As school board advocates who are entrusted policy makers regarding the care and education of our children, we urge you, the National School Board Administration (NSBA), to stop Invisible Children's access to public schools across the United States.
1. Invisible Children intentionally lies and “manipulates facts for strategic purposes, exaggerating the scale of LRA abductions and murders" and targets school children as their audience; A vulnerable, empathetic segment of society with limited understanding of geo-politics and history. Our youth are their primary source of donations and product sales - some $16 million so far this year alone. The young adults who buy their products and donate are led to falsely believe that their money will go to help the victims of the LRA. Their film, Kony 2012, is full of inaccurate and misleading information. For instance, the information and footage about Uganda and Kony presented in the film is a decade old. Kony is no longer active in Uganda and hasn't been seen in years. Some even believe he is dead. Northern Uganda is mostly peaceful now. With less than an estimated 200 soldiers, Kony's LRA is a relatively small player in the region. Invisible Children ignore the atrocities committed by the Ugandan dictator, Museveni, and his UPDF as well as other local militia groups. They act as a propaganda arm for Museveni and the International Criminal Court, a court not recognized by the United States.
2. The way they use their funds is questionable. They use 43% of their funds for awareness programs. They use a whopping 20% of their funds for salaries and overhead. The remaining 37% is what actually goes to Uganda to help the children and people of Uganda. To break it down, $1.7 million went on US employee salaries, $357,000 in film costs, $850,000 in film production costs, $244,000 in “professional services” – thought to be Washington lobbyists – and $1.07 million in travel expenses.
3. Invisible Children vigorously lobby Washington for American military intervention in Uganda and the neighboring countries. They had a substantial role in President Obama's decision to deploy 100 combat-ready troops to Uganda as military advisors in October of 2011. Invisible Children leaders were present at the President's signing of that order. Obama announced an extension of the troops' mission on April 23, 2012, much to the stated satisfaction of Invisible Children.
4. Countless Ugandans have expressed objection to Invisible Children's pro-military stance, including the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative, who advocate for peace talks. Invisible Children supported Operation Lightning Thunder, which was an unmitigated military disaster that directly led to an increase in violence and deaths.
5. Invisible Children is a furtive evangelical Christian organization, with close ties to “The Family”, a secretive and powerful fundamentalist group who is considered responsible for Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill. They are also adept at hiding their proselytizing intent in order to gain access to public school children; their co-founder, Jason Russell, made this clear in a talk given at a Christian conference in San Antonio in 2005: “God said 'Jason, open it up. Open it up. Do not limit it to the church'...Coming in January we are trying to hit as many high schools, churches, and colleges as possible with this movie. We are able to be the Trojan Horse in a sense, going into a secular realm and saying, guess what life is about orphans, and it’s about the widow. It’s about the oppressed. That’s God’s heart. And to sit in a public high school and tell them about that has been life-changing. Because they get so excited. And it’s not driven by guilt, it’s driven by an adventure and the adventure is God’s.”
6. Invisible Children has refused the Better Business Bureau’s requests for a charity review for the last 6 years. “Since 2006, BBB has sent 18 letters (12 by Certified Mail) to the organization but has received no response.” The charity review done by BBB is much more in-depth, and doesn’t rely solely on public documents to base its rating upon. The fact that Invisible Children refuses to engage in such a review leads to deserved speculation that they have something to hide.
Invisible Children did release a statement on why they don’t wish to participate in the rating, claiming “Participation in BBB’s program is voluntary - we [Invisible Children] are choosing to wait until we have expanded our Board of Directors, as some questions hinge on the size of our board….” However, BBB said “the six-member board size would not be a problem with the BBB charity standards” and that the real issue is “two of the six board members are paid staff”. One of the charity standards of the BBB calls for “no more than 10% of the voting membership of the board to be compensated”, as this leads to a variety of issues explained by the BB on their website.
We, the undersigned, urge the National School Board Association (NSBA) to ban Invisible Children from presenting their pro-war propaganda in America's public schools. Invisible Children uses vile tactics to manipulate the minds of easily influenced youth. Invisible Children’s co-founder referred to their organization as a “Trojan horse”, and because of that being able to “go into a secular realm” and spread their message. The organization also “manipulates facts for strategic purposes, exaggerating the scale of LRA abductions and murders” to further encourage the youth of America to become involved in their campaign.
Sources of Information