The Pop Culture Hero Coalition is a non-profit organisation in the United States dedicated to overcoming bullying and various other forms of hate in our society using examples of heroism in media and fiction, and helping those affected to move on with their lives. Although bullying is most often associated with children and the Coalitions work is thus primarily concerned with resolving the causes of bullying at a young age they also recognise that the effects of bullying can stay with the victim throughout their adult life, and are dedicated to providing support and therapy for people of all ages.
Created in 2013 by actress and healer Chase Masterson along with co-founders Carrie Goldman and Matt Langdon the Pop Culture Hero Coalition was founded to tackle the very real problems of bullying, be it in school or online, among children or adults. Using examples of heroism in pop culture TV or movies or comics the Coalition aims to show kids that bullying is never the answer, and to inspire them to follow the examples of their pop culture heroes. In essence, the Coalition asks a simple question; why be a Darth Vader when you can be a Luke Skywalker or a Rey?
It was Star Wars that indirectly led to the Coalitions founding, when Carrie discovered her daughter was being bullied for being a fan of the films by kids who believed the franchise was only for boys. Her work resolving the situation led to her writing a book; Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear, and it was while writing that book that Carrie and Chase came into contact with the result being the eventual formation of the Coalition. The first major anti-bullying program to reach out to a pop culture audience, the Coalition not only seeks to use media as a tool to discourage bullying and various other forms of hate but also to use examples of heroism in television and film to encourage people to take a stand against bullying for themselves.
Chase explains; “We love pop culture stories for a reason: because deep down, we hear the call to do heroic things, not just watch them. To stand up for the powerless. To create a platform for the voiceless. To bring justice. And equality. To recognize every human being has the same innate value and rights as any other. That’s what this genre is about. We all love superheroes why not be one in real life?”
Over the last few years Chase and Carrie have given talks and presentations throughout the United States spreading the messages of love compassion and acceptance that the Coalition is founded on. Theyve also hosted panels at several of the major comic conventions in the United States and have been able to include special guests from the world of TV and film like John Barrowman, Joe Gatto and Jane Espenson, as well as other experts from many different professions who have experience in the effects of bullying. By presenting such a diverse group of actors psychologists and authors, each with their own stories to tell, these panels aim to show that anybody no matter how famous can have struggled with bullying and that everybody can get the healing they need thanks to movements like this.
In addition to appearing at conventions the Coalition works directly with schools too, preparing classroom presentations and programs with expert psychologists and other relevant professionals that will directly engage with the problems of bullying on a case-by-case basis, be that an entire school or just a single child. They are also working with representatives of the NOH8 Campaign, the Anti-Defamation League and the United Nations in order to be able to provide the very best approach possible to resolving the issues and effects of bullying and hate in all forms, and continue to reach out to other major organisations in order to continue this important work. The Coalition is also associated with several media groups such as Cartoon Network, the Whedonopolis website and convention, and the Star Trek Online gaming community (who recently ran a campaign that raised nearly $55,000 to support the projects efforts).
Since this is a non-profit organisation run by volunteers giving their time any support you can give will be hugely appreciated. For more information you can visit the Pop Culture Hero Coalition website or their youtube channel, as well as follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you’d like to support the project directly you can donate through Paypal; even a small donation will go a long way.
Your support can and will make a difference to people whose lives have been affected by bullying.