Beat Freaks Dance To End A War

On April 21st, The Beat Freaks held a free hip hop workshop “Dance To End A War” to support an organization called Invisible Children (@icTRI).  What is Invisible Children?  This non-profit organization was founded by three southern Californian filmmakers: Jason Russell, Bobby Bailey, and Laren Poole.  In the spring of 2003, they traveled to Africa to find a story  and were “disgusted and inspired” by what they discovered.  From their experiences, they made a documentary called “Invisible Children: Rough Cut” a “film that exposes the tragic realities of northern Uganda’s night commuters and child soldiers.”  According to Invisible Childen’s website:

As a non-profit we work to transform apathy into activism. By documenting the lives of those living in regions of conflict and injustice, we hope to educate and inspire individuals in the Western world to use their unique voice for change. Our media creates an opportunity for people to become part of a grassroots movement that intelligently responds to what’s happening in the world.

All of our programming is a partnership between those of us at Invisible Children and those in the Ugandan community. We focus on long-term goals that enable children to take responsibility for their future and the future of their country. Our programs are carefully researched and developed initiatives that address the need for quality education, mentorships, the redevelopment of schools, resettlement from the camps, and financial stability.

To summarize the facts, the war in northern Uganda is the longest running war in Africa’s history… 23 years.  The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Government of Uganda (GofU) have been waging a war that left millions of innocent citizens displaced from their homes.  In 2001, the US Patriot Act officially declared the LRA a terrorist organization for their attacks on villages, horrific crimes, abduction of children, etc.    It is estimated that the LRA’s troops are 90% comprised of children who were abducted and forced to fight amongst LRA’s ranks.  Please read a more in-depth discussion of the war here, including the origins of the LRA rebel movement, how other countries have responded to the crisis, and the progress of peace talks.

How can you help?  By raising awareness.  On April 25th, 2009, Invisible Children is organizing an event called “The Rescue” (@therescue).  Thousands of participants in 100 cities across 9 nations will “symbolically abduct themselves to free the abducted.”  The goal is to call on media outlets and cultural/political leaders to draw attention to the conflict.  Find out the 5 things you can do to help make The Rescue a success.  One of those includes buying the official Rescue AK47 Tshirt at their online store.  There you can also find the I Heart LRA tee worn by The Beat Freaks in Pacific Rim’s coverage of the “Dance To End A War” workshop.

AK47 tee

AK47 tee

I Heart LRA tee

I Heart LRA tee

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