A Journey Unfolding
Friday, March 30, 2007


When Hurricane Katrina hit this country, we saw for the first time what a displaced American looks like. Now we're asking you to imagine for 24 hours what itÕs like for the millions of people in Northern Uganda who have been displaced for more than ten years.

Last year, 80,000 Americans commuted to their downtown city districts and slept outside for the thousands of children in Northern Uganda who walk for miles from their homes every night to avoid abduction from the Lord's Resistance Army. In June of 2006, just two months after Invisible Children's "Global Night Commute," peace talks ensued. As a result, rebel activity and abductions have decreased and night commuting has been on the decline.

But the most devastating aspect to this war still exists: the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps. Ten years ago, more than 1.8 million Ugandans were forcibly evicted from their homes and transported to overcrowded camps which now face desperate conditions. Dependence on foreign aid, lack of food and water, alcoholism, sexual abuse, HIV/AIDS, inadequate sanitation and lack of education have caused immeasurable damage to two generations of northerners and the near-total destruction of Acholi culture.

This year, Displace Me is the nationwide event giving Americans the chance to respond. Displace Me begins on April 28th around noon and will end the morning of the 29th. This overnight gathering will send a bold statement to the US government that Americans care about ending the suffering of millions living in Uganda's displaced camps. We are demanding our government's support of the peace talks, which will allow the Acholi people to go back to their land and the abducted children to be returned home.

Unlike the Global Night Commute, which was held in more than 130 cities, Displace Me will only be in 15 strategic locations. Here are the three reasons why:

1. Simulation: Ten years ago the government of Uganda gave its citizens 48 hours to relocate into camps. Many had to travel very far from their homes, often walking for days to reach their destination. We too will travel.

2. Sacrifice: realistic camp experience Displaced camps typically house 10,000 to 60,000 people each. We believe that experiencing this size and congestion are key to understanding life in the camps.

3. Strength in SIZE: visibility It is more powerful visually to have a massive amount of people in a few locations than a moderate amount of people in many locations. Having 15 locations will raise the number of people at each site, thus giving the nationwide event more media awareness, political clout, and potential to result in change.

Northern Uganda has been identified as one of the "worst five places in the world in which to wake up." Ironically, most of the world today still views Uganda as politically and economically stable, unaware of the situation in the north. Limiting the number of locations means that many of you will have to travel (possibly a few hours) to displace yourself for one night, but in doing so, you will show your dedication to action.

On April 28th, join tens of thousands who are saying, "Displace Me" and leaving their homes to bring them home.




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Maria at 11:59 AM


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