(Editor's note: In his own words, Thrice's Dustin Kensrue explains his band's involvement with the organization Invisible Children. See a photo gallery of his NYC performance right here!)
Over the span of the last few years, we’ve been involved with an organization called Invisible Children. They have been working to end the longest running war in Africa. This particular war is being fought by children who have been abducted against their will and conscripted to fight alongside a rebel group called the Lord’s Resistance Army (or LRA). These kids are forced to commit terrible atrocities, so Invisible Children and many others across the world have taken it upon themselves to finally put an end to it. By putting pressure on Congress (President Obama has just deployed 100 U.S. Troops to Uganda) and creating development programs on the ground in central Africa, much has been done. But we aren’t finished yet.
Most recently, Invisible Children has started a campaign called the Musician Coalition. (Watch this 3-minute video.) Involving artists from all different genres, the idea is to collectively raise funds alongside their fans to build radio towers in the most remote parts of the Congo, where the LRA is most active today. The purpose of the towers is to send radio messages directly to the child-soldiers still in the LRA, encouraging them to come home, informing them how to do so and telling them they’re loved and forgiven. The soldiers in the LRA have been brainwashed to think they can never leave, and that if they do, they will be killed. The good news is that this has been the most effective initiative in encouraging LRA to defect, because the messages are sent from formerly adducted children who have already safely escaped.
As a part of the Musician Coalition, I have been playing a series of acoustic sessions after many of the shows on our current tour raising money to help build the radio towers and to thank the fans who want to get involved. The response has been more than overwhelming, and I’m so proud of the Thrice fans who have shown such genuine support, not only of our band and what we believe is right, but also for Invisible Children and the work they are doing. It has been such an honor.
If you want to stay informed about the secret acoustic sessions, follow @invisible_music to find out where and when I will be playing. And make sure to check out Thrice’s fundraising page if you’re inspired to get involved.