An Open Letter to an Inspirational Leader

Jason Russell,

I’m calling on you. 

Because I need help getting to Fourth Estate. We’ve never met, but you follow me on Instagram, and I stalk the heck out of you and your adorable family. I have, however, met and formed solid friendships with half of the people you know. How? Because I’ve been involved in Invisible Children since the rough cut came out- Global Night Commute, “Big Ideas,” the Rescue, state-wide events, Kony 2012, the whole shebang.
I was just 17 when I learned about IC. I watched a video and my life as I knew it was over. The impact it had on me would cause me to add a non-profit management degree and I never looked back. Global Night Commute was my first event, and not even the sprinklers coming on in the middle of the night could convince us to leave. When I started college at OU in 2006, I immediately joined our chapter of IC and helped coordinate events and screenings. In 2009, I helped plan the OKC rescue, and jumped in the car with friends I had met an hour before to drive to Little Rock to help their team get rescued (We may or may not have called the local representatives at their homes…), and from there we drove to Wichita for the next couple of days. To this day, I have a piece of the rope that we held as we walked tied around my wrist as a reminder to pray for peace. I have lobbied with my representatives- both local and nationally- through events with Resolve and by attending Lobby Days: How it Ends. At lobby days, I literally went toe-to-toe with Senator Inhofe for saying he loved Africa, but not being on board with the legislation because it might take away from *unused* military funding. You see, I’m not afraid to do hard things or risk someone not liking me, if it furthers justice in the end. In 2010, I slept outside for almost two weeks with the Coburn Say Yes campaign, leading teams through OKC to get outside support, making daily phone calls, skipping classes and birthdays (and showers), and you can bet that I rejoiced and laughed and cried the moment we got the call saying he would allow the bill through. That strange little group of us who came together those long days and nights became an odd sort of family that can never be replaced. I’ve housed countless roadies, made care packages, and learned how to make vegan meals so that they feel at home. And once, at SXSW in 2010, I ended up working the Invisible Children merch table simply because no one else was there when I walked in. My husband and I had our first date in silence- using a pen and paper to communicate- because he happened to ask me out on April 24th, 2011, and I refused to break my commitment to 25 hours of silence. When we got engaged a year later, he even included the 25 card as part of the proposal. I celebrated the release of Kony 2012, defended IC whole-heartedly against the uninformed and the relentless critics, and I cried with the IC family as the attacks on you took its toll. We never gave up on you, and never gave up on our mission.
We are a team.

               We are a family.
I joined in with strangers to clean up a park and post flyers all around downtown Dallas. And the only reason I didn’t attend Move:DC was because I was on my honeymoon. My closet is most likely around 60% Invisible Children gear, and my heart is overflowing with the friendships I have made with roadies, Ugandans, and other IC family.

None of this would have meant anything if there had not been thousands of others

that were standing up for the same thing. 

The interns and roadies who give up semesters or years of their life to devote to ending this war inspire me to do so much more. We will never do anything if we don’t do it together.

So, Jason, I’m asking you to partner with me in this. I want to change the world: but I need help doing it. I work for a small non-profit in Dallas, and my husband works as a contractor until he finds a full time job with a church or ministry. Most likely, it won’t be long before we transition to a support-raised income. Needless to say, budget is tight. The summit would be so helpful for me, I just can’t afford to go, and we are trying to ask our friends for as little as possible, due to the potential upcoming change in income. I have sent out emails and posted it on Facebook, but I am still about $500 short. Would you consider sponsoring me for $100, or getting together with a couple other staff and supporting me for more? It would be monumental in helping me pay for the conference and the flight to LA!

Now, we’re getting to the end of this little ramble, but I want you to know why this summit is so important to me. Jason, my life changed after watching the Rough Cut. I never felt so much like I had a purpose as I did the minute I began fighting for a life not my own. It has pushed me to join the non-profit world, to start an anti-trafficking organization at OU, and to donate time and money to other organizations that are in it to end suffering and promote justice for all. And I want to join in, too. I’d like to start a non-profit coffee shop that helps refugees find work, and partners with a resettlement program to help provide counseling or fund education fees so they can provide for their families in a sustainable way. The summit would really help me learn how to develop effective programs, and it would give me a chance to pick up tips from men and women I admire for their leadership in the global social sector. I can’t miss such an incredible opportunity to grow and meet other young visionaries who I may be able to stand with in this fight for life and peace and justice. 

(And hey! Maybe you’ll even get a chance to meet me. You don’t want to miss that chance.

Jokes. I got ‘em for days.)

So won’t you help me? Will you be willing to partner with me for $100, $200, or heck- all $500? In a crazy world full of brokenness and suffering, we stand together to bring liberty to all- no matter the color of their skin, their place of birth, or their religious background. “We are shaping human history by closing the divide between resources and responsibility, distance and disinterest, awareness and action.”

 Help me continue to stand on the front lines.
 Get me to Fourth Estate.

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