By now you’ve probably seen or at least heard about the short film documenting the human right’s abuses under the helm of Joseph Kony. It went viral almost immediately, made the 11p news last night and the morning talk shows this morning, but what does it all really mean?
It’s fascinating to watch the reaction of young people, particularly those engaged in Invisible Children clubs. Their emotion is genuine. Genuinely concerned. Genuinely confused. Genuinely innocent. There are human rights abuses all over the world, but something about this documentary is striking a chord. Is it that everyone is “liking” it on Facebook or that celebrities are tweeting about it? Will this single documentary compel us to act? Act on what? Do we care about the mission and history of the Invisible Children organization, how they spend their money?
Few will dispute the egregious actions of Joseph Kony or the value of the Kony 2012 video, but beyond those two things, what do the masses know? Does it matter? As educators, it does matter. To develop critical thinking skills in young people, to help shape their future leadership, it really does matter. We must challenge our students to do their research, to ask, why do I care? What is the connection between the U.S. deploying troops to Uganda and the documentary? Or, do I really know how my advocacy has in impact? What impact do I want my advocacy to have? And for people donating money, is it being directed where I believe it should directed?
Take this moment of curiosity and act on it, isn’t that what we’d like young people to do?