On April 20, supporters of Invisible Children took to the streets to complete their latest initiative known as “Cover the Night,” to spread the word about the injustices committed by African warlord Joseph Kony.
After the nonprofit San Diego-based organization received widespread criticism for the “KONY 2012” campaign, many doubted its “Cover the Night” campaign would be successful. Despite the criticism, young people all throughout the country turned out to support the cause.
Almost two months have passed since the controversial video went viral and encouraged young men and women to help Invisible Children stop Kony by putting the spotlight on him. After making two videos about Kony and their plan to stop him, Invisible Children attempted one last time to make him famous by asking people everywhere to join them in “Cover the Night.”
Participants of “Cover the Night” were asked to complete three hours of community service before they went out to cover walls, street signs, windows and buildings with KONY paraphernalia. In San Diego, roughly 50 Invisible Children members volunteered at Emerald Hills Park by picking up trash.
Four students from the San Diego State Aztecs for Africa club participated in San Diego’s “Cover the Night.” The group worked with other supporters from Invisible Children’s main office and covered the Gaslamp Quarter. Aztecs for Africa President Carly Parmer described the night as a huge success for Invisible Children, despite ongoing criticism of the group.
“I was expecting more negativity from the public, but everyone was very excited to see us,” Parmer said. “One restaurant owner even got his whole staff to wear “KONY 2012” stickers on the front of their tuxedos.”
Despite reported success, controversy still followed Invisible Children and “Cover the Night.” Vandalism was reported throughout the country, as people spray-painted and illegally vandalized memorials and unauthorized buildings with KONY-related words and images. However, Invisible Children consistently urged participants to keep the street acts legal.
On its website, the nonprofit released a video with the statement, “Invisible Children does not condone illegal activity, including trespass and destruction of property. We encourage creative and legal approaches to promotion only. Use common sense.”
Also on the website, videos advised participants to ask business owners to paint murals or post paraphernalia, such as stickers, posters and “clean graffiti,” with the promise that they would come back in seven days to clean up the covered surface.
There were no known reports of vandalism in San Diego. Aztecs for Africa participants asked every business for permission to put posters in their establishments.
“Although the goal was to spread the word about KONY, we also wanted Cover the Night to be legal,” Parmer said.
Now that “Cover the Night” has passed, Invisible Children released a statement to its followers saying they will not stop trying to take action against Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army. Invisible Children plans to collect millions of signatures to bring to the United Nations Security Council meeting in June and ask for an urgent response to the ongoing violence in Central Africa. It plans to keep its supporters involved, but the group has no definite plans for them as of now.
As for Aztecs for Africa, Parmer said they are planning a golf tournament this summer to raise funds for a sister school in South Sudan, as well as looking into more local service and volunteer opportunities. Parmer encourages anyone interested in joining the club to attend meetings from 6-7 p.m. every Thursday in Aztec Mesa, room 101.