In this week’s special edition of Illustrated PEN, Guest Editor Meg Lemke presents “Lines Drawn”—a series of illustrated responses, by parents and educators, to caring for children in an era of continued school shootings.
Meg Lemke writes: April 20 was the 19th anniversary of the Columbine high school massacre. CNN reported on that day that so far in 2018, the United States had experienced weekly school shootings that injured or killed someone. Some make national headlines; others, like gang-related violence, often don’t.
Now the generation that grew up after Columbine is having children; some have become educators. Guns and violence and lockdowns and fear have become an everyday part of the American educational experience.
This is not acceptable. Young people are standing up, fighting back, and speaking out to legislators and law enforcement. [Editor’s Note: Learn more about some of these young activists who are exercising their free expression in order to demand substantive change, and who will receive this year‘s PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award.] But what about the adults in the room?
“Lines Drawn” is a narrative response by a collective of parents and teachers using comics and graphic pieces to illustrate how they, as adults, feel and try to take responsibility for the care and safety of children and youth in an age of continued school shootings.
Previously published (and continuing in subsequent issues) on MUTHA Magazine, this series was created with the goal of adding “momentum to the groundswell of students demanding solutions to end gun violence, not only in schools, but as related to police shootings of people of color, and the criminalization of African Americans.”
The collective includes Emilie Bess, Adam Bessie, Amy Camber, Sarah Romano Diehl, Ellen Forney, Robyn Jordan, David Lasky, Meredith Li-Vollmer, Mita Mahato, Rachel Masilamani, Annie Murphy, Amy Ongiri, Marc Parenteau, and Rachel Scheer. It’s a growing force; these pieces open up the topic, and more is to come.