ASK: ADRIENNE SIOUX KOOPERSMITH
on CAC: CARTOONISTS AGAINST CRIME ©1991
Creator’s Update: Tuesday, January 4, 2011 – 10:26 AM CST
I always felt that it’s the opportunity(ies) that a person is given that will determine what (if any) his/her lifestyle will be(come). Without a chance (at even ‘The Basics’ that life has to offer), there’s hardly a civil way for someone (who was not born with a silver spoon and/or even a spoon in their mouth) will achieve any goals, milestones, etc. in his/her life. Add to this scenario the stigma attached to Racism and even as we enter 2011, the jails and prisons across the world show that the line between the Have’s and the Have-Nots is still wide and undivided.
During college, I studied Criminology & Sociology at Washington University. Upon moving to Chicago in the late Spring of 1974, I was to learn through experience, the best teacher, that Crime can and does happen to all of us. No one is immune from it and no one is immortal (as I had previously assumed for some unexplained reason). Life is a chance we take every day, upon waking.
After being violently assaulted, robbed and left-for-dead in the lobby of my apartment building on Monday, December 23, 1991 at 6 PM sharp, I was inspired by CAVE MAN NEVER©1990, a Cartoon Character I was creating to start a Humanitarian Crusade called: CARTOONISTS AGAINST CRIME ©1991 whereby Cartoonists, Illustrators & Graphic Artists (of every level) would help me to TOON OUT CRIME. After all, CAVE MAN NEVER saw the proliferation of the handgun; nor was he attacked in the lobby of his cave.
Although this Creative Endeavor was launched 3 years before I bought my first personal computer and 4 years before I hopped on to the Internet, because Crime Prevention was #1 on President Bill Clinton’s Agenda (due to my PRAM: Public Relations/Marketing/Advertising Savvy, ample doses of Artistic Flair and the fact that it was such a tragic yet newsworthy project), CAC rapidly grew into an International Club with people (from across the world) donating Cartoons in order to ‘SAVE A PRECIOUS LIFE.’
“After all,” I had stated in the vast amount of literature I was writing, “we may not all speak the same language, but the expression on a character’s face can speak for us. And that expression may help to save someone from a violent attack and/or hurtful experience.” That was the main purpose for the crusade. Three local Art Receptions at major venues were held through 1993 to promote and show how therapeutic the ARTS can be.
What really surprised and then totally interested me was that somehow my Requests for Toons was entering the U.S. Penal System and every so often via the mailman, I would receive a clump of cartoons stamped (from a penitentiary) created by a cell-mate who was remorseful that he (always a male in this case) had committed a crime. He sat down and diligently took time out and drew a few Cartoons for my Campaign. CAC was ‘working’ in ways I had never ever imagined it would do.
My parents and one of my mentors had always told me to ‘walk in the shoes of someone else to feel what he/she is feeling – to know what he/she is going through.’ Knowing that not all of us have the privileges of being White, well-educated, financially set and even witty and attractive, I felt sorry for those individuals who were targeted by society and those who were unjustly bigoted, thus at a disadvantage or any level where they thought they would have to stoop to committing a crime in order to get through the day. Of course, the dynamics of the war on drugs, gang recruitment and domestic violence are different than what I am citing, but the bottom line is that: Crime never goes away. Families suffer. People are hurting needlessly. “Even though it sounds horrific to say, because of their particular circumstances,” I felt, “sometimes the only way out to survive is lead a life of crime, until they are caught and incarcerated.”
TODAY: As We enter the Second Decade of 2011, crime is still making front page news as it buries people, found at the end of our newspapers in the obituary columns. Now upon CAC’s 20TH Year Anniversary (marked on Friday, December 23, 2011), it would be interesting to restart CARTOONISTS AGAINST CRIME ©1991 although funding to turn CAC into a non-profit may not be possible due to the economic downturn in America and the cutbacks Americans are feeling. This, too, adds fire to an ever-growing problem of how we can save others from not pursuing a Life of Crime that is glamorized by books, TV and the movies.
After all, if The Youth of Today can find Solace in The Creative Arts as I have via Cartooning & Writing and/or sports that gives them an active and physical outlet, then they would be less likely to pursue a Life of Crime, one that would totally scar their chances of ever pursuing a good life, one that we should all be privy to.
For those interested in helping me to reopen CAC files, contact me directly at:
This Essay has been posted on my Blog at: http://adriennesiouxkoopersmith.blogspot.com/
to generate further interest in a Campaign whose concern has always been ours.