Funded! This project was successfully funded on December 24, 2012.

Update #9

Milestone for Abolitionista!

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Hello Abolitioniista backers,

It's been a while since you've heard from me, and honestly, I've been embarrassed to send you an update. Embarrassed because we are so far past our deadline.  I apologize to you and promise you that I'm doing everything I can to bring this project to print and get a copy of the comic book to you.  I heard from our artist today and she only has 10 pages to shade and add screen tones to!  After that, we have some easy non-illustrated pages to knock out, and then the comic book will be ready for the printer.  Then once it's back from the printer, we'll put a stamp on it and send it to you.   https://scontent-a-lga.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/t1/1601201_10151898511043342_305834166_n.jpg

In the mean time, I'm glad to report that we had a really big week in the project as a whole.  I’d written ABOLITIONISTA! with input from the FBI, from the Mayor’s office, and several organizations that fight human trafficking, but until this week, no young people--our intended audience--had seen the comic book. (Hopefully, our older supporters will also like the comic book.) I xeroxed a prototype and delivered it to the school on Wednesday after our big snow storm to get their feedback. I was terrified that after all the work we’d done that young readers might find it slow, difficult, or worse, boring. https://scontent-b-lga.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/1622272_10151898519358342_942971790_n.jpg

The 28 students at Bea Fuller Roger Intermediate School 528 had already read the comic book by the time I entered their 7th grade class room. I was mobbed. They bombarded me with questions. “Is Jess still free?” “What happens to Gabriella?” “Is Delilah on YouTube?” The characters in the comic book had become unexpectedly real to them...much more real then they were to me. They were quoting the the comic book verbatim, asking what was going to happen to the characters next, and when the next volume would come out. “Gloria” wrote about the comic book, “I love the lessons, the suspense, the action, mostly everything but most importantly the words, the clues.” https://scontent-b-lga.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/1743679_10151898527158342_1466288630_n.jpg

“Elliot” wrote about the comic book, “I love it!!!!! LOL. It’s perfect. I hope there are 10 volumes. Cuz I love this. Tip: The author is cool and yeah popular!!” “Carrie” gave it a 5 star rating. https://scontent-a-lga.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/1010091_10151898528843342_1006802489_n.jpg

“Aaron” wasn’t supposed to be in this class, but when he found out that there was going to be a comic book presentation, this young artist talked his way out of two of his regular classes to be with us. https://fbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/1622814_10151898535993342_542307686_n.jpg

When asked how a recruitment conversation by a predator might go, Arianna wrote, “He say, Oh, I’ll help you. I love you. You could be mine. We’ll be together forever. Your dream will come true. I’ll dress you everything you wish.” She also wrote, “I relate because half my friends get so brainwashed because they really want to stay with their boy. They think he’s the first one, maybe not another one after him.” Several of the kids said that they had seen the same story (a young woman running away from home and being trafficked by a predator that pretends to be her boyfriend) happen in real life. https://scontent-a-lga.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc3/t1/1559753_10151898541723342_869006757_n.jpg

“Eric” wrote, “I want my friends to read it. It would teach them what to do in a tight situation and would teach them how to get out of it.” On the questionnaire they were all able to identify examples of recruitment conversations. https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/1551713_10151898543178342_2083073226_n.jpg

We did an exercise where all the students turned to a partner and named five adults they could go to for help to get out of trouble. In addition to their parents and teachers, many students decided to name me. (An honor.) Several others included the C.I.A. in their list. https://fbcdn-sphotos-d-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/t1/1013182_10151898546908342_1068041297_n.jpg

“Edgar’s” hand had been on his forehead when he raised it to make a comment, “I’m getting the idea that Delilah’s home might not have been very good.” This was actually backstory (hidden in the pages of the comic book), with a few vague clues scattered here and there. I was astonished by this kind of perception which was consistent throughout the program. I concluded that they had put me in an advanced class, but later their teacher, Marissa Defranca, hinted that her class was a little under reading level, and about 4 of the students didn’t even speak English. I couldn’t believe how sharp and savvy these kids were. https://scontent-b-lga.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/t1/1660382_10151898549338342_1577374469_n.jpg

When asked how to get out of a situation with a predator, “Ryan” wrote, “It’s helpful to know what to do if some strange dude speaks to me. I learn I can run, run and tell someone. And if they say that they know someone from my family I will tell them to Pruve it.” https://scontent-b-lga.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc3/t1/1533954_10151898553958342_1769539931_n.jpg

“Maria” wrote, “This comic book helped me by warning me the sings [signs] of someone wanting to touch you, acuse you, and abuse you.” Muriel wrote, “Jess [the predator] said it’s better to date older mens. Jess said he loved Delilah. Jess also told Eden he can make dreams come true...” https://scontent-b-lga.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc3/1655922_10151898558513342_1260586624_n.jpg

Their remarkable teacher, Marissa Defranca, said she was amazed how focused they stayed for the full hour and a half. https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/1546408_10151898564013342_1103587095_n.jpg

With unending support by my friend Anastasia Louka who has a PhD in Psychometrics (psychological surveys). She helped me create the questionnaire and ran the PowerPoint presentation. Just knowing she was there put me at ease. THANK YOUhttps://scontent-a-lga.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/t1/1601261_10151898566433342_1984894903_n.jpg

 The dream team: from the left, their teacher, Marissa Defranca. Then their principal Kristy Dela Cruz, who the kids name as one of the people they would contact if they needed help getting out of trouble and is also referred to as, “the best principal” in one questionnaire. Then, me. Finally, on the right, Anastasia Louka, who gives me non-stop encouragement. https://scontent-b-lga.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc1/1003405_10151898568598342_972451295_n.jpg

Fashion photographer, and friend, Justin Shockley, took these amazing pictures.

Gabriel Meunier, kathy murphy, and 2 more people like this update.

Comments

    1. Missing_small

      Creator Dan Priest on January 26

      Sounds like it is worth the wait!

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