For twenty-five years, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has targeted communities in central Africa with brutal violence – communities so remote it often takes months for word of LRA atrocities to reach outsiders. When the stories are finally told, they are often shared as merely statistics. Statistics, however, often fail to convey the horrific realities of this conflict and the real lives affected by it.none
Our friends at Discover the Journey (DTJ) have embraced a mission to tell the stories behind the statistics. They are journalists and storytellers who expose injustices facing children in crisis around the world and advocate for intervention until change is realized.
We first partnered with DTJ last year when they traveled to South Sudan and met with children and families affected by the LRA.
The DTJ team listened to the stories of these individuals, many of whom were not even South Sudanese, but had fled their homes in DR Congo and Central African Republic because of LRA violence. In addition to their personal stories, DTJ also asked those whom they met what they would say to the U.S. government, if they had the chance to be heard. Their responses and stories – told in their own words – were captured on film and compiled in a powerful video DTJ has entitled “Let us be free: A Plea for Relief from the Violence of the LRA.”
The team at DTJ strongly believed that this video needed to be seen by people who have the power and authority seek an end to LRA violence, so they graciously shared this video with us. Resolve, in turn, shared this video with our advocates who have been participating in local lobby meetings across the country. As a result, the voices and messages of those DTJ met in South Sudan have been literally carried into Congressional offices and heard by our policymakers and their staff members.
As advocates and citizens, we can tell our stories about why stopping LRA violence is important to us – and we never want to underestimate the power of constituents urging their elected representatives to take action. But thanks to the incredible work of DTJ, we now have the opportunity to help the people living in daily fear of the LRA speak for themselves and tell their stories directly to U.S. leaders. Remarkably, these individuals living in the midst of this crisis are still able to believe and declare that peace can be. But they also ask those of us who hear their message to align our voice with theirs in calling for an end to LRA violence so that that peace can truly be in their communities.
We hope you’ll watch DTJ’s video – which they have graciously and freely shared with us – and we hope that you’ll seek ways to share these stories with others so that we can all use the power of our collective voices and help these communities achieve peace.