Skip to main content

There's power in the night

Invisible Children is reporting that there are currently over 53,000 people signed up to participate in the Global Night Commute. One of those is my friend, Susan Britton. She’ll be marching and sleeping with hundreds of others in Cesar Chavez Park in Sacramento, California--and, if all works right, she's planning on sharing her experience on this blog. (My city isn’t participating, so I’m living vicariously through her.)

What is the Global Night Commute? Tomorrow night (Saturday, April 29) thousands of people will camp in U.S. city streets to draw attention to Uganda’s “night communters,” children who leave their villages each afternoon to walk miles to cities and towns to sleep in order to escape abduction. If you are unfamiliar with the crisis in Northern Uganda, see World Vision’s short synopsis. Essentially, rebel leader Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army terrorizes northern Uganda, fueling its forces by abducting children and forcing them to be soldiers, laborers and sex slaves. According to World Vision, more than 30,000 have been kidnapped since the war’s beginning in 1987, and more than 1.7 million people have been forced into displacement camps, where food and water are scarce and disease is plentiful. But children aren’t safe even in these camps. So, up to 50,000 leave their homes and the camps each night and walk miles to cities and towns to sleep on sidewalks or, if they are lucky, a shelter where they lay on concrete floors with thousands of other children. This nightly routine has earned them the name “night commuters.”

The event is drawing lots of coverage in university and college newspapers and making its way into more mainstream publications, too. There’s an AP blurb about the event in Provo, Utah and a bit from Fort Wayne, Indiania. The Rocky Mountain News ran an article about the gathering in Lincoln Park in Denver's Civic Center and the Columbia Missourian about the gathering at Courthouse Square in Columbia, Missouri. Hundreds of are expected at Santa Rosa Park in San Luis Obispo, California, and at Balboa Park in San Diego.

Invisible Children reports that over 1,500 are expected at Santa Monica City Hall in Los Angeles and Grant Park in Chicago, Illinios. Over 1,000—reportedly including two senators—are expected at John Marshall Park in Washington, D.C. People in Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Peru and the Republic of Singapore are also participating.

Folks, God hates injustice and calls us to do something about it. We must pray fervently for God to intercede, and we must also raise our own and others' awareness, advocate for action and support organizations who are helping the close to two million displaced people in the area. If your city is participating, seriously consider joining them. If you can’t, consider buying one of Invisible Children’s bracelets, which are hand-made in Uganda to raise money for children suffering in the northern part of that country. Invisible Children uses the money raised to put children through school and create jobs in an unemployable war area. At the very least, consider signing World Vision’s online declaration “deploring the abuse of children forced by rebels to become soldiers, in northern Uganda. The signed declaration will be presented to the Bush administration, Congress and the United Nations.” They're aiming for one million signatures, so head over there and sign it now.