Free Comic Book Day with Bronx Heroes

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Author Julian Voloj, Ray Felix (Bronx Heroes), and Benjamin Melendez

In five days is Free Comic Book Day. If you are in New York, head up to the Bronx and join “Ghetto Brother” Benjamin Melendez and author Julian Voloj at the Bronx Library Center. Bronx Heroes and Lockett Down Productions have prepared a whole day of comics talks and workshops. Among the guests is Athena Finger whose grandfather Bill co-created Batman just around the corner. Benjy and Julian will do a signing from 1:30 to 3, and then be on a panel from 3 to 4.

Free Comic Book Day @ Bronx Library Center
310 E Kingsbridge Rd, Bronx, NY 10458

More info here.

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Publishers Weekly loves “Ghetto Brother”

 

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Publishers Weekly’s senior news editor Calvin Reid in conversation with Benjamin Melendez (photo by Julian Voloj)

During MoCCA Fest, Calvin Reid had a chance to talk to Benjamin Melendez about growing up in the Bronx and the events that led to the Hoe Avenue Peace Meeting. The interview can be found here.

Publishers Weekly recently named “Ghetto Brother” one of the “Best Summer Books, 2015“.

Ghetto Brother on BronxNet TV

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Last week, author Julian Voloj (left) joined Ray Felix (Bronx Heroes) and Regine Sawyer (Lockett Down Productions) to talk about the Bronx and Comics on Open/BronxNet TV. The show was hosted by Rhina Valentin (La Reina del Barrio).

If you are curious to see the show, click here. The comic segment starts at about 15 minutes.

Ghetto Brother will be available in May.

Helping the Community

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When people think about gangs in the Bronx, they think about violence. But the young kids involved with the Ghetto Brothers were not the savages the media presented, but young citizens who tried to better their community.

Bill Leicht, according to Benjy Melendez “the oldest Ghetto Brother”, has continued his path as a social worker and is until today involved in various projects including Peace Dojo, the Tricorner Peace Council, and Urban Visions. For Bill, showing youth alternatives to violence is a continuation of the work he did back in the day with the Ghetto Brothers.

In an email he writes to me:

For decades I’ve been saying I am continuing my work – as a Ghetto Brother. You are the first to take that seriously. The problem is prejudice. We all know youth gangs are — criminals — so society looks at us and our organizations with fear, loathing, and total inability to hear the message. That is bad for the street and it is bad for “society.” The work that you, Henry  Chalfant, Rita Fecher, Jeff Chang, Luis Barrios, David Brotherton and a very few others have created opens eyes, ears and hearts; very much it is needed and very much it is worth your effort. Thank you!
 
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Bill Leicht, the ‘oldest Ghetto Brother’ portrayed by Julian Voloj (2011)

Ghetto Brother at Poe Park

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LATINOS IN COMICS, POE PARK VISITORS CENTER

2640 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10458

March 7. Reception and Ghetto Brother Panel Discussion 12pm to 3pm 
Benjamin Melendez and Julian Voloj in conversation about “Ghetto Brother: Warrior to Peacemaker” Moderated by Regine Sawyer. The panel will start at 2 PM.

Free to the public.

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Bronx Documentary Center

Last Saturday, the Bronx Documentary Center had a screening of “Flyin’ Cut Sleeves” with director Henry Chalfant. The documentary was source material for the graphic novel “Ghetto Brother“.

Prior to the screening, director Henry Chalfant talked about his first encounter with Benjamin Melendez and how Benjy connected him to his former teacher Rita Fecher. You can see his intro here.

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Benjy Melendez presented Henry Chalfant with a copy of Ghetto Brother. More pictures from the event can be found here.