Global Night Commute

Global Night Commute

The Global Night Commute (GNC) was a worldwide event organized by the makers of the film "Invisible Children" through the organization Invisible Children Inc. The GNC took place on April 29 2006. Youths from around the world walked to city centers and spent the night in parks to show support for Ugandan children who walk every night into city centers attempting to avoid capture by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).


These children, between the ages of 3 and 17, from Acholiland in Northern Uganda, are referred to as "night commuters". They walk up to 20 km (12 mi) from internally displaced person camps to larger towns, notably Gulu, in search of safety from the LRA.

The GNC was similar to other initiatives raising awareness about the plight of the children in Acholiland like the Gulu Walk that took place in over 40 cities internationally in October 2005; however, the Global Night Commute took place on a much larger scale. Over 58,000 people signed up to participate in the event, but over 80,000 attended in total; it took place in 130 cities in seven countries. cite web | title=Global Night Commute | url= | accessdate=2006-04-30 ]

The goal of the event was to raise awareness and ultimately end Africa's longest running conflict by facilitating a change in the policies of the United States government. The slogan for the event is "On April 29th, we gathered. To make a difference. To end a war."

The Chicago, Illinois, GNC centered in Grant Park at the base of the Lincoln Statue, with an estimated 2,000 people gathering. In compliance with Chicago law, the commuters were restricted from actually sleeping, made near impossible due to the downpour which lasted throughout the evening. The Chicago event gains increased significance as it hosted the sole Invisible Child featured in the film to its gathering, Jacob, as well as Invisible Children Inc. co-founder Jason Russell. Day-time talk-show host Oprah even lent the Chicago commute the use of one of her very expensive crane cameras to photograph the event.

The GNC Denver,Colorado, was held in a park in Parker, Colorado.The GNC in San Diego, California, was held in Balboa Park after it was relocated from Horton Plaza due to limited space considering the number of people expected to attend. The event was well attended, with over 6,000 people spending the night, the most out of all the host cities.

The GNC in Franklin, Tennessee had one of the largest attendances, with over 2,500 people. Later in the night, almost 500 more people walked from their senior prom to join the event.

The GNC in Phoenix, Arizona took place outside a parking garage at a plaza and consisted of 700 plus people from all over the valley.

The GNC in Seattle, Washington took place at a local park, was wet due to rain, and had an estimated 1,700 people attend.

The Toledo/Bowling Green GNC was held in the St. Aloysius church parking lot and hosted about 130 people. Media coverage was inaccurate.Fact|date=February 2007

The GNC in Gainesville, Florida had nearly 150 people the event was supported by the Gainesville County Commission who allowed the Commuters to use a local park without paying a fee. Media converage was limited.

The GNC in Durham, New Hampshire consisted of 200 people, and took place on the University of New Hampshire campus hosted by ChildVoice International. It was below freezing that night, and most of the "global night commuters" woke up with frost on their sleeping bags.

In Portland, Oregon, the GNC took place at Pioneer Courthouse Square, was around 40 degrees Fahrenheit at night, and hosted around 1,000 people. Media coverage was limited.

The GNC event in Knoxville, Tennessee had at least 250 commuters who were forced to sleep under a nearby bridge due to rain.

The GNC in Providence, Rhode Island was held at the Bank of America Skating Center, an outdoor public ice rink, in Kennedy Plaza. Most media coverage was diverted to a mill fire in nearby Woonsocket; the sole news clip erroneously claimed that the event supported children in Nigeria.

The GNC in Lansing, Michigan was held at Hawk Island County Park. There were more than 400 people in attendance to support the Invisible Children cause. After many attempts to contact the local media, it proved unsuccessful. The weather was cold and wet.

The GNC in Eugene, Oregon was held at Northwest Christian College in the courtyard. More than 200 people came. The media were not present.

The GNC in Orlando, Florida was held at Trotter's Park and had over 1200 people in attendance. There was media coverage that made the front page of Local & State of the Orlando Sentinel, Central Florida News Channels 35 and 9, as well as the Caribbean Sun.

The GNC in Columbia, Missouri was attended by approximately 300 people. The weather was cold and very wet, with the overnighters sleeping in a parking garage. Despite the public awareness the event raised, there was very little media coverage.

The GNC in Dallas, Texas had around 800 people who walked almost six miles. There was media coverage and sprinklers came on during the middle of the night. This forced them to move from the baseball field to the parking lot, but didn't stop their spirits.

The GNC in Houston, Texas was held at Rice University. While local news organizations were notified in advance, few if any provided media coverage of this event.

The GNC in Austin, Texas was held starting at the University of Texas at Austin campus and ending at the Texas Capitol building. Featured in the Austin American Statesman and some news coverage. It was very cold that night and State Troopers regularly patrolled the Capitol Grounds to regulate the commuters. It was forbidden to sleep and commuters were required to leave sleeping bags at the gate.

The GNC in Lincoln, Nebraska was held on Centennial Mall (the mall in front of the State Capitol Building). More than 700 people were in attendance. There was extensive media coverage and several elected officials, including Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, made appearances.

The GNC in Topeka, Kansas was held on the State Capitol Lawn. Participants walked from Washburn University to the Capitol lawn. There was media coverage of the event and a number of speakers. Due to rain, the commuters were relocated to a nearby parking garage to sleep for the night.

The GNC in Chico, California was held at Neighborhood Church. About 350 people did the walk together. The walk was around 4.5 miles from a bank downtown.

The GNC in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma was held on the Oklahoma State's Capitol Lawn. Students ranging in age from elementary to college level came in masses, most of them walking the entire way. This was the biggest GNC in Oklahoma and included students from Oklahoma University, Oklahoma City University, and Oklahoma State University (many of whom walked the 68 mile journey)

The GNC in Boise, Idaho was held in a local school building. It was organized by ANSER Jr. High School students and was a huge success. The students walked five miles to the building, walking straight through downtown and other popular areas. They carried signs and informed many people of the Invisible Children.

The GNC in Washington, D.C. was held in John Marshall Memorial Park between the Canadian Embassy and the United States Courthouse along Pennsylvania Avenue, with 1,352 commuters in attendance. Although asked by the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia not to sleep in the park, this was not actively enforced and many people slept through the late night hours. Early the following morning, filmed by an Invisible Children Inc. organizer, the commuters marched a path by the art museums and to the United States Capitol where they stood for a group photograph before dispersing. The gathering there was watched closely by officers of the United States Capitol Police. The entire gathering was a peaceful one.

See also

*"Invisible Children"
*Lord's Resistance Army
*ChildVoice International


* [ World Magazine Article on Global Night Commute]

External links

* [ Invisible Children]

Event Photographs
* [ Flickr Collection]
* [ Vancouver, Canada]
* [ Columbia, South Carolina]
* [ Portland, Oregon]
* [ Washington DC]
* [ Kansas City]

* [ Students join Global Night Commute in Washington, D.C.] , "The Johns Hopkins News-Letter"

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