by Will Henderson
The world isn’t always the safest place, just ask artist and colorist Chris Sotomayor. He and his wife, to keep their daughters safe, have bought them personal (rape) alarms and bulletproof backpack inserts.
But there’s only so much a parent can do to protect his or her child, especially from sexual assault.
Sotomayor, while talking to members of his family and to friends, realized most people he knows has experienced some type of sexual assault. And it was with this in mind that he decided to donate a portion of each sale he made at NYCC to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).
“The idea came from Bon Alimagno, a friend of mine who was raising money for RAINN on Facebook,” Sotomayor said. “I researched the organization, found out that one of my wife’s friends had been involved with RAINN for several years, and [raising] money for them was a no-brainer.”
RAINN is the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the country. The organization created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with more than 1,000 sexual assault providers across the country. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help survivors, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.
During the four-day convention, Sotomayor raised more than $900 for RAINN, though he intends to donate an even $1,000 to the organization.
During the convention, he was surprised that some men “turned up their noses after reading signs I posted about RAINN, but the women and fathers walking around more than made up for it.
“I probably didn’t make any more than I usually do at NYCC,” he said, “but I was happy to raise awareness and let people know that there comics, and professionals in the business, can do good things.”
Andy Schmidt, who runs ComicsExperience.com, saw Sotomayor’s initial post on his Facebook page announcing his plans to raise money RAINN, and Schmidt worked out with Source Point Press plans to donate 30 percent of any Comics Experience title sales to RAINN.
In a statement issued last week, Schmidt said that he and Travis McIntire at Source Point Press decided to donate a portion of its NYCC sales “to help assist women who are victims of sexual assault, and to help educate communities on how to prevent sexual assaults in their areas.”
Though Sotomayor was not already a RAINN supporter prior to NYCC, he said he will be going forward.
“We’ll put this organization on our list of charities we privately support, unless we do another fundraiser, then it will be a little more public.”
This year’s NYCC is not the first time Sotomayor has donated a portion of his sales to a charity. In 2017, he donated 50 percent of his total sales to relief efforts in Puerto Rico, in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Along with the $800 he raised at NYCC, he also took part in three benefit comics projects to support hurricane relief efforts.
He said he intends to pick a different charity to support at NYCC 2019.