Over the next few weeks, two national events will take place to help put pressure on our elected officials to enact legislation to combat gun violence. Organized in part by the student survivors of the horrific Florida high school shooting, the National School Walk Day is scheduled for Wednesday, March 14 with the national March for Our Lives happening on March 24.
For some, this may represent their first time participating in a protest setting or exercising their First Amendment rights. To help students learn about their rights as citizens during protest the advocacy groups Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and National Coalition Against Censorship released a new comic book to help protect students’ rights. Be Heard! is a free comic by cartoonist Kai Texel that outlines best practices to help kids assert their rights to speech, protest, assembly and petition, warns about risks, and provides resources to get more help.
You can download the comic here, but we’ve also provided it below:
Judy Blume, a member of the NCAC Board of Directors says, “This comic book feels just right. It’s so important to support and encourage kids on issues that affect their own lives and their country.”
Neil Gaiman, who co-chairs CBLDF’s advisory board notes, “In the US, freedom of speech is paramount. The First Amendment states that you can’t be arrested for saying things the government doesn’t like. It’s important that students everywhere know that they have the right to be heard. This comic will help provide them with practical tools to raise their voice.”
Honestly, this is a great primer about protesting for both kids and adults. The guide lays it all out in easy-to-read language, removing the legal jargon that tends to confuse everyone. Be Heard! lets readers know what kinds of speech are protected and which aren’t. That’s useful information to have in your back pocket regardless of whether or not you plan to participate in the upcoming protests and rallies.
About Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF)
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization protecting the freedom to read comics! We are partners in the Kids’ Right to Read Project and Banned Books Week. For more information, visit www.cbldf.org.
About National Coalition Against Censorship
The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) is an alliance of 56 national non-profit organizations dedicated to defending freedom of thought, inquiry and expression for over 40 years. Visit us at ncac.org.
About Kai Texel
Kai Texel is a New Jersey based cartoonist and illustrator. Her clients include Felix the Cat Productions, Dulce Channel, and her work has been featured on CBS. View more of Kai’s work at https://www.kaitexel.com.
Andrea Ayres writes about comics and representation in pop-culture.