Ahead of the National School Walkout and the March for Our Lives, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and National Coalition Against Censorship Release a Comic Book to Help Protect Students’ Rights
March 12, 2018


March 12, 2018 — As millions of American students assert their First Amendment rights in protests across the country, advocacy groups Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and National Coalition Against Censorship today 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. Be Heard! is available for free from CBLDF & NCAC, who encourage readers to share it freely and broadly in advance of the National School Walkout on March 14, the March for Our Lives on March 24 and local protests across the country.


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.”


Gene Luen Yang, whose distinctions include recognition as a MacArthur Fellow, the fifth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature and author of graphic novels including American Born Chinese says, “A Chinese poet once described free expression as the mother of truth.  In our age of fake news, speaking truth to power is more important than ever. This comic is a valuable guide that teaches students how to ensure their truth is heard.”


“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,” said Abena Hutchful, coordinator of NCAC’s Youth Free Expression Program and Kids’ Right to Read Project. “We hope that teachers will engage with their students in productive ways and we want to make sure that students know what is–and is not–protected protest speech in schools.”

Be Heard! is available as a free download at CBLDF.org and NCAC.org, and through their social media channels. Follow #StudentsBeHeard for updates.


For Additional Information Contact:

Charles Brownstein, CBLDF, charles.brownstein@cbldf.org, (971) 266-8212

Nora Pelizzari, NCAC, nora@ncac.org, Office (212) 807-6222, ext. 105 |  Mobile (708) 805-8289


About Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF)


Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization protecting the freedom to read comics! We provide legal aid to readers, creators, librarians, retailers, publishers, and educators who face the threat of censorship. We monitor legislation and challenge laws that would limit the First Amendment. We create resources that promote understanding of comics and the rights our community is guaranteed. Every day we publish news and information about censorship events as they happen. We are partners in the Kids’ Right to Read Project and Banned Books Week. Our expert legal team is available to respond to First Amendment emergencies at a moment’s notice. CBLDF is a lean organization that works hard to protect the First Amendment. 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. Through its Youth Free Expression Program and Kids’ Right to Read Project, NCAC advocates for the rights of students to speak, learn and create freely. NCAC works with schools, teachers, parents and students to combat incidences of censorship, encourage policies that support free expression and offer guidance on navigating free speech concerns. 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. Kai’s passion for video game design shows in her character driven designs. Her art has been published in zines and anthologies such as Our Beloved Monsters. Kai sells her work at comic and anime conventions, and enjoys costume-making on the side. Cosplay is another creative passion of hers brought on by her love of video games. View more of Kai’s work at https://www.kaitexel.com.


Daniel Pickett
Daniel “Julius Marx” Pickett has been around toys his whole life. The first line he ever collected was Mego’s World’s Greatest Super Heroes line back in the 70s. He has been surrounded by collectables ever since. In 1999 he was confounded by a lack of information and news about some of his favorite toy lines he was collecting. Since he couldn’t find the information he decided to pursue it himself thinking other people might also be interested in the same news. He started writing a weekly column on the toy industry and action figure for a toy news site and in a years time he tripled the sites daily traffic with his updates, reviews and product features. He built relationships with every major toy manufacturer and many sculptors, painters and mold makers. He grew his hobby into a world wide expertise that the industry has embraced. In 2004 he teamed up with his toy buddy Jason “ToyOtter” Geyer and they created their own website www.ActionFigureInsider.com. Daniel has been quoted in both industry and mass media press outlets. Over the years Daniel and AFi have been sought out as experts in the field. Daniel was regularly featured on “Attack of the Show” on the G4 network as the primary contributor to their “Mint On Card” segment, and our front page has been linked to from USA Today’s “Pop Candy” Blog twice. Daniel’s content has also been featured on MSNBC.com, Wired.com, Fark.com, Boing-Boing, Gizmodo.com, Ain’t It Cool News, the Official Star Wars blog, Geekologie, G4, CNet and Toy Fare magazine, among many others. He has consulted on toy lines, books, documentaries and TV shows. But all of that really just sounds snooty and “tootin’ his own horn” – the long and short of it is that Daniel loves toys and he LOVES talking about them.
Read other articles by Daniel Pickett.




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