Tuesday, April 28, 2009
A few weeks ago, I was told about an event that was to take place on the Plaza at the JC Nichols Fountain and would continue to Penn Valley Park to the statue of 'The Scout', as well as cities all over the nation and all over the world. I was told hundreds of people were going to 'abduct themselves' in unity with the children in Africa who are abducted from their homes and families by a tyrant named Joseph Kony and forced to become child soldiers. This story sounds familiar doesn't it? Sounds like something similar we have heard about that part of the world? Atrocities ignored, voices unheard? I was told to go to a website to learn about "THE ABDUCTION" and "RESCUE". I was told to go to the Invisible Children website. I went, I read, I listened, I searched, I was appalled. Who will stand up for these children? For these families? Uganda and the Congo have nothing of value that powerful countries in the world want or need. They are ignored or forgotten
Saturday, April 25th, I had a couple of hours free at the time the 'abduction' was to begin on the Plaza. I went with my camera in hand. I had no idea what I would come across. It's been a long time since the protests, marches, and rallies of my youth. There haven't been many since. Most 30-something or 40-something year olds have never even thought of doing this. So, I thought I would look in on this event.
Everyone who signed up or even showed up last minute signs in, signs a banner, writes a letter to Congress on behalf of the 3000 children still being held by Kony. They 'abduct' themselves. They unify themselves with all those children for just one night. They march two by two holding a rope from JC Nichols Fountain to Penn Valley Park (about 2 miles). They remain there until they are 'rescued' by someone of power or notoriety. So they are noticed.
I got to the fountain a little early and started firing off a few shots. Then the kids started rolling in. KIDS! College kids. High School kids. Junior high kids. Even a few kids with their parents. I.was.amazed. The power of texting, Facebook, and My Space is amazing! I know there has been a growing movement in community service. My nieces are involved and travel during their holidays to places like New Orleans, Galveston, Guadalajara, wherever help is needed. They are high school age. But to see all these kids strolling into the park area with their backpacks and sleeping bags, standing up and giving a voice to children on the other side of the world was something to witness. The kids were excited. Some came in pairs, some in groups. But they came... to unite as one... one voice.
I have included a collage of some of the pictures I took at the beginning of this 'event'. I was keeping an eye on these kids through the invisible children website. The website allowed each 'Abduction Site' to check in when they were able. If you recall, Saturday night was when we had all the tornadic activity. That did not phase these kids. I know they stayed put! I was watching the 'Breaking Weather' and a reporter was talking about the bad weather on its way. Then she pointed to the 'Abduction Site' and said basically that the crowd at Penn Valley Park must not have any idea about the weather, because they looked like they were out having a good time! hmmm...... Well, I did fire off an email immediately. To the reporter's credit, she responded IMMEDIATELY! And she had NO idea this event was happening. She was actually reporting another story when the weather story took over.
So, I'm wondering, who the heck is going to 'Rescue' Kansas City if even the news crews don't know it's happening?? I had no reason to be concerned. There was a rock band in town playing Saturday night by the name of Switchfoot. As soon as they finished their concert, the boys hopped into their transportation and raced to site where all the kids were waiting to be rescued. They pulled out their gear and played for them! Kansas City was rescued! That doesn't mean they go home. If I understand this correctly, everyone stays put until all cities are 'rescued'. It took until well into Sunday before they could go home.
This generation is different. This generation is pro-active. This generation gives me hope.
Update: It is Tuesday night at 9:30 pm. The Rescue began last Saturday evening. There is one city left that has NOT been rescued. Can you believe it is CHICAGO? Chicago? Home of Oprah? That is disheartening... I don't know the number of people, but I hear at least a thousand people in Chicago wait... wait... after four days continue to wait... to be rescued.
As I said before. This generation gives me hope.