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September 21, 2023

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Campaign promotes peace through conversation

Not many people wear whistles as accessories, but some who do wear them to raise awareness.

Organized through Net Impact, the Falling Whistles campaign at the University promotes peace and discussion about peace.

“The Falling Whistles campaign is a campaign to promote peace in the Congo and to create a global network for whistles blowers for peace,” said junior Justin Gramely, a member of the campaign at the University.

Centered on the wars in Congo, the Falling Whistles campaign calls attention to the children soldiers who are too small to carry guns, but were given whistles instead to blow and call attention to themselves on the front lines and act as human shields in combat.

A country rich in tin and metal, the Congo is full of natural resources that are used to make iPhones, televisions and fridges.

The war in the Congo began when the American Industrial Revolution started. But since 1996, six million people have died in the Congo.

When the founder of the campaign went to the Congo and saw what was happening to the children, he started a business to call attention to the war in the Congo. His business plan was centered on selling jewelry that stands out and draws attention and discussion to what is happening in the Congo.

“When someone purchases a whistle, the money goes to keeping the business sustainable; it goes into investing in different partnerships,” Chelsea Burbridge said. “Typically, the partnerships are people who grew up in the Congo and want to make a positive difference.”

The campaign is described as a worldwide, silent protest of whistle blowers around the world.

“It’s a jewelry piece you don’t see people typically wearing. So when you come up to me and ask me ‘hey, what’s that whistle around your neck?’ It creates honest conversation versus someone yelling down the street,” Gramely said.

Leaders from Rwanda fight about how to outsource the metals, while countries like America take the metal and make money. They’re not willing to risk their partnerships, Burbridge said.

The goal of Falling Whistles is to have a conflict-free supply chain.

“Our goal is to have these resources outsourced in a more productive way, where they aren’t killing people and without conflict,” said sophomore Kaylin Marely.

Globally, Falling Whistles has over 100,000 whistle blowers, while the University has its own community of whistle blowers who meet and talk openly about the Congo.

“One point I think it’s important to say . . . for World War II, when things were going on in Germany with the Jewish people and Hitler, no one knew about [in] in America initially, until people spread awareness. That’s what we’re doing,” Marely said.

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