What has been going on in the lives of our engaged students?
November 15-18, 2012
It all started when four roadies from Invisible Children (IC) came to campus to share the organization's mission of aiding child soldiers in Central Africa that have been abducted by Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).
Here in the lobby of our very own Champ Auditorium are Westminster student Noah Lennon and Westminster Fellow Hannah Minchow-Proffitt with the roadies: Beks Cassinari, Ian Viera, Godfrey Opiyo, and Lilly Sutherland.
After they showed the film titled MOVE (found here), Godfrey spoke about his experience in Uganda as a child soldier and what he has done with IC to better the situation for other Ugandans like him. Part of their coming to Westminster was to promote the rally called MOVE:DC that was happening the following weekend, November 17 in Washington, DC. IC planned on getting thousands of like-minded individuals together to rally for justice.
Their program moved our students so much that many of them stayed after, asking "Why aren't we going to DC? How can we make this possible? What do we need to do to get there?
So, they made it happen. 12 students raised $1,300 in a week and a half and on Thursday, November 15, we gathered in the parking lot by the Mueller Dining Hall, packed up, and left.
The 12 students (Noah Lennon, Andrew Flanigan, Nathan Fox, Pretty Quarcoopome, Emily Vreeland, Rachael Nolting, Dawa Sherpa, Lorena Gaona Greenwood, Abigail Stokes, Josh Kling) plus Westminster Fellows Paola Protti-Nunez and Hannah Minchow-Proffitt, ready to go.
We drove about 6 hours that night to Louisville, KY to stay at the very generous Beargrass Christian Church, who lent us their floor and showers for a night:
We woke up on Friday morning and drove to University Baptist Church in College Park, MD where we would stay for the next two nights. That night, we circled up for some time to discuss our passions, dreams, hopes for the next day: MOVE:DC Day.
Then came the fun part. We joined thousands of others at the Washington Convention Center in DC, all wearing their red Kony 2012 shirts, all rallying for justice. Before the march began, we had the historic opportunity to hear speakers from the LRA affected areas, international powers, NGOs, and the US government. They spoke about the problem, the solution, and our collective responsibility to change the injustice that has been going on for far too long. We saw Ben Keesey, Jason Russell (see photo below), Jedidiah Jenkins, Okot Jolly, Jacob Achaye, and other Invisible Children heroes. We even ran into our roadies again!
And then, after witnessing a monumental panel on the LRA, we marched on Washington. Photos, please.
That's Miss Jolly and Mr. Jacob.
Some of our team stopped to take a photo with one of the speakers from the morning, Sean Stevenson.
Sean--If you're reading this, please come to Westminster!
We marched in the streets of DC, on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House (we got approved that morning!), ending on the lawn of the Washington Monument. There, we heard more amazing speakers like Gary Haguen of International Justice Mission and Zachary Barrows of Invisible Children. After coordinating the crowd for some epic video-taping, we had a few hours for picture-taking and dinner before the Global Dance Party that would end the night.
With MLK Jr. and the Civil Rights movement being mentioned several times that day, we had to get a picture at the place where Dr. King stood when he delivered the "I Have A Dream" speech on August 28, 1963.
And so began the Global Dance Party. We arrive, and who is there? LXD, Harry Shum, Jr., Illuminate, and many other incredible dancers. They also brought in DJs like The Very Best and Jane Doze.
Every movement should be a march and a dance.
And so, we danced!