It was a few weeks ago that some classmates and I had to write a paper for school on manifestos and calls to action by graphic designers. Myself specifically focused on topics like, social entrepreneurship, cause marketing, not for profit vs for profit initiatives, design movements, programs and ways designers are “doing good, not just doing good design.”
Although the basis for my research was focused on the design community, what I was writing about went beyond graphic designers. I came across so many amazing stories about ordinary people stepping up and making positive changes to their communities, touching on issues locally, internationally and globally. It was really inspiring.
I guess this is part of the reason I have become so interested in the latest, KONY 2012 campaign and the controversy and criticism that has grown from it. I, like the millions who watched the video were struck with emotion. It was a powerfully made film that for 30 minutes, made me stop, listen and think a little deeper about a really big issue. It grabbed my full attention. And for that reason, in my opinion, it did its job.
Immediately after watching the video, I fell in love with the campaign, like so many of you also did. I shared and praised the video through facebook and to my friends at work and my family. I can say my love has not faded for Invisible Children and the campaign but I also have taken the time to listen to the other sides of the story, the critics and the skeptics.
There seems to be a reoccurring opinion about the video as “over simplifying” the problem and instead of encouraging education on the topic, encouraging blind, uneducated followers. But hasn’t Invisible Children made it clear through putting the effort into speaking to kids in public high schools, providing transparency and further information about the issue on their website and showing us previous footage of their first hand experiences in Uganda, that they are trying to educate us on the problem they are fighting so hard for? I’m not saying there aren’t “blind followers” and “band wagoners” out there, I think thats inevitable, but it’s just unfortunate that these negatives are starting to over shadow the positives. Or at least I ‘m seeing that they are. How else does one effectively bring forth a largely complicated issue to an audience of millions of people without making it some what comprehendible and relatable for them?
So why should I be embarrassed about buying a KONY 2012 action kit? Why does that make me stupid and naive. If the only ways I can help at this moment in my life are to donate some money and write this blog post than does that make me a “bang wagoner”?. Because in my heart, the the KONY campaign is legit and the founders of Invisible Children are completely genuine. Why would they have spent so many years of their life fighting this battle if they weren’t?
If there are so many people believing that this campaign is a waste of time, is not educating, is not effective and will never work, than I would like one of those people to show us what will. And not just tell us vaguely, but take action and show us. There are far too few people in this world that have the courage and belief in something enough to do that. So for these three guys who do, and for there to be such doubt and hopelessness surrounding them is sad. For me the campaign reflects a truly honest, passionate and genuine effort from 3 very brave people looking to solve a huge problem.
KONY 2012 isn’t a selfish campaign. It is not ignorant to the fact that there are other world issues out there of similar scale, that there are others suffering because of similar criminals and that there are things that need to be done to address issues in our own communities. This campaign is simply a result of hardwork, dedication and true belief in a cause. And that is what I support.
This was one of the first videos I saw about Invisible Children and “Anonymous Extraordinaries”. A great example of the kind of people Invisible Children have on their side. Young, energetic and passionate ones who ARE educated. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrhyA_XAsro