You don’t need superpowers to be a superhero. On Sunday afternoon, activists and advocates for justice assembled in Embarcadero Marina Park North for the inaugural “Real Life Superhero Rally.”
The event, unaffiliated with Comic-Con and the happenings within the San Diego Convention Center, celebrated the intersection of pop culture and social justice with various speakers and musical performances.
And while the event wasn’t officially a part of Comic-Con, the mega-convention’s presence was certainly felt. In addition to the various protest signs that are a familiar sight at political events, spotted in the intimate crowd were some people in cosplay and others with their Comic-Con badges still hanging around their necks.
“In the spirit of the superheroes coming together in this city, I wanted to create an event that celebrates real-life superheroes and use pop culture to draw attention to real world social justice issues,” actress and rally chair Chase Masterson told The Times.
Masterson’s goal is to channel the excitement people have for superhero stories into actual action.
“I’ve been coming to Comic-Con as an actress for many years,” she said. “I have watched as the crowds celebrate pop culture in a way that almost nothing else on Earth is celebrated and it’s always hit me: Wouldn’t it be great if we can use these stories to create justice in real life?”
With San Diego’s proximity to the Mexican border, many speakers used the platform to address immigration issues including author Carrie Goldman. But Goldman’s speech was unique because she chose to first deliver her remarks in Spanish.
“Many of the people that are here are advocating for the rights of immigrants and one of the largest groups of immigrants that struggles in our country are Spanish-speaking immigrants who are coming over the border,” said Goldman in explaining her decision.
“I wanted to show that I honor them,” she added. “The reality is, there’s no national language in America. America is a land of many languages. So I wanted to make sure that I spoke my remarks in Spanish first and then in English to say: ‘You are welcome here. You can speak your language here.’ We are here as a country of immigrants.”
DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals; the treatment of asylum seekers; LGBTQ rights; gun violence and more were addressed by the various speakers. As Lamba Legal attorney Leo Miras noted in his speech, all of these issues are interconnected.
During the rally there were volunteers on hand to register new voters because “voting is a superpower.”
Among the organizations participating in the “Real Life Superhero Rally” were Families Belong Together, Amnesty International, ACLU San Diego, United Nations Assn. San Diego, Indivisible San Diego, San Diego Refugee Forum, Center for American-Islamic Relations and Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans. The event also had support from Power Plus, Overpass Light Brigade San Diego and volunteers from IATSE.
“Wonder Woman said, ‘It is my sacred duty to defend the world.’ That’s what we are standing for,” said Masterson. “These stories have unique power. Let’s use that power in real life.”