everyone else, watch the livestream!
Exciting news from our office: Tomorrow, my teammate Michael will join one of President Obama’s top Africa policy officials to debate U.S. policy toward the LRA crisis. The event will be held at 2pm at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) here in Washington, D.C. and streamed live online.
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.
PS: Here’s the full announcement from USIP:
December 7, 2011, 2:00pm-3:30pm EST
U.S. Institute of Peace
2301 Constitution Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20037 | Directions
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
Ambassador William M. Bellamy
Director, Africa Center for Strategic Studies
Co-founder & Executive Director, Resolve
Ambassador George E. Moose, Welcoming Remarks
Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors, U.S. Institute of Peace
Raymond Gilpin, Moderator
Director, Sustainable Economies, U.S. Institute of Peace
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.
Paul Ronan didn’t spend Independence Day this year the way he normally would. He didn’t have a BBQ with his housemates or watch fireworks over the National Mall. Instead, Paul spent July 4th visiting remote communities in South Sudan – a country that would finally celebrate its own, hard-earned independence just a few days later.
Paul’s trip to South Sudan was part of a 3-month-long research trip through LRA-affected areas of central Africa. Long trips like these – at least once a year – have become the norm for Paul. He needs that kind of uninterrupted time in the region to build trusting relationships with local communities, gather stories and statistics, and make rounds through the four different countries directly impacted by LRA violence. And of course, while he’s there, he makes a point to visit old friends, attend weddings of loved ones, and share meals with host families. These days Paul speaks of central Africa as something of a second home.
In this short audio piece, Paul shares about his friendship with Joseph, a young man from South Sudan who served as Paul’s guide and translator.
Like Joseph, Resolve has found a dear friend in a woman named Sister Giovanna. We’ve talked about her before—a humble and brave Comboni nun who lived first in northern Uganda in the midst of LRA violence and now serves communities in Western Equatoria, South Sudan, where the LRA has been active in recent years. Joseph is a native and Sister Giovanna a foreigner –but both are all too familiar with the LRA’s brutality, having lived in the region for many years. And both are deeply committed to seeing their communities through the crisis. Bravely and boldly, they are doing whatever it takes to see it ended.
Watch this video featuring Sister Giovanna, made by our friends at Discover the Journey (DTJ).
Without Paul’s genuine commitment to building relationships with local communities during his field research, Resolve wouldn’t know these remarkable, unsung heroes the way we do. We’re grateful for Paul’s commitment to spending months away from home, traveling from one village to another when the conditions are all but comfortable, and earning the trust of those directly affected by LRA violence.
But Paul wouldn’t be able to gather stories and build these relationships if it weren’t for Resolve Cosponsors. Traveling to the most remote areas targeted by the LRA is very costly– which is why few, if any, do so. But the fruits of Paul’s trips are invaluable, and our connection to communities on the ground is too valuable to lose.
By talking with those directly affected by this crisis, we can understand what they need from the international community. We use this information to shape our lobbying efforts and to advise policymakers. Resolve is then able to serve as a linchpin between local communities, government leaders, and advocates like you – all of whom are needed to see this conflict ended.
Consider becoming a Resolve Cosponsor today. Your monthly donation of $20 per month – just $5 per week—ensures that Paul can continue to visit and invest in relationships with people like Joseph and Sister Giovanna, so we can bring their wisdom to our leaders in Washington and to advocates like you until this crisis ends once and for all.
Welcome to Resolve’s second Supporter Week! This week is all about what we can accomplish together and new ways that you, our supporters, can participate in our efforts to stop LRA violence once and for all.
Each day this week we’re telling new stories of the progress we’ve made together, the heroes we’ve met along the way, and where we’re headed in the new year. To kick things off, our first story is from our Director of Advocacy, Paul Ronan, as he shares about Joseph, a young man from South Sudan who has become a real friend and inspiration to our team.
Additionally, a central focus of this week will be Resolve Cosponsors – individuals who’ve made a special commitment to our mission with a regular contribution of $20/month – just $5/week . We’re excited to celebrate our Cosponsors and the successes that they’ve made possible, and to invite you to join this small, but vital, community by becoming a Cosponsor yourself.
The progress we’ve made so far has been remarkable, but big challenges await us this spring. We’re going to need to work hard to convince our leaders that game-changing action to end LRA violence is worth the investment – and that the cost of inaction is far too high. Success will require a team effort and we want you to be a part of it.
Our goal is to welcome 75 new Cosponsors into the Resolve family by the end of the week. We invite you to be one of the first and help us reach our goal!
Now, some FAQ:
Q: What is Supporter Week?
A: It is our week to focus on you, our supporters, and share with you what we have been able to accomplish together. It is also a time when we invite you to increase your level of engagement. Namely, by becoming a Cosponsor.
Q: What is a Cosponsor?
A: Our Cosponsors make a recurring donation of $20/month (just $5/week), advancing Resolve’s mission to see an end to LRA violence and justice for affected communities.
Q: How do I sign up?
A: Just click here!
Q: Do I have other options of donating?
A: Yes! You can make a one-time donation here.
Q: What will I get for signing up?
A: Okay, so no one has ever actually asked us that, but we wanted a chance to tell you about the handmade ornaments from our friends at Ember Arts that each of our Cosponsors will receive. It’s our little way of saying thank-you for your commitment and sacrifice.
Q: Where does my money go?
A: As a recurring monthly donor, your financial support funds our field research, in-depth reporting, and strategic campaigns — all of which is aimed toward moving U.S. political leaders to take the kind of action needed to see an end to LRA violence and justice for affected communities. For a more detailed look at the kinds of efforts our money supports, check our Supporter Week blog series. Resolve is a charitable 501(c)(3) non-profit, so all donations are 100% tax deductible and we are committed to keeping administrative costs to under 10%.
We love the folks at Ember Arts. We deeply respect them as individuals and as true peace-builders. That’s why we are thrilled that they are partnering with us for Resolve Supporter Week (Next week! December 5-9!). Every Cosponsor, whether you’ve been supporting Resolve for a while now or whether you decide to become a Cosponsor next week, will receive a beautiful one-of-a-kind ornament from Ember Arts. It’s a joy for us to be able to thank you with a small gift that has been handmade by women in Uganda — many of whom have known the effects of LRA violence first-hand, but have pressed on to pursue their dreams.
Below is a letter from James Pearson, founder of Ember Arts. He describes so poignantly the work that still needs to be done once peace has come to a community like northern Uganda. Everything about their mission is beautiful, even the statement itself: “Every woman has a dream, but in places of conflict and poverty those dreams are often postponed and even forgotten. Ember partners with these women to fan their dreams back into flame”
Take a moment to read James’ letter — we promise it will inspire you. And stay tuned for Supporter Week, which starts this upcoming Monday, December 5. Lastly, if you’re doing some holiday shopping this weekend, you’re gonna wanna go here: http://emberarts.com
Our first-ever Supporter Week was a success. At the end of July we set a goal to recruit 40 Cosponsors who would commit to donating $20 every month to support Resolve’s efforts in to see an end to LRA violence in central Africa. Once again, Resolve’s supporters exceeded our hopes and expectations, and the week yielded a total of 47 new Cosponsors—117% of our goal.
Thank you to each and every one of you that made this commitment–you are part of a small and indispensable community. Because of you, we are better equipped to face the challenges that lie ahead.
Namely, this fall brings the one-year anniversary of the release of President Obama’s strategy to address the LRA crisis, and we are going to need all the momentum and support we can muster to make sure it is implemented—and quickly.
One of the main ways we plan to build that momentum grows out of our on-the-ground field research. On day 2 of Supporter Week we gave you the smallest of looks into the adventures of Paul Ronan, our Director of Advocacy, and the enormous responsibility of Kenneth Transier, his Logistics and Security Coordinator. On day 5 we announced the LRA Crisis Tracker which will be the first program to display up-to-the-moment information about continuing LRA attacks. This will be in large part informed by Paul’s firsthand research.
With information and analysis so current and reliable — paired with your unrelenting voices — who could deny the magnitude of the LRA’s continued threat and the need to end it immediately?
Again, thank you everyone for making our first Supporter Week a successful one!
On average, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) attacks a community in central Africa every 28 hours.
Yet despite that alarming fact, some in Washington believe that the LRA is no longer a serious threat to the people of central Africa and that the crisis doesn’t deserve increased attention. How is it possible that — with an LRA attack occurring almost every day — this perception could persist?
The answer may be simpler than you think. A dangerous disconnect exists between the reality of what communities in central Africa face daily and the information is currently reaching the outside world. Due to lack of roads, telecommunication infrastructure, and coordinated reporting systems in areas being targeted by LRA violence, less than 10% of LRA attacks are ever reported by the media.
That means that 9 times out of 10, the suffering of a community terrorized by the LRA goes unknown by the rest of the world. And as a result, the decisions of our policymakers that affect the safety and security of innocent families are often being made with misinformation about the severity of LRA violence. Someone needs to mend the disconnect, and fast.
That is why Resolve has come together with Invisible Children to develop something that will revolutionize our work: the LRA Crisis Tracker, a web-based map that will provide the most comprehensive, real-time alerts of LRA attacks and movement ever available, making the urgency of this crisis undeniable.
The map, being fed real-time information from Invisible Children’s HF radio network, the United Nations, and contacts on the ground, will be the first effort in the history of the 25-year conflict to document and broadcast to the outside world each and every atrocity the LRA commits against the people of central Africa. It will feature news of attacks that have never been reported, along with video, photos, and testimony from survivors of LRA attacks.
In the coming months, Congress will decide on the national budget and President Obama will decide the priorities of his administration. During this critical window of time, the strategy to end LRA violence that we have all worked so hard to achieve could easily to get buried and forgotten in the competing priorities of Washington. This new tool will help us all make sure that doesn’t happen.
We’ve got our work cut out for us, and we rely on your partnership. Please consider partnering with Resolve as a Cosponsor. Your monthly donation of $20 will not only help us develop and maintain the LRA Crisis Tracker, you will provide us with the reinforcement we need to mobilize activists as effectively as possible this fall.
Like we’ve said all week, it’s time to get personal. Thank you for sticking with us.