This was the most inspiring weekend of my life. And I’m so happy that I got to spend it with some of my best friends. This was MOVE:DC, and it was the best experience.
Invisible Children organized Lobby Day and MOVE: DC to bring attention to the atrocities that Joseph Kony has been committing for the last 26 years in Uganda, and more recently in the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan. We (Jamie, Whitney, Meghan and I) made our way to DC on Friday morning on a bus (that was supposed to leave at 3:15 a.m.) that left at 3:45 am and arrived in DC around 7 am. We rushed to the Convention Center and changed in the bathroom. We were reunited with our amazing East Coast Roadies (Nate, Megan, Keni and Amos)!
Lobby Day was our first event on Friday, and after our training, we had meetings set up for us with our Senators and Representatives. I was fortunate to meet with Robert Casey’s aide in a group, and she was eager and enthusiastic about the bill we are trying to pass (which would give funds to those with information that could lead to the arrest of Kony and other international criminals). She let us know that it is important for us to show our support so she can let Senator Casey know that there is strong support for him to sign this bill. It was a really cool experience.
We were extremely tired and went back to the hotel to take a nap, eat, and sleep again. When we woke up Saturday morning, we got ready and Nicole, Casey and Erika met us at the hotel. Together we went to the Convention Center where we would attend the Global Summit meeting. First we heard from some amazing speakers, including Sean Stephenson. This is where global leaders from LRA affected countries in Africa came, as well as representatives from the United Nations, African Union, European Union, and the International Criminal Court. Also, the United States Assitant Secretary of State was there. There was a regional and international panel, each with opening statements and then a question and answer portion. I had to miss some of it when I got lunch, but from what I understand, all of the leaders are extremely committed to capturing Kony and are eagerly awaiting his arrest. I wish there would’ve been more details of how this is going to be accomplished, but then again, maybe I missed that part.
After a quick lunch break, we received instructions about the march on DC we were about to participate in. Everyone was wearing their red Kony 2012 shirts, and there were anywhere from 10-12,000 people there (over 12,000 registered to attend). In lines, we were led out of the convention center and down Pennsylvania Ave. Due to construction, we were rerouted, but still ended up at the Washington Monument where we heard from more very inspiring speakers. We then filmed some footage for Invisible Children’s next movie (I seriously can’t wait to see the footage!)
After returning to the hotel and grabbing some dinner, we went back to the Convention Center again for the first ever Global Dance Party! There were celebrities (Harry Shum Jr. from Glee and Sophia Bush), amazing dancers, and some outstanding DJ’s (including The Very Best and the Jane Doze). There were glowsticks, lots of fun, and obviously dancing. Even though we were tired, it was an amazing way to end the night.
This weekend made me realize that it is extremely important to be committed to a few movements and focus your time and commitment to those few. Because although you can support other organizations and movements, focusing your attention will guarantee progress because you are personally there to make things happen. One of the most important things I realized was that, when my kids and grandchildren ask me “where were you when the LRA was raping, killing, abducting, and displacing thousands of people in Africa?” I can tell them that I was doing something about it. Although I wanted some kind of immediate result after this weekend (like getting a phone call that Kony had been captured, or that our bill had magically been passed in one day), I know that is unrealistic, and that progress takes time. This weekend was a very important step in that process, and I am so proud to be apart of it. Thank you Invisible Children for making this happen. Our liberty is bound together.
"When history takes attendance, I will say I was there."