Comic books gave rise to Superman and Wonder Woman — and are now giving voice to kids telling their own stories about immigration.
The local group Mighty Writers is helping Philadelphia Latino children create comics to express what it’s like to live while fearing a family member will be deported.
Students surround the tables at the Mighty Writers El Futuro location in South Philly. The tables are covered with paint sets, piles of colored paper, and thought bubbles to help the kids decorate their comic strips.
In some comics, President Donald Trump plays the fool who trips down the stairs. In another, he’s confronted by bears who want him to appreciate nature and discourage a border wall — and turn the president into a cornstalk.
But the majority of the stories kids tell are of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement taking away their parents.
Twelve-year-old Alan — we’re using first names only to avoid identifying families subject to deportation — is painting a clay character that will go with his comic strip, and cutting out background paper.
Alan said he enrolled because he wanted to know what to do in case ICE comes and takes his family, even though the classes really are not about that.
“Before coming here, taking the classes, I was very scared,” he said. “I would usually dream about it. And I would, like, wake up very scared, go into my mom’s room and seeing if she’s fine. I’m mostly worried about my family being separated, because I’ve experienced that, like, three times or two.”
Alan said since he’s been coming to the workshop, he’s stopped having those nightmares, especially about his mom and baby sister who’ll be born next month.
“When I came here, [workshop leader] Nora [Litz] told us to draw what we feel and what we think,” the sixth-grader said.
By SARA HOOVER for newsworks.org
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