St. Louis (KMOV.com) -- On the day of April 25, 2009 hundreds of people came to St. Louis for one purpose, to abduct themselves. They did so to bring attention to the plight of abducted child soldiers in Uganda. This is all a part to end the longest running war in Africa, 23 years, between the Lord's Resistance Army and the Ugandan government. The LRA abducts child soldiers and forces them to fight for the rebel cause of overthrowing the Ugandan government.
The event, called The Rescue, is organized through a group called Invisible Children. In 2003 three friends traveled to Africa in search of a story and they discovered something that many people had never heard of. Hundreds of children were forced to march from small cities to more central and populated ones every night and then had to march back every morning. They did this out of survival, for they feared the LRA would abduct them in their sleep if they were small in numbers.
Since the documentary was released in 2006 the social movement has spread across the world like wildfire. They have held several annual events over the past three years and this year they went international. In 100 cities worldwide, on April 25, 2009, Invisible Children hosted an event called 'The Rescue'. The idea behind this event was to bring attention to the use of child soldiers by the LRA and to put an end to it. People gathered in designated cities and were asked to stay there until someone of public prominence (U.S. Senators, athletes, actors, singers, etc.) made an appearance to 'rescue' them.
In the weeks leading up to the event participants made YouTube videos for athletes and singers, made calls to their political figures, and notified local media outlets of their plans for the weekend.
I am a member of the Invisible Children organization at Mizzou. I am a student majoring in convergence journalism. I have produced several sports stories for KMOV.com since last year through their partnership with Missouri's School of Journalism. I approached KMOV.com with the idea of showing a behind the scenes look of the event. I have been involved with Invisible Children since I first saw the documentary in high school. It's something that I believe everyone needs to see because once they see it I believe there is no way they won't want to get involved somehow.
So, the disclaimer is that while I covered this event I wasn't in the mindset of a journalist. I was a student activist involved in a social movement that I have put a lot of time, effort, and money into. I took of the event as well as made several video blogs updating of our progress throughout the weekend.
Brandon Schatsiek is a Journalism student at the University of Missouri