Jason Russell is my friend. i reached out to him a few years ago, as TWLOHA was starting to take off. i was a fan of Invisible Children and it seemed we could learn a lot from them, and i could learn a lot from him. Like IC, TWLOHA was born from a story and the surprising response to that story.
Jason and i have been friends ever since – he and i, as well as members of our team and members of the IC team. As the world has seen, Jason is brilliant in his talent and creativity. Personally, i also know his kindness and compassion. Jason has been there for me in difficult times in recent years and even in recent months.
Working on TWLOHA over the last six years, there is much that i am thankful for and very proud of. There have also been moments and seasons that were deeply painful. Dealing with criticism and people saying things about TWLOHA and me personally that were not true. Dealing with constant travel for events. There have been times i felt close to a breakdown. There have been times i was supposed to speak on behalf of TWLOHA but our team didn’t let me get on the plane to go. They said i needed to take care of me, needed to make helping Jamie a priority. i have gone through two seasons of counseling and i have been on anti-depressants for nearly three years now.
i share all of this not for pity or some strange confession. i share all of this because mental health is a real thing. The things we talk about – people needing people, people needing help at times – i believe these things to be true.
Life is fragile. Life is complex. We are capable of great good. We are capable of madness.
i don’t know the details of what happened yesterday in San Diego. i don’t know the truth. In some ways, perhaps it’s not important. i know my friend needs help. i know he needs a break. i know i can’t begin to know the whirlwind he has experienced over the last two weeks – the attention, the popularity, the criticism, the exhaustion…
i believe in Invisible Children. i believe in their KONY 2012 campaign. i want to see Kony caught and brought to justice. i want to see lives saved. i want to see children in Africa and around the world raised in safety and in peace.
If you want these things as well, then please continue to support Invisible Children.
IC exists to end a war in Africa.
TWLOHA exists to say that there are wars inside of all of us.
The goal is peace, in Uganda, in Congo, inside you, inside me.
We are all a people in need.
We are not perfect. We are not machines.
We make mistakes.
We need grace. We need compassion.
We need help at times.
We need other people.
And that’s okay.