I learned about this story from my 12 year old son. He heard about it last week and has been passionately evangelizing this story since that point. He is recruiting his friends, his extended family, his church youth group. He wrote all the newspapers and TV stations in the area. He convinced his junior high school to show a clip on their daily announcement period. I have had no involvement in this to this point. He is not alone. Youth across America have caught on to this story and have been mobilized. Why?
Remarkable. Seth Godin encourages us to make our product so noteworthy that people will remark about it and want to tell stories about it. Chartruese tells us to not be blankity-blank "pedestrian", meaning don't be common or average.
Instead of turning their backs, they can't stop thinking about it. They decide to do something about it.
What can three white kids do to stop 20 years of horror and war? They decide that alone they can't do much, but if they can mobilize enough other youth, they can influence the powerful.
They first tell their story of their experience in Northern Uganda about the Night Commuters in a documentary:
They then recruit other youth to spend several months on the road in RVs, ala MTV Road Rules (but with a heart), showing this documentary across the United States in a National Tour. Over 1 million people wind up seeing the film.
They create a message that youth can make a difference:
They make their message viral and easy to share. Buy a DVD of their documentary and they send you two - one to share with someone.
They brilliantly merge online content with offline activities, such as house parties and private screenings. They provide materials to allow people to host their own house parties.
People who sign up online get regular updates on their Ipod to motivate and give them insider information.
They create a nationwide event where those who are moved by what they have seen, so they can participate and feel like they can make a difference:
They even make a music video to entertain while they try to touch a heart. This is not pedestrian. You do not see the Red Cross, or Feed the Children, or the United Way doing these things. And that is why none of them have or will tap into the wealthy youth donor market of America (unless it is an extreme disaster).
I asked my son why he is involved. He said:
I am participating in this because we in America have so much and have so few worries and I believe that we are responsible to help those that do have to worry about such things as war right next door and knowing friends or family members that have been abducted or killed. I want these children to be invisible no more and I want the world to know about this so that this war can stop and these children can start to live a normal life.
Remarkable. They have told their story so well and in the right manner that my 12 year old son was able to absorb and synthesize this message and create a motivation and a hope in him to try to make a difference.
My son has convinced me to support the Global Night Commute on April 29, 2006 as we walk with hundreds of others in our town in solidarity with the children of Uganda.
Care to come along?