Founder Cleophace Mukeba has been educating about the resource wars in the DR Congo at various educational institutions across the state. This public intervention to raise awareness about war fare and the use of rape as a weapon by militant groups often shocks people. His latest presentation was at Montpellier High School, days after speaking at UVM.
I personally experienced this reality check when Cleophace came to a globalization class I took my sophomore year at Champlain College. I was appalled to learn that the people in the DR Congo are experiencing such high levels of despair as a consequence of the technology industry. Consequently, I cannot help but to consider the miners when using the devices which make my life convenient.
When Cleophace gives presentations, he offers not only personal insights about what it is like to be a refugee of war from the rape capital of the world but also ways to support the empowerment mission of ibutwa.
The easiest way to support the good which is coming out of this initiative is to break the silence about the sexual violence connected to electronic devices. The Conflict Free Society Facebook page has information about conflict minerals for sharing.
Knowledge is the basis of this social movement. One of the biggest issues with foreign influences amplifying the crisis in the Congo is the lack of awareness amongst consumers. Ignorance perpetuates crimes against humanity.
We need to raise our voices and hold corporations accountable to their responsibilities. Many people who have the opportunity to learn about the beauties of Congolese culture and how modern technology undermines it are called to action.
Ibutwa translating to renaissance encourages people to express creativity as a contribution to the conflict free movement. The overwhelming nature of warfare and rape culture triggers a wide array of emotions. We see this obstacle as an opportunity to address the global shadow of racism, gender inequality and environmental exploitation. Art can be an amazing tool for transformation.
I am honored to live in an area full of talented artists, some of who are willing to use their influence mindfully. Collaborating with ibutwa can help large groups of people realize that we can make positive change on an international level through advocacy. Self organization in these turbulent times is essential. We must to work together to uplift others.
Human hope is priceless. The ibutwa team wants you to know that your art can inspire others to believe in a brighter future. We are creating it together and can do so much more as new folks get involved!
If you feel passionately about equality but don not know how to start this sort of dialogue with your friends, consider making art to share your awareness. If you add the #ConflictFreeSociety, #GrowGardensNotGuns or #RebirthConnection hash tags when sharing your piece on social media, more people can be linked with this important information. We also hope you submit your work so we can post it on our Activism Art page with credit to you as the artist. After all, this issue is in our hands...