Coquitlam youth wants Joseph Kony stopped
Who is Joseph Kony?
That's a question a growing number of young people — including youth in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody — are asking in the wake of an inspiring video about a notorious child killer and abuser Joseph Kony of Uganda.
A video posted by the non-profit group Invisible Children garnered over 6 million views in one day Tuesday and at least one local youth wants people in the Tri-Cities to know about the vicious warlord who is portrayed in the half-hour film.
"I watched this video a few days ago and it kind of hit a soft spot and inspired me. I kind of wanted to be that one person who did something about it," said Richard Moul, a 2011 Centennial graduate who is now in university.
The goal of the documentary film is to make Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony famous for his heinous acts, including rape of girls and recruitment of child soldiers.
The U.S. has sent in advisors to find Kony but unless the world supports the mission, Kony might get away, the video suggests.
The group Invisible Children is urging people to get involved by joining in an awareness campaign so more people know about Kony and press for his capture and arrest.
Moul has purchased a kit from the group and plans to gather other youth together to plaster downtown Vancouver with posters and information about Joseph Kony on Friday, April 20.
The video has struck a chord with millions of YouTube viewers and hashtag #StopKony was trending in the number one spot on Twitter in Canada and the U.S., as thousands of youth, including popular singer Justin Bieber, posted links to the film and encouraged others to get involved.
Moul agreed that when inspired youth want to make a difference. "When we find something we care about we do a lot to push it," Moul said.
He also wants to sees stories in local newspapers so people who don't use the internet regularly are informed about Kony and his crimes.
Kony is the head of the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda and once pursued a bid to establish a government in the country. Thousands of children have been kidnapped by him and forced to maim and kill people to pursue his aims.
He has been indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court in 2005 but Kony has yet to be captured.
The group Invisible Children is seeking donations and selling kits to raise awareness about Joseph Kony with the goal of seeing him arrested by the end of the year.
When he's not going to school and studying, Moul is a member of the Junior B hockey team the Port Moody Black Panthers.
Moul is not the only Tri-Cities' young person raising awareness about the plight of children in Uganda. Former Port Coquitlam resident and New Westminster-Coquitlam Green Party candidate Carli Travers moved to Uganda after a Douglas College co-op program inspired her to help.
With her partner Robert Birungi, Travers started Abetavu Children's Village which houses and educates 200 Ugandan orphans on 10 acres of land outside Kampala.
Carli's Kids is also accepting donations at www.carliskids.com.