As Americans, we tend to take a convenient approach to social causes. We often feel that buying a bottled water that pledges to donate money to help children or purchasing shoes that provide others with a pair shoes is the best way to help.
In some cases that may be true, but does our lack of true activism mean we should not be able to speak about causes or mention them to our peers?
We live in a country that thrives on a public that speaks out for justice and equality. It is unfair for people to judge those who are becoming interested in any growing crisis that needs monumental support.
After all, very few can consider themselves true social activists. Unless we are actively involved in directly fighting the battles, we will always be unaware of the full story. None of us are immune from a seemingly easy form of giving and we all do it at some point. The question to ask is whether or not the causes we support are actually making a difference.
I will never criticize someone for being engaged and aware, especially if their intentions are good. I will however question whether or not certain non-profit organizations are leading to solutions that rid the world of horrible crimes and terrible treatment of people.
Many causes, like the current “Stop Kony” campaign, are geared towards gaining the public’s interest in solving these problems. The campaign originated from a video that now has more than 40 million views. Invisible Children, the organization behind the campaign, has been criticized by those who feel that not enough of their money goes to supporting an end to the leadership of Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army. The anti-LRA movement is also criticized by those who feel intervention is no longer necessary.
ABC News reports that the LRA is no longer active in Northern Uganda, but Invisible Children says violence is still present in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan.
Admiral Brian L. Losey, top U.S. special operations commander for Africa, said U.S. troops are stationed in the regions to fight the LRA. I do not necessarily agree with military intervention into the affairs of other countries, but I feel a presence of some sort is necessary to completely remove Kony from power.
Whether or not the LRA maintains as much of an influence, I believe causes like these enable crimes against humanity to be lessened. More importantly though, they engage the public and make them interested in solving crises.
We should spend time learning more, contacting our elected officials and determining the correct way to promote safety. It is our duty not to remain complacent in our comfortable bubble. We should be more willing to donate our time and energy to fighting for those who are unable to fight for themselves.
I am certainly not capable of speaking about every aspect of an organization or world crisis, but I do feel that I should be able to voice my support for a cause. I may not agree with every cause or movement, but I can appreciate people becoming educated about current threats to democracy and freedom.
The current era of social activism is one to be recognized in a positive light. You might be surprised about the number of young people who care more than any other generation has before about the world around them.