Vigil participants to spend a night contemplating plight of Ugandan kids
Three young American filmmakers’ story about the plight of youths in Uganda already has transformed the lives of one Glenwood Springs family.Tonight, it will be the focus of concern for dozens of members of the Glenwood-area community who will gather on behalf of those children in a faraway land.Anywhere from 50 to 75 people are expected to show up tonight for an outside sleepover at Sayre Park, in support of the so-called “night commuters” of Uganda.The event, like others around the country, seeks to bring to light the saga of children in the northern part of the country. They must walk from their homes into camps each night to avoid being abducted by the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army and forced to become soldiers, said Scott Bolitho, who is organizing this weekend’s event.Bolitho said the situation gained attention after three young Americans produced a 55-minute film, “The Invisible Children.” They learned about the youths’ ordeal by accident while traveling through Uganda on their way to Sudan to do a documentary on the conflict there.”They were stuck in this town one night and they watched what was happening with all these children,” Bolitho said.Their film has turned into the Invisible Children movement, which is sending out recreational vehicles around the country to screen the film, and helping organize Global Night Commute overnight vigils like the Glenwood Springs one. The movement’s goal is to raise awareness and cause the United States to pressure Uganda to end the war there.The Bolitho family became involved after Bolitho’s son, Michael, 22, met the filmmakers in San Diego, where he lives. They gave him a DVD of their film.”He called me and said, you know something, we’ve got to do something about this,” Bolitho said.Bolitho showed the film at his church, Trinity Baptist, in Glenwood Springs. A screening also was held in Basalt.Michael Bolitho became so committed to the cause that he quit his job as a wholesaler of dirtbike parts and accessories and went to work for Invisible Children. And Michael’s brother, Ryan, will be starting a job with the organization on Monday.They’re part of a youth-oriented movement. And it was all started by three filmmakers in their 20s.”It’s just a bunch of kids who didn’t like what they saw and want to change it, and it’s incredible what they’ve done,” Bolitho said.He said 53,000 people have committed to the movement around the country, and organizers have raised $920,000 since the start of the year.”They were on the ‘Oprah’ show Wednesday and they got quite a boost from that,” he said.Bolitho said tonight’s Glenwood event will involve far more than local church members. It is expected to include Colorado Mountain College students, high school students, and people who have seen the screenings or heard of the movement by word of mouth.He said the whole point of tonight’s vigil is to experience for one night what children in Uganda endure every night.Global Night CommuteParticipants in tonight’s Global Night Commute vigil will meet at Centennial Park in downtown Glenwood Springs at 7 p.m. They’ll then walk to Sayre Park, where they’ll sleep outside overnight.Anyone wanting to join them can show up with a sleeping bag. There is no charge to participate.For more information about the Invisible Children movement, visit http://www.invisiblechildren.com.
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