TRINITY STUDENTS ARE “DISPLACED”
More than 30 Trinity students—more than 4,600 people in Chicago—more than 65,000 across the United States were “displaced” on April 28.
These people gathered in 15 simulated refugee camps across the country to raise awareness of the thousands of Northern Ugandan children who have fled their homes every night to escape abduction by members of the Lord’s Resistance Army, which subjects them to torture and sexual violence and forces them to fight in the LRA’s guerilla army.
Trinity students joined thousands of others at Soldier Field in Chicago participating in the Displace Me campaign, sponsored by the organization Invisible Children Inc. The intent of the organizers is to encourage compassion in participants, as well as to spur the U.S. government to take action in helping end the 21-year war.
Upon arrival at the “camp,” the students handed over their ration of saltine crackers and water to be redistributed later. They then built shelters out of cardboard to house them during the night’s vigil.
Deveshte deAlwis ’07 of Rockford, Illinois, is the multicultural chair of Trinity’s Student Association and encouraged student involvement.
“Being born in a war-torn country like Sri Lanka, I have witnessed the needs of the Third World,” he said. “I have felt the need to be involved in spreading awareness on a global level to the students at Trinity.”
The campus organizations Ethos, Social Justice Committee, and Acting on Aids all share the same conviction that students need to be involved in issues that affect their world, according to deAlwis.
“Not everyone is called to be a ‘first-responder,’ so to speak, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help in other ways,” he said. “What needs to happen now is for us to spread the word and take action ourselves.”
Thirty-two Trinity students were ‘displaced.’ Kendra DeBoer ’10 of South Holland, Illinois, was one.
“My experience at Displace Me opened my eyes to the variety of people who care about social justice, beyond Trinity students,” she said. “I was able to meet and talk with several other students from their own college's social justice chapters or committees. It was a great opportunity to share common concerns, goals, and hopes with them.”
A featured speaker at the event was Laker Jolly Grace Okot. Okot, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005, is the country director of Invisible Children and the Ugandan woman who first introduced the filmmakers/founders to the plight of thousands of Acholi people.
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