Meet KIPP ENC College Prep Student Elijah Lee, Marvel’s New Superhero

Elijah smiling with his personal Marvel comicbook

Eleven-year-old Elijah Lee of KIPP ENC College Prep Public Schools is already a hometown hero, and now with the help of Marvel, he’s elevated to superhero status. His inspiring work as an advocate against child abuse in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina will be featured on an upcoming episode of a new Disney+ series titled “Marvel’s Hero Project.”

To help bring this to life, Marvel producers worked with the editors of their best-known comics to create Elijah’s heroic story into a physical comic book.

“What resonated with me about Elijah was just his drive to correct wrongs. To make it known that there were people, young people in his community, who needed help and were experiencing pain and he was not going to wait and let grown ups, fix it. He needed the world to know that, hey, this is a wrong thing and yes, I’m 11 but why does that matter? I know what’s right and wrong and I’m going to use my voice to speak out against it. So, his conviction was so inspiring and compelling and also just that he did it truly from his heart, said Marvel executive producer Liza Wyles.

Elijah Child Abuse Awareness March

After finding out a few years ago that his friend was experiencing abuse, Elijah wanted to help spread awareness and started hosting annual child abuse prevention marches in his community. Feeling compelled to do more, he’s partnered with his local hospital, Halifax Regional Medical Center to establish and furnish a pediatric safe room and an additional mental health room specifically for children.

“As I learned more and more about child abuse, I learned that after a child has been found in an abusive home, they automatically go to the hospital for any type of physical checkups. Then, the hospital will contact places like social services or any other type of family member that child possibly could have. I wanted to create a room in a hospital where children can actually wait and be able to decompress and actually be a kid for a minute,” explained Elijah.

Since the start of his GoFundMe fundraiser in Early October, Elijah has surpassed his initial goal of $3,000 with plans to open his first designed pediatric safe room at Halifax Medical Center in 2020. Money raised on this campaign will be used to buy renovation supplies like paint and brushes, a television, a gaming system, DVDs, and more to make children comfortable.

When asked about meeting his goal Elijah said, “I’m really overall excited because it makes me feel as though that I do have a support team and I do have a community and I hope it also sends a message to other kids that you have a community behind you so feel free to lead a march against whatever you feel passionate about. I’m honestly just really grateful that I’m able to conquer stuff like this. I think that this is a message to myself actually, that there are people behind you, so never give up.”

During the episode, Elijah’s passion for public speaking comes full circle when his dream of speaking at the Lincoln Memorial in the same spot where Martin Luther King Jr. once spoke came true in front of his fellow KIPPsters.

Elijah giving a speech at the Lincoln Memorial

“When they showed up at Washington D.C. and he thought he was going to go to another KIPP school in the area to give his rousing speech. He was surprised when he learned he was going to give it on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. So he was like, “Wait? What?” So that was part of the marvel of it where we wanted to put him in an environment to celebrate him…and really shine a light on all the good he’s doing,” said Wyles.

“It feels phenomenal. I’m still a little speechless about it.  I don’t think I’ve come to terms of what it actually means to become a Marvel hero just because I do what I do so that I can help children,” explained Elijah. “I’m just trying to get students to understand that you do have a voice in any type of situation and it’s important to understand that. I believe that even the teachers at KIPP have played such a key role in helping myself understand that.”

Elijah’s episode airs Nov 15. on Disney+.

To donate towards Elijah’s fundraiser, click here.

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