So, #STOPKONY is a new trending topic in social media. If you're not familiar, the "Stop Kony" movement refers to Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony. Kony lived in relative anonymity before last week when a video from activist group Invisible Children went viral. The video garnered millions of views and had celebrities such as P. Diddy, Jay-Z, and Oprah taking to Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about the campaign. Suddenly, the leader of the "Lord's Resistance Army," allegedly responsible for atrocities such as abducting children and forcing them to become soldiers, had become an international name.
What a lot of people don't realize is that Kony has terrorized his country for nearly two decades. His horrific acts are nothing new to the people of Uganda. But last week, Kony became the popular "cause of the moment" with many folks who can barely be motivated to care about social issues at any other juncture.
Now, I'm not here to criticize what some folks have termed "overnight activism." I'm actually pleased when folks find causes—anything—that they are passionate enough about to share. The "when" is not as important to me. Whether you champion a cause at its beginnings or in the last five minutes is fine by me. Just act. I also have no quarrel with someone getting active because a celebrity tells them to. That's what celebrities should be using their influence for. If they can excite an apathetic fan base with a tweet, hey, have at it.
What grinds my gears is not our haste to join the Stop Kony movement, but our deaf ears and blind eyes turned to atrocities that are much closer to home. Sure, Kony's crimes need to be punished, but what about the pseudo warlords who live in our cities and in our neighborhoods—the black ones and the white ones who terrorize us by either selling drugs and violence to our kids through gangs or by pilfering a city's pockets through dirty politics and white collar crime?
Where's the Stop ______ movements for those? Where are the 3 million views for a video decrying Clear Channel Communications Inc. for continuing to carry Rush Limbaugh? Where's the outrage for the dope boy with the dope house on your street that everyone knows but says nothing about? Where's the video for Jackson Public Schools? And what about one for Ward 3?
Are we more concerned with wrongs thousands of miles away instead of ones that are right in our faces? It may be "cooler" to get mad about something because Diddy is, but remember: Wherever you are, the healing starts at home.
And that's the truth ... sho-nuff.