In the last 24 hours, the #StopKony movement has gone viral and my students have taken notice. My morning class was dominated by the talk of social justice and responsibility after watching the Invisible Children video on Vimeo. It was the kind of day where my original lesson plan was moved aside for a “just-in-time” lesson on real world events.
As a teacher who promotes critical thinking, I was naturally skeptical of this campaign. It sprung up overnight, it is targeting young people and it is asking for donations as well as actions. As we were watching the video, I was furiously Googling if this was a hoax and if this Kony person actually exists, but what I didn’t consider is that it is potentially more of a cash grab for the Invisible Children charity.
Ultimately, I discovered that the charity itself has some questionable financial records, but that this Kony guy does in fact exist and he has done some horrible things to the Ugandan people. So it leaves me thinking:
– what are the true facts surrounding where Kony is and what is his child army doing right now?
– how do I encourage my students to be involved in social justice issues, but to consider them with a critical eye without squashing their spirit?
– is this something worth contributing to?
– would it be better to go through a Canadian charity like Free the Children?
But what I do know for sure about this campaign:
– it has made students all over the world sit up and take notice of others
– it had made my students reflect upon and be thankful they live in Canada
– that our students care and don’t want to see injustice in the world which breaks the selfish stereotype of today’s teen
– that there are definitely people in the world who need our help and if this campaign (regardless of its financial motivations) brings aid to those who need it, then I think it’s worthwhile.