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White is for Innocent

I recently ordered and received one of Invisible Children’s bracelets. The bracelets 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.

This particular bracelet is named after Innocent: “an academic, a soccer player, a dancer, a leader, a Night Commuter.” The other bracelets (each in a different color) represent different children, giving “a name and a face to one of the many effects of this 20-year-long war.”

And this, in particular, is what I like about this organization—putting a face to the crisis. Too often, it’s easier to look at crises like these as “issues” rather than seeing the people in them. As Christians, however, it is imperative that we, like Jesus, see people and not just issues. Invisible Children helps us do that.

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.”

What can you do to help end this horrible crisis? Raise your own and others’ awareness. Support organizations like World Vision and Invisible Children. Participate in the Global Night Commute on April 29. Buy a bracelet. And pray, pray, pray for God to intervene in a powerful way. Personally, I plan to use the bracelet to remind me to do this. Maybe you could, too.