Ellie Evangelista is a four-year-old Spider-Man fan. She wears the pajamas. She plays with the toys. She watches the cartoons with her mother. She wants to be Spider-Man.
But that changed when the boys at her pre-K school told her she couldn’t be Spider-Man, because Spider-Man is only for boys.
Her teachers did correct the boys, but Ellie was still a bit sad and confused, and her parents wanted to help. So, they posted a query to a local parenting email listserver, and, as the Internet is wont to do, it exploded. In a good way.
The solution: The Uptown Superhero Parade. Kids are invited to dress up as whatever superhero they like. Parents are invited to carry signs supporting Ellie and the idea of being whomever you want to be, not matter what anyone else says.
It takes place tomorrow, Sunday, at 11 AM in Bennett Park at 185th and Fort Washington Avenue in Manhattan.
I’d be marching in the parade if I could, but “big kids” usually tend to change the dynamic when they show up at playgrounds. (Yes, I have a superhero costume. I created my own character. Yeah, the cape is a bath towel. SO?)
But the 4-year-old kid who watched Spider-Man on PBS, who learned to read Spidey Super Stories comics, who ate the chewable vitamins, and swung from the weeping willow in the backyard? He’ll be there in spirit. Because pre-K kids are awesome, and if you give them the right encouragement and support, they become amazing teens and incredible adults!