New Jersey Teen Creates Comics Featuring Superheroes with Disabilities

She wanted to find inspiring role models for her best friend.

Aug 18, 2020

(Courtesy We Cant We Can)

Trinity Jagdeo (19)  from Vineland, New Jersey, is the best friend everyone wants and needs. She even created comic books with superheroes with disabilities for her best friend when she couldn’t find one to purchase. How many people would do this?

When Jagdeo was an eighth-grader her best friend Alexus was diagnosed with a rare degenerative disease and was hospitalized for six months. “Seeing what my best friend was going through, I wanted to do more for others like her,” she told TODAY. “We’d watched all of the movies that she had lining her room, and I took note of how drained she was. She had nobody to look up to while she was going through that battle.”

But her first instant wasn’t to do this alone. Jagdeo reached out to Disney Studios via social media asking them to create characters with disabilities or special needs. “I wrote them letters, made YouTube videos. I didn’t receive a response, so I decided to create my own non-profit [We Can’t to We Can], and I began writing and illustrating my own books that featured local special-needs kids.”

Alexus told TODAY that she was thrilled to see her best friend’s comic books that starred heroes who had disabilities and said it was one of the best gifts any kid could receive.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

We heard that @the_adam_joseph6 is hosting lives while reading children’s books! What an honor it would be if Adam read one of our books! ___ **Please do us the kind favor of tagging Adam in the comments** ___ These books will not only provide inclusion of the disability community but show so many viewers how those with special needs are true superheroes ????‍♀‍ ????‍♂‍ ❤️ ____ A little bit about us: We are a 50c13 nonprofit organization for the special needs community! We illustrate and publish books that feature local kids with disabilities as superheroes! A portion of the proceeds goes to a family in need! Our founder started this nonprofit at the age of 17, and works tirelessly to find ways to provide inclusion for the special needs community! ___ We can’t wait to hopefully see our books on Adam’s live with your help!

A post shared by From We Can’t To We Can (@wecant2wecan) on

But how does a 14-year old get started? I asked my mom what steps to take, and she told me to start by registering my business. Then I had to figure out how I can illustrate and bring my characters to life.”

After sketching the character’s, Jagdeo used Amazon’s publishing tools and used Amazon to publish the book. The rest was history. Her first three books were Zappy Zane inspired by Alexus’s brother, Alice the Ace inspired by a friend with Down syndrome, and The We Can Squad Saves the Day.

“Alice the Ace was my first idea, then Zappy Zane,” Jagdeo told South New Jersey Today. “I have Radiant Rosy who has cerebral palsy. I have a brother and sister; they’re called the Victorious V’s. Victor has autism and Victoria, she’s an amputee. She doesn’t have an arm. Incredible Iris has prelingual deafness.” All of the protagonists in her stories are superheroes with special abilities.

“We sold out of our books our first time [the first sale event],” Jagdeo said. “I sold them at my school. We had 15 books on the table, and we sold out of them within a couple of hours. Once we sell the books, we donate 100 percent of [the profits] to someone who’s in need.”

The proceeds from the sale were used to pay for a wheelchair for Alexus. Now, a portion of the proceeds from all of the books sold through her nonprofit organization goes to help a family in need.

The name of Jagdeo’s nonprofit really says it all. “I wanted to shift society’s mindset and I wanted to show that our organization is trying to shift society’s stereotypes on people with disabilities and special needs,” she said. “I wanted to show transformation: Those that think ‘we can’t’ we show that ‘we can.’” There really is no higher purpose.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
5 Lesser-Known Ways in Which Stan Lee Made the World Better
Taking Back the Narrative through Native American Comic Books
This Company Turns Sick Kids Into Superheroes

BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.