Parents

Girl Raises More Than $2,000 For The ACLU With 'Everyday Superheroes' Art

$2,298 and counting!
03/09/2017 04:59pm ET | Updated March 9, 2017

In less than two months, a 12-year-old in New York has used her creative talent to raise more than $2,000 for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Sasha Matthews started her “Everyday Superheroes” project a little more than a month ago to raise money for the ACLU. She has been accepting commissions from people who want to be drawn as “everyday superheroes” based on their jobs or hobbies.

Sasha first drew her dad, photographer Scott Matthews, as a superhero. He spread the word on Facebook, and now the 12-year-old has completed 36 drawings and raised $2,298 for her project.

Sasha Matthews, 12, takes people's jobs and hobbies and turns them into something heroic. In the caption of this drawing on her site, she wrote, "This one was commissioned by Paul Southworth. He cares about litter and wanted to include the green thumbs-up from the #zwerfie movement."

Sasha, who already has three published comic books under her belt, started this project as a response to President Trump, but explained that its purpose is also “to make people feel powerful.”

“I started doing ‘Everyday Superheroes’ as a Trump protest kind of thing, but it could really be about anything, any current event that you feel upset about,” she said. “People are feeling kind of sad and kind of powerless about a lot of different stuff, so drawing people as everyday superheroes means that they don’t have literal superpowers, just superpowers that are everyday ― like somebody was a baker, somebody really liked music.”

Sasha, whose superhero work was first featured on West Side Rag, encourages the people requesting a drawing to pay what they want. Most give between $50 and $100. Before she can create the drawings, Sasha asks people to send a photo of themselves or of the person (and sometimes pet) she is supposed to draw. She also asks them to answer three questions: “What are three of your favorite colors?” as well as “What is your special job, interest or hobby?” and “How do you feel about capes?” The second one is the most important so she can come up with their superpower.

“For example, there was this person who really liked rock music and was a tambourine player so for that I searched ‘rock icon’ and ‘tambourine’ and I based the whole drawing off that question,” she said.

All proceeds from Sasha’s drawings will go to the ACLU. She told HuffPost it’s important to support organizations that fight for people’s rights.

“I think it’s important because these types of organizations, and not just the ACLU, any organization that supports people’s rights and kind of gives people legal protection and better lives ― it’s important to donate to them and help those types of organizations succeed,” she said.

She has raised more than $2,000 for the ACLU so far with her drawings. In the caption of this drawing on her site, Sasha wrote, "This one was commissioned by Syed Ali in honor of his daughter, who loves writing poetry."

The ACLU shared some of Sasha’s creations on Instagram on March 2 to thank her for her donation. Liz FitzGerald, a spokesperson from the ACLU, told HuffPost that Sasha is proof that anyone can help fight for others’ rights.

“We love this project because it shows that everyone has a role to play in fighting for our rights, not just lawyers who work at the ACLU,” she said. “Using her unique talents, Sasha has helped to educate people about the ACLU, raise money to support our work and remind all of us that heroes are among us every day. We’re thrilled that Sasha is standing with us.”

Scott, Sasha’s father, told HuffPost that George O’Connor, author and illustrator of the series Olympians, inspired Sasha’s project. He, too, is using art to raise money for the ACLU. Scott also mentioned that each drawing takes his daughter one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half hours. She “works really hard,” though, and is happy to take on more commissions. He told HuffPost he’s proud of his daughter for bringing some positivity to the world, especially the internet.

“It just seems to make people happy, it seems to make people feel good,” he said.

See more of Sasha’s “Everyday Superheroes” art below. For more of her work, head to her Facebook, Twitter or her site. Captions below were taken from her site.

"This one was commissioned by Maya Rachel Stein as a birthday gift for her love and everyday hero, Amy Tingle. They are also co-proprietors of The Creativity Caravan, which is now celebrating a new location."
"This one was commissioned by Jesse Selengut. He's a trumpeter with a particular interest in jazz-age music."
"This one was commissioned by Sarah Lien Finnerty. She's a purveyor of pampering products who does business as Power Posh Girl."
"This one was commissioned by Elise Bauer. She's a school admissions director by day, rock star by night."
"This one is of my dad, Scott Matthews. He likes to take photographs."
"This one was commissioned by my aunt Pamela Harmon and uncle Michael S. Harmon of their daughter (my cousin) Emily. She likes Disney and Lego."
"This one was commissioned by Caitlin Coe (she used to be my teacher at American Museum of Natural History), her husband Peter Coe (a math teacher), and their son who is a music fan."

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