This comic breaks down student protesters’ rights ahead of National School Walkout for gun control
Texel partered with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) and National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) to launch Be Heard! — a free educational comic book that seeks to inform students of the best practices to carry out while protesting, peacefully assembling, and asserting their First Amendment rights.
The nationwide school and university walkout will take place on the one-month anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.
To honor the 17 lives of those killed in the shooting, students, teachers, and faculty members have been invited to leave their buildings on Wednesday for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. local time.
To ensure students are prepared to engage in the public display of action, Texel’s comic reviews the dos and don’ts of sign-making, gathering, and school policies that are often overlooked. The artwork warns about the common risks that face students who engage in protests, and highlights the rights to free speech held by each individual.
“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,” Judy Blume, beloved children’s book author and member of the NCAC Board of Directors, said in a press release.
Abena Hutchful, coordinator of NCAC’s Youth Free Expression Program and Kids’ Right to Read Project added: “Whether students choose to participate in this national movement or not, whether they walk out into the hallway or march to their Senator’s office, whether they wear orange or write an op-ed for the school paper, this moment is the ultimate First Amendment lesson.”
Be Heard! ends with written guidelines that can further help students determine which protest practices are safe and which are risky, along with a list of resources to obtain additional information.
The comic, which is meant to be shared far and wide, can be downloaded for free at CBLDF.org, NCAC.org, or via the organization’s social media channels. Those looking to stay updated on the students’ efforts can also follow the hashtag #StudentsBeHeard for updates.