Liz Novack starts Penn State organization to support Invisible Children
Liz Novack, sophomore nursing major, has been involved with the Invisible Children organization since seeing one of their presentations in high school. This fall Novack started the group Invisible Children at Penn State with a few of her friends. She says she wanted to do something at Penn State after realizing that many of her peers were still unaware of the horrors of child soldiers in Africa.
Invisible Children is a nonprofit organization established in 2006 to combat against the social injustices of child soldiers in Uganda. According to their website, “Invisible Children uses film, creativity and social action to end the use of child soldiers in Joseph Kony’s Rebel War and restore LRA-affected communities in East and Central Africa to peace and prosperity.”
Novack is president of the newly founded Penn State group, which has 83 members in its Facebook group and around 15-20 regular members at its bi-weekly meetings. The group’s main purpose thus far has been to raise awareness of the Invisible Children organization and the work they are doing to end the use of child soldiers in East and Central Africa.
This semester has been an especially interesting time for the new club with Invisible Children’s awareness video KONY 2012 going viral in March. With the film boasting 104,506,332 views to date, the organization and the small club here at Penn State have faced their fair share of criticisms. (See sidebar below)
The criticisms stem from truth or lack thereof in figures, finances, and overall objectives within the Invisible Children organization. As well as, the very public mental breakdown of Invisible Children co-founder Jason Russell who is featured all throughout the video with his son.
Despite the criticism and controversy, however, the members of Invisible Children at Penn State have faced their own criticisms here on campus that Novack believes come from a simple lack of knowledge.
The members of the club have spent the past few weeks “reading up” on the facts and informing one another through a compiled list so that they can better handle others’ comments. The group plans to screen Invisible Children’s Rough Cut this week, the first documentary made by the organization in 2006, to show just how far the nonprofit has come. The following day they plan to hold a forum of sorts where their peers and others on campus can raise their concerns based on the criticisms that have come to light in recent months.
Novack believes that all organizations need to face criticism in order to become better and that through this bump in the road Invisible Children can go through and correct the areas that need correcting. Even in the midst of controversy, however, Novack remains loyal to the organization stating that in her mind what has already been accomplished in effort to rid Africa of child soldiers could not have been done without the work of Invisible Children. Novack believes in the organization and that the work they have done is changing the world.
Controversy over Invisible Children
Novack acknowledges the criticism following Invisible Children's release of KONY 2012, yet she still backs the organization.