For those of you who know me, or who have read my posts, you know how much Invisible Children has meant to me over the past 4 years. My best friend, Kallie, introduced them to me in 2006 - my senior year of high school. Honestly, I knew about them, thought they were a great organization, but I didn’t know how to help. Most of their programs, I felt, were focused towards high school and college students. I however, was not going to college at the time. Over the next 3 years, I heard bits and pieces about Invisible Children, usually through facebook or myspace.
In the spring of 2009, I saw a post online that there was going to be an event and it was going to be fairly close to me - Harrisburg, PA. My friend Amanda and I decided to check it out. When we got there, we were a little hesitant. There were only about 20 people left from the days activity. The goal for the event was to be “rescued” but a social media mogul or political leader - someone who had a voice. We ended up staying there for 3 days, being joined by Laren Poole and IC tour manager, Nate Henn. On the last day, Monday, we heard that there was going to be a meeting with Arlen Specter and a group called ‘Biker’s Against Child Abuse”. When the meeting was over, in short, Laren tracked down Arlen & we were rescued - I WAS HOOKED.
Some of the leaders at the Harrisburg event were talking about another event Invisible Children was holding this summer called Lobby Days. This was a two day event held in June in Washington DC.
After being involved so much and seeing the power that a bunch of KIDS had over policy leaders and the news, I applied for an internship with Invisible Children. I initially applied to be a roadie and boy am I glad that they turned me down for that! I ended up re-applying to be the assistant Office Manager (for those of you “Office” fans, I was also called Assistant to-the Office Manager). I got the job on August 1st and by August 4th, I was in San Diego. My internship, honestly, was rocky. There are always things you are going to regret. I don’t necessarily regret being an Invisible Children intern because it was the most amazing experience of my life, but I regret the way and state-of-being I went into the internship.
The past [almost] three years have been a roller coaster ride with Invisible Children. My good friend Nate, the one who I met in Harrisburg, was killed in a Somali terrorist bombing in Kampala, Uganda while visiting his friend & brother Tony - I am still struggling with the fact that he was taken from us. I can’t help but think of how excited he would be to see everything that has happened over the past 4 days. He would be ecstatic (that is him dancing, below, on the night before the roadies left the office to go all over the USA).
The extreme outpouring of responses have been overwhelming and surreal to me, as well as most of my fellow IC comrades. I’ve had people e-mailing, tweeting, texting & calling me almost apologetic when they say “I finally get it”. It’s a humbling experience to advocate for something so long and finally have your dreams blown out of the water - to have people understand that if you want to start a revolution, you have to have a little crazy in there somewhere.
Finally, I have had a lot of people asking me: “WHY NOW? What makes this movie different? Why has it taken this long for this topic to come to light in such a vast form? How did we not know about this?” When I explain things to people, I really like to use analogies. This is the one I used today - It’s like a battering-ram. You have to hit it against the wall a few times before it breaks through. I feel like the past nine years Invisible Children has been spreading the word and unintentionally setting themselves up for this un-predicted breakthrough.
I am so proud and honored to call myself an Invisible Children alum.
If you haven’t watched the film yet, please do it when you have the time to really sit down and watch it. There is so much information in such a small amount of time. I encourage you to take this information and share it with a handful of people. Also, if you have any questions, please please please feel free to contact me or visit the official Invisible Children response page.
Thank you & much love,
Nate, I have a new job now. I’ve been there for a few months and the other day I was telling my co-worker about you. I started laughing uncontrollably and she stared at me questionably. When she asked me what was so funny, I told her about the time you were trying to drink all of that water and I kept filling up your gallon of water every time you went to the bathroom. I miss you more days than others but I haven’t stopped thinking of you. I miss you teasing me about boys and your comforting text’s after I came home from California. I still guard the candy on my desk in fear of you stealing it all. It’s selfish, I know, but I wish you were here. I wish you were still with us. Some day, when I get to heaven, I know that you will be amongst the few people greeting me, and I look forward to that day. I miss you and I love you. Forever, Kristin
I will not…let me repeat: WILL NOT be babysitting for a very very VERY long time after this.