Entertainment, Free News Articles, General Editorial, NonProfit and Charities, Regional Events

Universal FanCon is First Large-Scale Event to Celebrate Diversity and Inclusion of Fans and Fandoms April 27-29, 2018

BALTIMORE, Md. -- The inaugural Universal FanCon (FanCon) is the first large-scale, 24-hour, inclusive event that celebrates the diversity of fans, the diversity of fandom and the true needs of those who love pop culture. This year's event will help benefit and promote relevant causes, including Geek Club Books Charity for Autism. Hosted in Baltimore, Maryland, April 27-29, 2018, FanCon's mission is to create a sense of belonging by providing authentic connections and experiences through fan-centric parties, programs, panels and partners.

As an important part of this mission, FanCon is building accessibility and education into every aspect of the programming to make certain it is a disability- and autism-friendly event.

With its broad range of attendees, celebs, and unique experiences -- and its engaging, interactive festival atmosphere -- FanCon is the place for everyone who is a fan! To purchase tickets, visit https://www.universalfancon.com/

"Universal FanCon is more than just a new Geek convention," said Co-Founder Robert Butler. "It's an event where all fans of pop culture are being celebrated, represented and included during every step of the way: through our planning, our attendees, programs, parties, celebrity guests and unique experiences."

FanCon got its start during a dinner conversation in 2016 between Butler, his partners in the wildly popular The Black Geeks podcast, and Jamie Broadnax, founder of Black Girl Nerds.

"We're all big geeks and realized, for instance, that people of color have the same complaints as other minority groups and marginalized populations when it came to representation in the celebration of fandoms," said Butler. "Hispanics, African Americans and Asians make up 38 percent of our population and 49 percent of frequent moviegoers - and they are more likely to see a movie featuring characters to whom they can relate. So, we knew there was a need that we could fill!"

"We wanted to create a safe space that celebrated fandom differently by including the many different faces and voices that truly made up the groups, artists, affiliates, and brands that we all represented, such as women, the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, autistic community, and people of color," said Jamie Broadnax.

"The inclusion and accessibility mission of FanCon is why Geek Club Books got involved with this inaugural event," said Jodi Murphy, President of Geek Club Books, an autism nonprofit. "Autistic representation and inclusion in pop culture, media and the community-at-large is what we've been advocating for!"

The support from Hollywood, brands, and organizations has been and continues to be amazing: Kristian Nairn, a.k.a. Hodor from "Game of Thrones"; Aydian Dowling (Trans activist), Riyadh Khalaf (YouTube sensation), Yuriko Yamaguchi (Voice Actress / "Seiyuu"); legend Billy Dee Williams; actor and comedian Orlando Jones; Mehcad Brooks ("Supergirl"); comedian, Paralympian and actress Katy Sullivan; Ricky Whittle and Yetide Badaki ("American Gods"); DC Comics and Marvel writer Greg Pak; actors Phil LaMarr, Sumalee Montano and Fryda Wolff; GRAMMY-winner Big Daddy Kane, video game composer for Sega's "Panzer Dragoon" Saori Kobayashi with TriForce Quartet, rapper Mega Ran, and electronics musician TeddyLoid; Kim Chi ("Rupaul's Drag Race"); Geek Club Books for Autism, Black Girl Nerds, Blerdgurl, ClexaCon, Disability Visibility Project, FanBros, and more.

"The people and fandoms we are representing, the support we are getting from the city of Baltimore and the committed team we've been able to build are all testaments to how important and relevant an event such as FanCon is today," said Butler. "We can't wait to see everyone in Baltimore, April 27-29!"

SPECIAL GUESTS INCLUDE (list by alpha order/more to be announced):
Yetide Badaki, Demore Barnes (actor), Steve Blum (voice of "Wolverine"), Big Daddy Kane, Bit Brigade, Mehcad Brooks, Kim Chi, DJ-Jo (DJ), DJ NightCrawler (DJ/musician), Terri Doty (voice actress), Aydian Dowling, Ducky Dynamo (DJ/musical artist), HEAVYGRINDER (DJ/producer/vocal duo), Jamal Igle (comic artist/writer), Orlando Jones, Riyadh Khalaf, Saori Kobayashi, Phil LaMarr, Bruce Langely ("American Gods"), Mega Ran, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn ("Star Wars: Rebels"), Sumalee Montano, Kristian Nairn, Greg Pak, Professor Shy Guy (music artist), SAMMUS (rapper/producer), Regine Sawyer (Women in Comics Collective), Peter Shinkoda ("Falling Skies"), Katy Sullivan, TeddyLoid, Triforce Quartet, Jeffrey Veregge (Native American comic book artist), Voia (producer/singer), Jeremy Whitley (comic series writer), Ricky Whittle, Billy Dee Williams, Fryda Wolff, Yuriko Yamaguchi.

PROGRAMS, PANELS & EVENTS INCLUDE (more to be announced):
Celebrity Meet-and-Greets, Photo/Autograph Opportunities, Lightsaber Dueling Academy, Music Concerts, Comedy Show hosted by Orlando Jones, 24-hour Arcade and eSport Gaming Tournaments, Tabletop Gaming, "American Gods" Show Panel, Kids STEM, and other programming for gaming, comics, anime, movies, TV, music, and all things fandom!

AFFILIATES & PARTNERS INCLUDE (more to be announced):
Baltimore Convention Center, 3 Black Geeks, Black Girl Nerds, BlerdGurl, ClexaCon, Comic Attack, CrunchyRoll, DC Anime Club, DeAnn Cox Chronicles, Disability Visibility Project, FanBros, Funimation, Geek Club Books for Autism, Geek Soul Brother, GeekGirlCon, Geeks of Color, Gifted Sounds Network, Graveyard Shift Sisters, Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor, Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor, I Need Diverse Games, LatinxGeeks, Marriott Inner Harbor Camden Yards, MEGASHEEN, Nerds of Color, Nerds of Prey, Pink Banana, Ramp Your Voice, Renaissance Harborplace, Shepard, Sheraton Inner Harbor, The Black Geeks, The Black Tribbles, Visit Baltimore (www.baltimore.org), and more.

For more information, to review FanCon's Accessibility information, and to purchase tickets, visit https://www.universalfancon.com/.

For more information about Geek Club Books autism nonprofit go to https://geekclubbooks.com/.

About Geek Club Books:
Using storytelling, Geek Club Books nonprofit's mission is changing perceptions and putting an end to the stigma surrounding autism, replacing fear with wonder. The nonprofit produces interactive children's comics, curriculum, assemblies, public awareness campaigns, online resources, and educational videos for acceptance in classrooms, on playgrounds and in communities. They mentor and empower autistic individuals to be the storytellers, inspiring empathy, inclusion and acceptance for those who are different. Twitter: @geekclubbooks

LOGOS for Media:
* Send2Press.com/300dpi/18-0201s2p-fancon-300dpi.jpg
* Send2Press.com/300dpi/18-0201s2p-geekclub-300dpi.jpg

@GeekClubBooks @UniversalFanCon #FanCon #Activate4Autism

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Entertainment, Free News Articles, General Editorial, NonProfit and Charities

Stars of Indie Film ‘A Boy Called Po’ Activate their Voices for Autism during National Bullying Prevention Month

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- Geek Club Books for Autism today announced that actors Christopher Gorham and Julian Feder, lead characters in the award-winning indie film, "A Boy Called Po" joined the #Activate4Autism movement, a public awareness campaign as a part of National Bullying Prevention Month. People on the autism spectrum are often misunderstood, marginalized, undervalued and 3 times more likely to be victims of bullying.

The campaign brings together voice, stage and film actors, children's authors, comic artists and autistic advocates who activate their voices for autism, speaking out for acceptance and inclusion. Videos are viewable, educational comics are downloadable, and action steps for activating change are accessible via the nonprofit website, geekclubbooks.com.

"'A Boy Called Po' is about a young boy living with autism and his relationship with his recently widowed dad," said Christopher Gorham who plays Po's father and is best known for his roles on "Ugly Betty" and "Covert Affairs." "Our film and the #Activate4Autism movement are about inclusiveness and acceptance for those who are different."

Playing the role of Po, Julian Feder gained insights into the intolerance, fear and bullying so many children with autism face every day. "I'm activating my voice for autism we need to call attention to the bullying and remember to give people with autism a chance, because everyone has something special to offer."

"We took part in Geek Club Books #Activate4Autism because, like the film, this nonprofit helps autistic individuals to tell their stories so people can make a deeper connection to this marginalized population and the challenges they face," said John Asher, Director of "A Boy Called Po."

Asher adds, "There's so much hatred out there in the world and Po is about really about acceptance. We don't need to make people with autism fit into society. We need to learn how to fit into their world."

"A Boy Called Po" was in theaters this summer and is now available on-demand everywhere including iTunes and Amazon. The filmmakers are working to get the film distributed to educational institutions to bring better awareness and acceptance into schools.

To join the activator heroes-the actors, authors and advocates-who are speaking out against bullying and activating change, go to https://geekclubbooks.com/activate4autism/

About Geek Club Books:

Using storytelling, Geek Club Books nonprofit's mission is changing perceptions and putting an end to the stigma surrounding autism, replacing fear with wonder. The nonprofit produces interactive children's comics, curriculum, assemblies, public awareness campaigns, online resources, and educational videos for acceptance in classrooms, on playgrounds and in communities. They mentor and empower autistic individuals to be the storytellers, inspiring empathy, inclusion and acceptance for those who are different. Learn more: https://geekclubbooks.com/.

About A Boy Called Po:

Inspired by true events, "A Boy Called Po" tells the story of a recently widowed father (Christopher Gorham) struggling to raise his son (Julian Feder) who is on the autism spectrum. The pressures of work, school and coping with loss push the two nearly to the point of breaking. John Asher directed the film from a script by Colin Goldman who shares story credit with Steve C. Roberts.

TWITTER: #Activate4Autism @geekclubbooks

*IMAGES for Media:
(1) Send2Press.com/300dpi/17-1101s2p-activate-autism-300dpi.jpg
(2) Send2Press.com/300dpi/17-1101s2p-christopher-gorham-300dpi.jpg
(3) Send2Press.com/300dpi/17-1101s2p-julian-feder-300dpi.jpg

*VIDEO (YouTube):
https://youtu.be/ZZfOntUgMN8

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Advertising and Marketing, Free News Articles, NonProfit and Charities

Actors, Authors, Artists and Advocates Activate their Voices for Autism during National Bullying Prevention Month

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- Geek Club Books, Inc., an autism nonprofit, today launched #Activate4Autism movement, a public awareness campaign as a part of National Bullying Prevention Month. The autistic are often misunderstood, marginalized, undervalued and 3 times more likely to be victims of bullying. The campaign brings together voice, stage and film actors, children's authors, comic artists and autistic advocates who activate their voices for autism, speaking out for acceptance and inclusion.

Videos are viewable, educational comics are downloadable, and action steps for activating change are accessible via Geek Club Books website.

"I'm activating my voice for autism during National Bullying Prevention Month to remind people that each and every one of us is unique and special," said Dave Fennoy, 'THE VOICE' of video games (80+ including "The Walking Dead," "Warcraft," "Starcraft 2"), animation ("Star Wars," "Archer," "Kim Possible") and television promos (8+ including Hulu, Showtime, Fox). "And no one deserves to be bullied."

"We need to shape a better place for ourselves in this world," said Robert Watkins, autistic advocate and founder of autistic.ly. "We need to stand up for who we are and how we are. Stand up and join us in activating our voices for autism."

Companies and organizations committed to diversity and inclusion joined the movement to stand in solidarity with its mission: Universal FanCon, Electronic Arts, Bluebee Pals, MrsP.com, Happy Hands Toys, Independence Day Clothing Company, The Innovation Press, and Chase 'N Yur Face.

"We partnered with Geek Club Books because, like #Activate4Autism, Universal FanCon is part of the counter narrative to a world story of ignorance and hate," said Chaucey Robinson, Universal FanCon co-founder and Director of Communications. "Through our differences, we are united and an example of positivity, diversity and hope."

To join the activator heroes, speak out against bullying and activate change, go to https://geekclubbooks.com/activate4autism/

About Geek Club Books:

Using storytelling, Geek Club Books nonprofit's mission is changing perceptions and putting an end to the stigma surrounding autism, replacing fear with wonder. The nonprofit produces interactive children's comics, curriculum, assemblies, public awareness campaigns, online resources, and educational videos for acceptance in classrooms, on playgrounds and in communities. They mentor and empower autistic individuals to be the storytellers, inspiring empathy, inclusion and acceptance for those who are different.

Learn more: https://geekclubbooks.com/activate4autism

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GeekClubBooks

About Universal Fan Con:

Geek is universal. Universal FanCon is dedicated to being the first ever multi-fandom con dedicated to inclusion, highlighting woman, LGBTQ, disabled people, autistic community, and persons of color. The inaugural con will take place April 27-29 at the Baltimore Convention Center. Learn more: https://www.universalfancon.com/

*PHOTO for media: Send2Press.com/300dpi/17-1005s2p-Dave-Fennoy-300dpi.jpg
*Photo Caption: Preeminent voice actor Dave Fennoy is one of the actors, authors, artists and advocates who is part of the #Activate4Autism movement to speak up for acceptance and speak out against bullying.

*VIDEO (YouTube):
https://youtu.be/YQ5z8XfRN3g

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Advertising and Marketing, Books and Publishing, Free News Articles, NonProfit and Charities

Geek Club Books for Autism is selected to Receive 2017 JL Simmons Non-Profit PR Grant

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- Geek Club Books, a 501(c)(3) focused on autism education and empowerment, today announced that it has been selected to receive the J.L. Simmons Non-Profit PR Grant for 2017/18. The Grants, launched in 2000 by Neotrope(R) helps worthy causes raise visibility to media and public for the charity's good works.

With this commitment, Neotrope again aligns itself with Geek Club Books' efforts in addressing public awareness and acceptance of those on the autism spectrum, as well as employment opportunities for autistic adults.

As part of this in-kind grant program, Neotrope(R) is providing news dissemination (through its Send2Press(R) Newswire service), and social media marketing for Geek Club Books for Autism for 12 months starting in 2017 and running into 2018. This program is intended to help raise awareness of the charity to traditional media, to the public, as well as potential sponsors and donors, regarding their efforts.

"Today one in 68 children are diagnosed with autism in the United States and yet, the general public understands very little about the diagnosis - and what they do know is often shrouded in misperceptions and negative stereotypes," says Jodi Murphy, founder of Geek Club Books. "With Neotrope's help, we can better spread awareness, understanding and to dispel myths about individuals with autism."

"We're truly honored in providing this service grant to the folks at Geek Club Books," said Neotrope CEO, Christopher Laird Simmons. "The many programs they offer are noteworthy including their Autism Acceptance Ambassador Initiative, which finds local parents and teachers who want to advocate and educate for positive change."

About Geek Club Books:
Geek Club Books is a 501(c)(3) autism charity with an autism education and empowerment mission. They produce interactive digital comics, enhanced e-books, curriculum, digital media and webisodes to change perceptions and end stigmas surrounding autism. The nonprofit partners with clinical advisors and educational specialists. A team of autistic adults collaborate and contribute their talents to everything the organization produces.

Learn more at: http://geekclubbooks.com/.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/geekclubbooks/.

About the Non-Profit PR Grant:
The Non-Profit PR Grant(TM) program was originally launched in 2000 to help assist U.S. 501(c)(3) charities and their worthy causes to raise awareness, attract halo sponsors, and better connect with donors and volunteers. Other PR industry firms have since copied the name, but ours is the original.

Starting in 2013, the PR Grant was re-named after the company co-founder, the late Dr. J.L. Simmons, PhD, who passed away in 2003. Now the Neotrope PR Grants program is known as the "J.L. Simmons Non-Profit PR Grant."

With this cause-related marketing grant program, Neotrope has been honored to help many worthy causes in past years, including the Bob Moog Foundation, CAMMO, C Diff Foundation, Children Awaiting Parents, Girls Write Now, Move for Hunger, Pacific Pinball Museum, The Native Voices Foundation, Special Equestrians, Starlight Children's Foundation, World Savvy and dozens more (use of any org name does not imply endorsement).

Additional information regarding the Neotrope 2017 J.L. Simmons Non-Profit PR Grant program for U.S. charitable non-profits and grant recipients can be found at: https://prgrants.com/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NonProfitPRGrants.

About Neotrope:
Since 1983 Neotrope(R) has delivered services to raise organization awareness including brand identity, marketing, public relations (PR), and SEO services. Neotrope is also an entertainment publishing company involved in books, music, software, and online magazines. The company pioneered the concept of search optimization of press release content back in 1997 and has been at the forefront of many communication and technology movements for over three decades. Neotrope was an Inc. 5000 company in 2009 and is a member of GS1. More information: https://Neotrope.com.

All deliverables provided under the PR Grant for 2017/18 will be managed and delivered by Neotrope's Send2Press(R) Newswire service. Learn more at: https://www.send2press.com/.

Twitter: @geekclubbooks #autism #prgrant @prgrants

IMAGES FOR MEDIA:

*PHOTO: Send2Press.com/300dpi/17-0818s2p-gcb-team-300dpi.jpg

*Photo Caption: Geek Club Books team after doing an elementary school autism acceptance assembly. (L-R) Jenny Debevec, James Sullivan, Jonathan Murphy, Jodi Murphy

*LOGO for media: Send2Press.com/300dpi/17-0321s2p-geekclub-300dpi.jpg

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Education and Schools, Free News Articles, General Editorial, NonProfit and Charities

Parents and Teachers Speak Out as ‘Autism Acceptance Ambassadors’ for April Autism Awareness Month

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- April is Autism Awareness Month, celebrated worldwide. Geek Club Books, an autism nonprofit, is challenging the observance with their Autism Acceptance Ambassador Initiative. The initiative mobilizes parents and educators to actively get out and move the public from "awareness" to "acceptance and inclusion" in support of individuals on the autism spectrum in their communities.

Across the country, parents and teachers will be speaking to groups-their local schools, libraries, boy and girl scout meetings, and homeschool co-ops-telling their stories using Geek Club Books Autism EDU tools throughout the month of April. The tools were developed to capture and engage the public's attention, ignite their curiosities and inspire discussions.

"The Women's March demonstrated the power of women and families standing in solidarity for a cause," said Jodi Murphy, founder of Geek Club Books for Autism. "We need to be actively speaking out telling our personal stories to help people make a human connection to autism. Participants in our Acceptance Ambassador Initiative will create a positive impact in local communities that will lead to more caring and compassion for those with autism."

"We are going to educate others about autism because we don't want them to be afraid of it," said Charlotte, age 12 and her mother, Cate Luther. "Kids with autism are not so different. They just want to be loved and accepted like everyone else."

"It is important to spread awareness, understanding and to dispel myths about individuals with autism," said Trisha Katkin, Teacher and Founder of TrishaKatkin.com. "Every person with autism is different and unique. I joined Geek Club Books Acceptance Ambassador Initiative to inspire change through teaching school professionals and parents how to best assist their children with autism."

One of the most vulnerable populations is the autistic. Misunderstood and often socially awkward, they are subject to bullying and isolation. Many in the community and school system are unfamiliar with the needs of autistic individuals and struggle to interact with them effectively. Geek Club Books Autism Acceptance Ambassador Initiative finds local parents and teachers who want advocate and educate for positive change.

About April Autism Awareness Month:

Congress adopted April as the national awareness month for autism in 1984, which originally began as an awareness campaign by The Autism Society of America in the early 1970s. Today the month is an opportunity for autism organizations to draw the public's attention to the diagnosis and separate fact from myths and misperceptions.

About Geek Club Books:

Geek Club Books, is 501(c)(3) autism charity with an autism education and empowerment mission. They produce interactive digital comics, enhanced e-books, curriculum, digital media and webisodes to change perceptions and end stigmas surrounding autism. The nonprofit partners with clinical advisors and educational specialists. A team of autistic adults collaborate and contribute their talents to everything the organization produces.

Learn more at: http://geekclubbooks.com/.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/geekclubbooks/.

*LOGO for media: Send2Press.com/mediaboom/17-0321s2p-geekclub-300dpi.jpg

This news story was published by the Neotrope® News Network - all rights reserved.