politics

This Comic Book Makes Deportation Less Scary For Kids

The U.S. is a scary place for Latinos right now. Immigrants are regularly the victims of hate speech, discrimination and crime. Laws are being proposed to strip them of their rights and undocumented immigrants are being targeted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for deportation, separating them from their families.

While it’s frightening for all affected, it could all be especially scary and hard to understand for kids. So artist, educator and activist, Vicko Alvarez, created “Rosita Gets Scared.”

Rosita Gets Scared/Scholar Comics

The comic book, which comes in English and Spanish versions, aims to help children who are immigrants or have immigrant parents understand and talk about deportation, and the fear and discrimination they experience as a result of it.

It centers around a little girl named Rosita, who comes from “muy, muy, muuuuyyyy lejos.” Rosita has a hard time acclimating to the new language she has to learn, the cultural customs of her new country and the environment she now lives in. She faces teasing at school and sees her neighbor, Mr. Vidal, get taken away by ICE. This leads her mother to keep her from playing outside because it’s too dangerous.

This, of course, makes Rosita incredibly frightened, confused and sad — emotions many immigrant children can relate to.

Rosita Gets Scared/Scholar Comics

“I’m very interested in social and emotional learning. I realized there isn’t too much of that for kids of color,” says Alvarez, who’s studying to be a teacher and worked as an organizer within immigrant and refugee communities. “For example, there’s literature out there that talks about feelings and fear, but it’s more generalized fear, like of whats under the bed. I feel we have to be more specific, especially with kids of color and the children of immigrants, because their fears come from different realities. We don’t address that.”

Through Rosita’s story, children and parents can open up a discussion about deportation. They can talk about the feelings that surround it with the aid of activities included in the comic book.

Rosita Gets Scared/Scholar Comics

The book also includes a section on what to do if approached by ICE or other officials.

Alvarez, whose own parents came to the U.S. from Mexico in the ’80s as undocumented immigrants, thinks “Rosita Gets Scared” and her first comic book, “Scholar Gets Angry,” can be useful tools for emotional learning. The character Scholar also appears in “Rosita Gets Scared” as the friend that lends Rosita support at school.

Scholar Gets Angry/Scholar Comics

The next step is to share “Rosita Gets Scared” with organizations that work with communities and individuals facing threats of deportation so they can use it in children’s storytelling sessions.

“It’s about making these emotions not just acceptable but more comfortable so kids know how to manage them in the future,” Alvarez explains.

Next, she’ll be working on a comic about a little boy with a very hard shell. Through that story, Alvarez hopes to tackle the culture of masculinity imposed on small boys, who are taught to not seek support or share when their emotions.

You can read the comics at scholarcomics.com or follow them on Facebook.


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Real-Life Superheroine Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is The Star Of A New Comic Book

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Real-Life Superheroine Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is The Star Of A New Comic Book

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has been the conversation on everyone’s lips since she unseated 10-term incumbent Joseph Crowley last June. The youngest woman in Congress’s heroic win, progressive proposals, clever clapbacks and unapologetic style choices have been the center of countless thought pieces and a $10 million Netflix documentary, so it comes with little surprise that she’s now the star of a new comic book.

Last month, Devil’s Due Comics announced the one-off commemorative comic Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Freshman Force: New Party Who Dis? The comic anthology, which will also include appearances from fellow newschool congressional badasses like Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) or Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), will feature fun, straight-forward satire, reflective and celebratory stories as well as pieces publisher and artist Josh Blaylock has called “absurd.”

“I don’t know if someone can give me a better example of someone in politics to make a comic about. Whether she intended to or not, she’s bringing a heroic energy into Congress,” Blaylock told FIERCE.

For the owner of the Chicago-based independent publishing company, Ocasio-Cortez is sparking new life into Washington.

“Beyond just the current insanity of the polarized left and right politics, AOC, and some of the new members of Congress, are going in there and calling out important issues that both sides have been ignoring for far too long. It’s almost like a family intervention: we’re coming in, the younger kids, and shutting the establishment down,” he said.

This isn’t the first time Blaylock’s comics have gotten political. In 2009, he worked on the mini-series Barack the Barbarian, a four-issue comic about former President Barack Obama, and also published comics on the Armenian Genocide and cryptocurrency.

Devil’s Due Comics

“I’m creating supernatural, fantastical stories of action, and every now and then there’s something of the real world that grabs you and won’t let you go,” he said.

Blaylock is intrigued by the way Ocasio-Cortez refuses to tiptoe around issues that are devastating our country, and world, and cutting through the establishment’s “BS” to actually solve problems, all while also ensuring that Latinxs are no longer represented as a one-issue monolith.

Her story — fresh, energetic, inspiring and historic — makes it ideal for a comic book, he said.

“There’s something specific about the comic book medium that can communicate like no other book can. It’s not just prose. It’s not just looking at a piece of art. The piecing isn’t controlled the same as a film is. There’s something about a sequential art medium, something that happens between the panels as you are reading it that the arts, word, can’t give you,” Blaylock said. “Also, in a lot of ways, we’re just having fun here. It’s a way for people to vent and get their expression out, and capture this lightning in the bottle moment into a nice package that people can resonate with right now and years from now look back on it and how it captures what the world was feeling at this time.”

The comic will have two different covers. The first shows Ocasio-Cortez donning a suffragette white suit while holding her cellphone on top of a defeated GOP red elephant while a blue Democrat donkey stares anxiously behind her. In the second, she’s wearing a Wonder Woman–inspired “Washington Warrior” costume.

News of the comic has also made its way to the star, who shared her appreciation.

“It’s certainly an honor that people would put so much of their time and talent into that all on their own, and I’m especially honored that they’re donating the proceeds,” the Bronx Boricua told TMZ.

Partial proceeds will go to RAICES, an advocacy group in Texas fighting for the protection and civil rights of immigrants, as well as a charity for military veterans.

The comic book, releasing May 15, is available for preorder for $5.99.

Read: Democrats Are Turning Their Backs On Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

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After A Judge Ordered Activist Ale Pablos’ Deportation, Thousands Sign Petition Urging Arizona Governor For A Pardon

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After A Judge Ordered Activist Ale Pablos’ Deportation, Thousands Sign Petition Urging Arizona Governor For A Pardon

On Tuesday, an Arizona judge handed immigration and reproductive rights activist Alejandra Pablos an order of deportation almost one year after she was arrested during a protest in Virginia. But, with resistance running through her veins, neither she nor her community plan to stop fighting.

Later the same day, a petition sponsored by Keep Ale Free calling on Gov. Doug Ducey to grant a pardon for an 8-year-old DUI arrest that placed her into deportation proceedings began circulating throughout social media, already garnering 17,180 signatures in three days. It’s just 8,420 short of its 25,600 goal.

“Getting a pardon from the Governor is [Pablos’] last chance to stay in the U.S. with her family and community,” the petition reads. “Alejandra has been a staunch advocate for immigration reform and criminal justice reform, and shares America’s vision of seeing our communities thrive. We need more leaders like Alejandra here and not separated from her family and loved ones.”

While immigration falls under federal jurisdiction, supporters are hoping a gubernatorial pardon would remove Judge Thomas Michael O’Leary’s reason for deportation.

In 2013, three years after her arrest, Pablos, 33, was apprehended at a routine check-in with her probation officer. She spent the next two years in detention at an Arizona immigration facility.

“I’ve taken responsibility for my mistakes, but when is it enough? I’ve completed my sentences, I’ve turned my life around and transformed myself into someone who works every day to help others — but when is it enough,” the Nogales, Mexico-born, Arizona-raised legal resident, who is out on bond, told the Washington Post.

She said her time in detention changed her forever, leaving her with a yearning to help others in similar circumstances she’s since overcome.

For the past two years, she’s done just that. Relocating to the Washington, DC area, Pablos has worked at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, where she has organized rallies and trainings on reproductive justice, immigration rights and how the two intersect for immigrant women in the country.

It was during a January peaceful protest against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids outside the Department of Homeland Security in Virginia that Pablos was arrested again, reliving a nightmare she thought was behind her. While Pablos was soon released, she was once more apprehended during a routine check-in with ICE back home in Arizona and detained for 43 days.

This time, Pablos felt she was targeted for being vocal about immigration, believing agents were trying to “intimidate us and silence us,” claims ICE officials have denied.

On Tuesday, when Pablos was petitioning for asylum, fearing threat of violence for her activist work should she be forced to return to Mexico — the country she left as a child — she faced similar doubt. O’Leary, unconvinced that her safety was in danger in the southern country, denied her request, revoked her green card and ordered her deportation.

In addition to urging Ducey to pardon the activist through the petition, a power the governor has only utilized once in his four years in office, Pablos says she also plans to appeal the judge’s decision.

“La lucha sigue,” she said.

Sign the petition here.

Read: Latina Activist Alejandra Robles Is The Latest Immigrant Rights Organizer To Be Detained By ICE

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