Around 200 students and community members came to view “Brown is for Tony,” a documentary about conflict in and around the African country of Uganda.
Invisible Children, an organization based in California, is traveling around the country to show the film and made WKU a stop on the tour Thursday night.
The goal of the national tour is to bring awareness to the issues plaguing Uganda, including children being abducted and forced into the Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel army that has fought the Ugandan and other African governments.
One of the speakers after the film, Akiyu Stella Mistica, is from Uganda and stopped teaching there to join the program in 2006.
One day when she was in high school, Mistica heard strange voices outside of her grandfather’s house. Her grandfather said it was the rebel army and told her to pretend to be an old woman by putting on a scarf so they would not abduct her.
“I remained motionless while they told me to do things,” she said.
Eventually, the LRA soldiers heard gunshots nearby from the Ugandan army, which allowed Mistaca to get away while the LRA hid behind a bush.
Mistaca said the LRA would bring padlocks with them to make sure no one would tell Ugandan soldiers of their presence. They would slice the padlock through people’s lips to make sure they could not talk.
Many people in Uganda would have deformed lips as a result. Mistaca said she still cannot look at padlocks since that experience.
The title of the film is based on the name of a boy who the filmmakers had met when they originally went to Africa in 2003. They later returned to Africa several times to meet with Tony.
Invisible Children helps rebuild schools and provides radio transmitters so remote areas of Africa can be warned if the LRA is approaching. The organization has also coordinated with the Ugandan government, the United Nations and pushed a bill that was passed by the United States federal government to capture the leader of the LRA.
Sophomore Emily Gray came out of the documentary crying and now plans to join the WKU chapter of Invisible Children.
“It’s not right. It makes you feel unworthy of living here (in America),” she said. “We need to help them. If you were in their shoes, that’s what you would want.”
Invisible Children also sells merchandise made by Ugandans. Several students stayed after to buy a t-shirt or bracelet from the organization.
Junior Rebecca Morgan, President of WKU’s Invisible Children, said the documentary “brightened my heart and saddened it at the same time.”
“It was devastating to see he had lost his mother,” she said, referring to Tony, who’s mother had died due to complications from AIDS.
Mistaca, who has two young daughters in Uganda, said the program has been a sacrifice she needed to make. She said she hopes people will spread the message to others so it can multiply and many people will begin to understand.
Had she been taken by the LRA, Mistaca predicts she would have died, either from stress or from AIDS because the officers would like to “go to many girls.” Girls, some as young as 10, would be raped by men about 35 year olds and bear their children, she said.
Mistaca said she hopes people will begin “living a life above just themselves.”
“Peace cannot come without love,” she said. “And love can not come without peace.”
Invisible Children meetings take place on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. in Downing University Center room 310A.