A new comic from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and National Coalition Against Censorship aims to teach kids about one of the most important rights in the United States of America -- the right to free speech. The comic is titled Be Heard! and aims to teach children (and interested adults) about the best practices for asserting one’s right to speech, protest, assembly and petition.
Penned by Kai Texel, the comic also outlines potential risks while pointing to resources for readers to gather a more nuanced understanding of the right to free speech’s many intricacies. The comic book is free and downloadable from both the CBLDF and NCAC’s websites. Be Heard! is being released now in preparation for the National School Walkout and March for Our Lives events.
“This comic book feels just right,” Judy Blume, an NCAC Board of Directors member, said in a press releasae. “It’s so important to support and encourage kids on issues that affect their own lives and their country."
National School Walkout is part of the #Enough movement aimed at reducing gun violence in the United States. The school walkout will be held on March 14 at 10 a.m. and asks students and administrators to walkout of classes for 17 minutes as a show of solidarity for victims of gun violence, the most recent which being the 17 people killed by a gunman in Parkland, Florida.
March for Our Lives is a more centralized protest against gun violence that will be held on March 24 at 12:00 p.m. and begin at Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. between 3rd street and 12th street NW. The Washington, D.C. march is just one of many such events being held throughout the world. At the time of reporting, roughly 690 March for Our Lives marches have been confirmed worldwide.
“In the US, freedom of speech is paramount,” Co-chair of CBLDF's Advisory Board Neil Gaiman said. “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.”
Be Heard! can be downloaded in its entirety and for free at CBLDF.org and NCAC.org. Both organizations encourage march members to distribute the comic as freely and widely as they can. Additional updates about both marches and the comic can be followed at #StudentsBeHeard on social media.