Kony. Invisible Children. Cover the Night. Am I stirring up some memories from the distant past? A vague recollection of a video you saw somewhere?
Maybe you remember that wildly successful Facebook campaign that you “like”-ed.
And even though you thought it’d be cool to go “Cover the Night” and spend the night roaming around the city, you didn’t go. For whatever reason, you didn’t do it. Maybe because of 4/20. Maybe your Physics ISU was due the next day. Maybe you just forgot.
But I went, and here’s my story:
It was April 20th. It was a Friday. There was a light breeze tickling the budding leaves.
The sun was shining bright. What I’m trying to say is that it was the perfect
day to skip. But, I went to class, trying to be a good student. I trudged into
afternoon class, even less excited than usual. I slowly slid into my desk, and
resigned myself to thinking about going to the Kony event that night.
The bell rang, and I went home passing away the hours: Tumbling,
unsuccessfully willing myself to do my homework, and generally doing nothing.
Finally it was 10 o’clock, and my cousin picked me up to drop me off
at my dad’s office. Yes, my dad was still at work. When your parents are
scientists, work hours aren’t normal. Experiments go well into the wee hours of
the morning. Discoveries are made on the weekends. Sleep is entirely optional
when an abstract is due.
As my cousin drove me down to the hospital, I called my dad. I asked
him if I could go to “Cover the Night” with my cousin instead, and he said
sure. And so we parked the car and walked to Yonge/Dundas. As we crossed the
street a car zoomed through the red light, missing us by less than a foot. We
were both shocked, but joked about it as we kept walking. “I guess being drunk
and high, makes you a bad driver!” I noted.
As we kept walking, I caught a slight whiff of weed. It was less
than what I’d expected, and I was surprised, for the second time that night.
When we finally reached Dundas Square the most surprising thing was
the lack of people. I’d expected a massive, surging, pulsing crowd. Instead, I
saw some stragglers wondering around with a handful of posters. My first thought
was: Is this the wrong place? Am I too late? Too early?
But, as it turns out, it was none of the above. From what I could
see, there were about 100-200 people who had come. Most of them were wearing
some kind of red (the colour for the campaign).
A number of police and security officers were standing nearby. But there
was really no need; no one was armed with anything more than an umbrella
against the pending rain.
My highlight for that night was meeting
some wonderful students from Sheridan College. They were really excited about
the cause, and were upbeat about spending the night raising awareness. I was
simply amazed when they told me they had designed their own original shirts and
posters. The t-shirts were a brilliant combination between the Anti-Kony symbol
and the Superman logo. Their enthusiasm was contagious, and when I asked them
if they were disappointed by the lack of people at the event, they countered by
saying, “this just separates those people who really want to take action from people
who just consider it another fad”.
As my cousin and I continued to walk around the block, we wondered if more people would have come if the organizers made the event earlier. But it soon
began to rain, and we decided it was time to go home. But, I knew for a couple
hundred people, a light drizzle wasn’t anything in the face of bringing down a
Maybe the execution of the project wasn’t great. Maybe Joseph Kony is already beyond our reach. Maybe we haven’t been able to save the Ugandan child soldiers. But, maybe it’s time we tried to change that.