By now, we all know the story of Joseph Kony. The man, in Uganda leading an army that steals children, forces them to become child soldiers, murderers, rapists and sex slaves. There is a video that has been made by ‘Invisible Children’ with the intention of making Kony Famous so he can be caught by the end of 2012 and brought to justice. The response by the social media world, celebrity world, and specifically the youth world has been huge. Kony has been trending on Twitter, blowing up my facebook and every other method of communication (email, BBM, even in person). Young people and seemingly society as a while, have unified around this cause of atrocities happening in Africa. This phenomenon is reminiscent of the 16,000 charged up young people that were involved in We Day in November 2011. My criticism now, is the same as my criticism then.
Youth Led Revolution
Global activism is important, but we must not overlook the challenges that are happening in our own back yard. For years Aboriginal people in Canada have been the victim of a government and church led systemic genocide. Our children were taken from their homes, our communities shattered, our mother, the earth, exploited for economic gain. The inter-generational effects can be seen in the statistics. We as Aboriginal people make up only 4% of the Canadian Population, and yet Aboriginal people make up 80% of those incarcerated in Federal Justice institutions. The number of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal women and men is on the rise, with 600 unsolved cases and a lack lustre response from our so called Justice System.
Injustice in Our Own Backyard
We Day and #StopKony, to me, are standards that we as a society are setting. We are displaying a unity that has not been seen on such a large widespread scale, at the very least in my 24 years of living. And while I speak critically of the large focus on this Kony character, I am happy and I am proud that young people are leading the way towards a cause that truly can affect the future for children in Uganda. But my question is this:
WHY STOP AT KONY??
We cannot allow this momentum to fall, and we have already displayed what is capable when celebrities, adults, and especially our youth for making this a national issue with celebrities like Rihanna, Oprah and others helping to spread the word. Let us keep going so that, on a global level, we can stop these atrocities against children. Even here in Canada. Shaneen’s Dream (of Attawapiskat) just became one step closer to become real. A delegation of First Nations Children have presented to the United Nations on the atrocities of inequality on Reserves that leads to hopelessness and addiction in our communities. The Crown has taken a small step towards reconciliation with a Crown First Nations Gathering. We as Aboriginal people are caretakers of this earth, not for our own personal gain, but for the benefit of future generations. Even here in the North End, the # of people interested in our Meet Me @ The Bell Tower movement is growing.
It is my hope that this Kony business, and even this We Day business, can not only highlight international causes we can stand behind, but also can highlight the challenges and atrocities that some of us must face every single day of living.
Let’s Keep Going. Together.