What does it take to be a super hero?  What should it mean for the average person NOT from a distant star, or bitten by some radioactive arachnid, or in a laboratory accident to take on the role of hero?  Thankfully, we’ve got the answer for you.

Silicon Valley Comic Con had a plethora of excellent options for panel goers, including the Pop Culture Hero Coalition panel hosted by the lovely Chase Masterson.

Masterson is the founder of the Coalition that focuses it’s efforts on a strikingly inspiring anti-bullying campaign, was joined by a bevy of people working to improve the world through many ways. On the panel were Jesse Hansen of Kiva, Gale Karen Young of Wikimedia, Angelo Alcid – lawyer, geek, gamer, a representative for Amnesty International, and Nichelle Nichols herself.

The panel focused on using the characteristics of Superheroes that we all know and love to make the world a better, more safe place in our real lives. They showed a short video, inspiring people to stand up for themselves against bullying in much the same way Spiderman and other comic book heroes have done.

Nichols (who played Lieutenant Uhura in Star Trek the original series) had plenty to say about standing up for yourself and changing the world. She told stories about meeting Martin Luther King Jr., who told her “You’ve changed the face of television forever” when she was one of the only black women on the small screen in a leading role.

The panelists were passionate about ways you can make a difference in the world by using the internet as a tool in your daily life. They spoke of ways you can help those that are wrongfully imprisoned in other countries by sending your letters, emails or tweets to petition for individuals at risk to be released from prison via Amnesty International. Just because you don’t have super strength, doesn’t mean you can’t lend a hand to people that need help. Being a superhero in real life can be as simple as a tweet or a signature on a page.

Hansen suggested donating to Kiva, an online loaning site for small business owners around the world with an astonishing 98% repay rate. Any amount donated can go to the entrepreneur of your own choosing,  you can help farmers that need a loan for a new tractor, or you can choose to loan to a seamstress that needs a new machine. All loans are paid back and you can continue to reinvest that money to other borrowers indefinitely. We may not all be billionaire’s like Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne, but any small amount can help someone in another country to better their circumstances for the rest of their lives.

“Real life interception of bullying ceases the conflict in 6 seconds 90% of the time…Hurt people hurt people and healed people heal people.”  – said Masterson.

Masterson brought the panel to the topic of bullying and the increasing concern around online bullying. Many of us that identify as geeky or nerdy, had to deal with our fair share of bullying growing up, as did plenty of the superheroes that we looked up to as kids and still look up to today. As part of the “Pop Culture Hero Coalition”, Masterson encourages people to stand up for others in their daily lives in much the same way that Captain America or Spider-Man would.

Not many of us can claim Gamma Rays as our defense against Bullying, but there is absolutely no reason why a single voice couldn’t be just as powerful a tool for change.





ABOUT >> Gwendolyn Reza
  • ACCOUNT NAME >> gwendies
  • BIO >> Gwendolyn Reza is a lifelong science fiction and fantasy lover based out of San Francisco, California. She loves books, both comic and otherwise, punk rock and all things wild.
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