More than 250 students took to Burt Kahn court on Monday to receive an emotional education on the latest violence in Central Africa.
Headlining the event was a speech by activist and refugee Akello Brenda.
The 23-year-old Brenda discussed her early life, which began in Northern Uganda, the foremost victim of the rebel army’s atrocities. She recounted the story of her father’s death as they fled from the Lord’s Resistance Army. She eventually withdrew from school due to financial difficulty, after which she sought aid from charitable organizations, eventually finding Invisible Children. Brenda’s speech was followed by a second speaker named Lanyero Benna, who discussed her story, entailing a brief stay in a displaced persons camp, which she recalled the horrendous conditions under which she lived.
The Invisible Children club provided free pizza and soda, and Invisible Children roadies sold merchandise including T-shirts, advocacy journals, bracelets, handmade bags from Uganda, documentary films, pins, magnets and stickers. Eighty-five percent of the proceeds from the merchandise was donated to programs on the ground in Uganda, and 15 percent was donated to Invisible Children programs in the U.S.
“I would say this is pretty stellar turnout,” full-time Invisible Children roadie Angela DiAnge said. “At my university, turnout a fraction of this size would be a rare sight. This displays that students and faculty at Quinnipiac understand the important role they can have by ending this brutal conflict.”
The event kicked off with a 40-minute film on the conflict in Uganda, called “The Rescue.” This documented the efforts of Invisible Children founders Bobby Bailey, Laren Poole, and Jason Russell and their quest to bring about awareness about the use of child soldiers in Uganda by the LRA.
“I think the entire continent of Africa is invisible to many,” David T. Ives, executive director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute and advisor to the QU Invisible Children club, said. “Africa gets little attention and not enough aid, and we don’t intervene enough to stop atrocities such as those which are happening in Uganda.”
Photo credit: Charlotte Greene