Make Comics, Make Change: Ready for Flight

To see Talia’s comic, download the PDF at the bottom of this post.

If you’d asked me last year if I wanted to be a part of a comic book-making program, I would have said, “Me? Drawing?” And then chortled and choked on a sip of water. That’s because I’ve never been a visual arts person. At least, not since the first grade.

First grade was full of arts and crafts. I remember one day trying to draw a picture of a girl standing in the grass with the sky overhead. I added a flower to the squiggly green undergrowth. I even patterned the thin strip of blue with a few clouds. But when I tried to the draw the girl, her head always wound up in the sky with her feet dangling below her, never reaching the ground. Over and over I tried to draw her landed on the earth, but my brain couldn’t figure out how to do it. After that, I began focusing more on the performance side of art.

Sometimes I think that’s what activism can feel like: like you’re all alone with your head in the sky, dreaming of liberation, but your feet never quite reaching the ground. Or activism can feel like being a lonely artist unsure how to finish the drawing or reimagine success. Maybe things would have gone differently if someone had been there with me to say, “Sweetie that’s beautiful: you drew flight.”

That’s why at Ma’yan we believe in community. We believe that activism and feminism are about working and learning together to create the world we wish to see. So if you know any self-identified Jewish girls (8th-12th grade), please encourage them to apply to our 2016 That’s Not Fair! program.  Together we will learn about issues like, power, oppression, privilege and feminism, and create a comic book with our findings. So if they are the best artist you know or they stopped drawing in first grade, I hope they will apply. That way we can join together as a group of girls: our heads high in the clouds and our feet planted in the earth, ready for flight.


That’s Not Fair! will run for ten Thursday evenings from February-June 2016 at the JCC Manhattan. Cost: $300. No one turned away for lack of funds.  Apply online by November 9th.

The program will be led by comic-creator Jewels Smith.

Questions? Contact


Talia Cooper is Ma’yan’s program director. She can also be found playing music on Facebook and YouTube.

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