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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Tucsonans protest abductions

    Hundreds of people will march through Tucson Saturday to give a face to Uganda’s Invisible Children.

    The Invisible Children are kids in Uganda, and neighboring African countries, who were abducted and forced to fight for the Lord’s Resistance Army in the civil war or who walk miles every night to escape being kidnapped by the LRA.

    The leader of the LRA, Joseph Kony, has approximately 3,000 children under his control and to date he has abducted over 30,000 children.

    “”What we’re trying to do is bring Kony to justice,”” said Bethany Benedict, a journalism sophomore. We’re trying to say, ‘No. This is not just an Africa problem.'””

    On Saturday, hundreds of Tucsonans will meet at the cactus gardens on the UA Mall at 3 p.m., walk to El Presidio Park, 255 W. Alameda St., in downtown and camp in the park over night until a local celebrity comes to “”rescue”” them, said Vanessa Calles, Tucson event coordinator.

    “”(We’re) symbolically abducting ourselves,”” , said Calles. “”We’re going to sleep in the streets just like the children do.””

    “”The Rescue”” is a worldwide event, 100 cities in 10 countries, in which people will try to get local celebrities to help support the fight for peace in Uganda and freedom for the Invisible Children.

    Supporters are hoping to get the U.S. government to push to restart peace talks with Kony, Benedict said.

    Calles said she hopes UA students will show up to the event and take action because young people will be the future leaders.

    “”Our generation, the world is our community and it’s a huge humanitarian crisis,”” Calles said.

    Thousands of African children have been murdered during this more than two-decade-long war, and many of the children were abducted around age eight to 10, Benedict said.

    “”Children are our future. If we’re killing children, we’re killing our future,”” Benedict said.

    Benedict said they’re reaching out to celebrities because they have real power to help create change.

    Some of local celebrities the organizers want to show up are Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl, Mayor Robert Walkup, former UA basketball interim head coach Russ Pennel, UA football head coach Mike Stoops and a few local news anchors.

    “”We’re inviting them to come join us,”” said Benedict. “”Stand with us and say this is wrong,””

    The Rescue participants have been calling, emailing and sending letters to local celebrities to encourage their involvement, Benedict said. videos have been posted to get actors and other celebrities to join in The Rescue, and actors like Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst have agreed to show up at other cities’ events, said Calles.

    However, when one city is rescued, that city’s participation in The Rescue doesn’t stop there, Calles said. The Rescue Riders are going to caravan people to the nearest city that hasn’t been rescued yet.

    “”We’re not going to go home until all the cities are rescued,”” she said.

    Calles said she hopes The Rescue events will generate enough force to get the government to take action when supporters lobby in Washington, D.C., June 22 and 23.

    “”We need to speak up for the people who can’t speak for themselves,”” Benedict said.

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