NEW YORK — On Saturday, MTV News caught up with “The Rescue,” an event held in 100 cities in 10 countries hosted by Invisible Children, a not-for-profit organization that is aiming to spread awareness about people living in regions of conflict, in this case the Ugandan civil war and the child soldiers who have been abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army there.
In 2007, Fall Out Boy filmed a music video in Uganda in cooperation with the organization to spread awareness about the war.
The goal of “The Rescue” was for participants to “abduct” themselves to a public place to spend the night and then hope to be “rescued” by the media or celebrities, with the goal of raising awareness about the child soldiers and forcing political leaders to take action.
Approximately 2,000 people showed up to City Hall to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge led by Chris Lowell, who plays William “Dell” Parker on “Private Practice,” and Ugandan diplomat Walter Odoch. The crowd marched single-file, wearing homemade shirts and hats with puff-paint messages. Tourists gawked as “the abducted” marched past them, cheering and chanting, “Rescue me!”
Lowell led his group across the Brooklyn Bridge with a smile and said, “When it came to walking across the bridge, I was just like, ’I want to be there from the get-go.’ I’ve been excited about this for months.”
Yin Chang, who plays Nelly Yuki on “Gossip Girl,” also came out to show her support. She had heard about the cause through a fan letter that had been sent to her only two days earlier. “I went to InvisibleChildren.com and I watched the documentary … I cried, honestly, hands down. My sweater, the sleeves were soaked with my tears. We need to do something about this. How did I never hear this before?”
The crowd, who gathered in Brooklyn’s Empire Fulton Ferry Park for the evening, was a diverse one. Paloma, a Bolivian exchange student, had come from Connecticut with her friends. Not far away was an inventive family who’d brought an inflatable mattress so their 5-year old could have a little bit of home with them.
Laren Poole, a founder of Invisible Children and the host of the New York event, told MTV News he was amazed at the enthusiasm of this year’s participants, many of whom had created their own clothing to wear to the event — and some who had even painted their bodies in an effort to get people to ask them about Invisible Children.
“The passion and the energy here is unparalleled,” he said. “I think it’s a testament to this generation’s compassion and worldly outlook that they’re taking responsibility for injustice around the world.”