On March 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the Duff Banquet Center of Xavier University’s Cintas Center, the Empowerment Network of Xavier University and the Edward B. Brueggeman Center for Dialogue will present “Invisible Children: The Story of Child Soldiers.” It is free and open to the public.
In 2003, three young American filmmakers in Africa discovered a tragedy that disturbed and inspired them - the 24-year-long war in Uganda employs children as both weapons and victims. More than 66,000 children have been abducted and converted into soldiers. Many others have been abused and violated by the Lord’s Resistance Army, and millions more have been displaced by the violence.
Boni, one such child soldier originally chronicled in their documentary, Invisible Children, will speak of his experiences of war and rehabilitation. He will be joined by staff from Invisible Children, a group which seeks to bring attention to the stories of those affected by the longest running war in Africa.
Invisible Children focuses on long-term development in war-affected regions. Through education and innovative economic opportunities, it partners with affected communities and strives to improve the quality of life for individuals living in conflict and post-conflict regions. IC learned early on it was not only important but essential to heed the wisdom of those who had not only lived in the war, but were surviving it. IC focuses on long-term goals that enable children to take responsibility for their future and the future of their country. The programs are carefully researched and developed initiatives that address the need for quality education, mentorships, the redevelopment of schools, resettlement from the camps, and financial stability.
Xavier's Youth Empowerment Network strives to enlighten the community about many important social justice issues. It is headed by Lauren Head and Aly Kieber-Emmons. “We are bringing Invisible Children to Xavier's campus,” says Kieber-Emmons, “to reveal the story of thousands upon thousands of children who have been abducted, abused, and manipulated into becoming child soldiers. Uganda has endured a war against the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) which is responsible for these abductions.” By raising awareness of this issue, the group hopes to motivate the government to pressure the world, and especially Uganda’s government, to put an end to this atrocity.