If you’ve been following the case of Texas cheerleader Hillaire S., who was assaulted at a party by star athlete Rakheem Bolton and then kicked off the cheerleading squad for refusing to chant, “two, four, six, eight, ten, come on Rakheem, put it in” (see the Ms. Blog coverage of the case here, here, here, and here), then you’re probably outraged by the way this story evolved. After Hillaire’s parents lost the lawsuit they brought against the school for insisting that their daughter cheer for the man who assaulted her, they were ordered to pay $35,000 to the school to cover the legal expenses of the trial.
When Jason Ho, an illustrator and assistant art director at Bongo Comics and self-described “nerdy misanthrope,” learned about the case, he got angry. Then he decided to do something to help. He partnered with Help the Cheerleader, a site raising money to cover the S. family’s legal expenses. Ho offered to take commissions for original sketches and to donate the $20 per commission to this cause. He provided a short summary of the case on his blog to explain why he got involved:
The less I say about it, the better, cause if I start talking about it, I’m just gonna get mad. Suffice it to say, this is utterly unacceptable, and if we can help, we should.
Ho was flooded with requests for the commissions and has now had to close the campaign. He says: “We are truly overwhelmed and grateful for the positive response!” His statement of gratitude toward those who showed him that “there are some good people in this world” is inspirational:
If you tweeted about this [campaign], re-tweeted it, emailed it to somebody, linked it in IM to a friend, blogged about it, re-blogged it, tumbled it, re-tumbled it, hell, if you opened up your window and hollered about it to someone passing by on the street, then I love you and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. It is so hard to get the word out on a good cause, but you folks made it easy.
Thank you, Jason Ho, for reminding us that anger should always be the prelude to constructive action.
Ho will be posting commissioned sketches on his blog as he completes them. Let’s cheer him on!
Meanwhile, Change.org has other ways you can help Hillaire’s family.
Photo from Flickr user Westside Shooter under Creative Commons 2.0.