Kony 2012 group visits Fresno school

FRESNO, Calif.

The documentary raises awareness about Joseph Kony, who's accused of kidnapping children in Africa and enlisting them into his army.

The group behind the video stopped at a Valley school today to try to grow the movement. Representatives from the most viral video in history talked to students at San Joaquin Memorial High School. The school raised the most money in a nationwide contest for the nonprofit group, Invisible Children.

San Joaquin Memorial High School students gathered inside the school's gymnasium Tuesday morning for a special screening of "Kony 2012." "It gave me chills. It's so crazy how something can spread through to a community and really impact people's lives," said senior Gabrielle McNamara.

The heart wrenching video brings awareness to the atrocities the film's producers say were committed by notorious Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony. Kony is accused of kidnapping thousands of children and enlisting them into his rebel army. "If this were to happen in America, if children were to be taken from their homes, forced to kill their parents and forced to fight in an army, that would never happen," said junior Jordan Huelskamp, president of the Invisible Children service club at school.

Organizers say the goal of the video is to bring Kony to justice by raising money to help spread awareness. Students at the school raised more than $22K in 2010 to build schools in northern Uganda. "The majority of students have been very positive. There are some misunderstandings, a little bit of questioning," said Huelskamp.

Critics of the video say the film misstated facts about the current level of violence in Uganda, Kony's recent whereabouts and the strength of his army. Last weekend, the filmmaker was detained by San Diego police for allegedly running through the streets nude and acting irrational. Family said the widespread attention put a lot of pressure on the director.

"It was really sad to hear about that but it really rejuvenated me in my commitment. It made me rededicate myself to what I really know is right - which is peace and ending this war," said Carlie Frye, club supervisor for the Invisible Children chapter at the school.

After the screening, students were asked to sign a pledge to express their commitment to the campaign. Despite the recent controversy, many students say they will continue to support the viral cause. "It's pretty eye-opening just to see what they have to go through in Uganda. I just pray for them and hope that all this goes well and they actually catch [Kony] this year," said senior Hunter Jameson.

Representatives would not talk to Action News about the recent controversies but say their focus is now on April 20th. That's the day supporters around the world will blanket the streets with "Kony 2012" posters demanding justice for the children of Uganda.

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