After a single mistake, three complete strangers are teleported into another world where they must try to find their way home.
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Project Summary

In Fall 2021, Health Resources in Action (HRiA), in partnership with the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention (MTCP) program and the Institute for Community Health (ICH), funded three Boston-based community-based organizations (CBOs) to help launch MTCP’s first community-lead research project. The three CBOs – Project RIGHT, Dudley Square Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) and Cape Verde Association of Boston (CVA) – recruited community residents to join a Community Research Committee (CRC).

From 2021-22 the 12-member CRC met regularly to build relationships with one another, learn about tobacco and research methodology, and launch a research project that was designed by and led by CRC with a focus on community tobacco use. In Phase 1, the CRC sought to understand why people in their neighborhood started smoking, the impacts of tobacco on their communities, and how to engage a diverse group of people in the community in on-going education about the topics of tobacco and vaping.

In September 2022, CRC members completed data collection in the form of surveys and focus groups with community members in Grove Hall, Dorchester, and Roxbury and analyzed and interpreted the data they gathered. With additional funding from MTCP, in 2022-23, Over 9 months, the CRC met regularly to learn about, create, and design a comic through a collaborative creative process facilitated by HRiA. As a result of this collaborative work, the CRC co-created a youth-focused comic book highlighting the challenging and compelling experiences related to tobacco and nicotine use.

The Authors

Anton Jo-Yen

Anton Joe-Yen currently works for Project RIGHT Inc., and is the Trauma Team Coordinator there. He has been working in the Grove Hall neighborhood of Boston since 1999. In that time, Anton’s work has been focused around youth development, public safety, resident advocacy, and community healing.

Edvaldo Ferreira

Edvaldo Ferreira, born and raised in Cabo Verde, moved to the United States for college. Graduated with a degree in Business Management from Mercyhurst University in 2019, and then a master’s degree in Higher Education focused on Community Engagement from Merrimack College in 2021. Started working at the Cape Verdean Association of Boston as a Development Associate in 2019 and now plays the role of Deputy Director of Programs and Partnerships.

Kalamu Kieta

Kalamu Kieta, a Black artist born in 1980 in Roxbury, MA, grew up in a close-knit family of nine siblings, instilling in him a strong sense of community and spirituality. His passion lies in improving Boston’s neighborhoods and imparting knowledge to future generations.

Kalamu is a versatile artist with expertise in detailed drawings, paintings, sculptures, wood carvings, installations, and mixed media. His art aims to captivate viewers, inviting them into an ongoing equilibrium that reflects the ebb and flow of daily life. Each piece carries a poetic significance, illuminating the human experience and its moments of clarity.

His drawings stand out for their meticulous finish and tactile quality, showcasing his remarkable craftsmanship. He views art as a craft that demands unwavering attention to detail and technique.
Challenging conventional notions of reality, Kalamu delves into sign processes and communication, infusing his works with diverse meanings. Assemblages collide, and language transforms into visual imagery, blurring the boundaries of space and time.

Through his unique storytelling style, Kalamu transforms violence into alluring pictorial narratives. His art entices viewers, drawing them deeper into each piece. Rather than offering an idealized perspective, his works explore the interplay of light and environment, resulting in captivating colors and tones.

Rene Mardones

Originally from Chile in South America; he migrated to the United States in 2000. Since that time Rene has been actively involved in social issues affecting low income communities, immigrants and communities of color in the Greater Boston Area. His passion for social change and community activism began in his native country.

In 2003 Rene joined the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) as an AmeriCorps Organizer. He was exposed to the community development world and the different models of how CDCs operate. Later Rene joined Sociedad Latina as a parent organizer; there he had the opportunity to work with immigrants who wanted to better understand the educational system in Boston. Rene had an opportunity to learn from immigrants whose experience was very different than his experience. Rene spent seven years working as a community organizer for Alternatives for Community and Environment and the T Riders Union program. In 2013 Rene became the lead organizer with Somerville Community Corporation working on a range of issues like affordable housing, local jobs and community benefits agreement around new development coming to Somerville. In 2021 Rene joined Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative as a Director of Community Organizing.

Rene has B. A. in Human Services from the University of Massachusetts.

Diana Salazar

Diana Salazar lives in the Community of Roxbury, Massachusetts and is a volunteer for the non-profit organization Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI). She assisted with the design and distributing of the survey for Spanish speakers in the surrounding communities and she generated ideas for the creation of the comic. “Because of this organization I had the great fortune of being part of the Tobacco Project that helped me meet new people and learn how using Tobacco not only affects people who smoke but also people who do not smoke. I am thankful for the opportunity to be part of this Project.”

Stephanie Greene

Stephanie Greene is a lifelong resident of Dorchester and currently working at the Boys and Girls Club in South Boston. Stephanie is the Technology Program Manager and a part of the D.E.I. Committee, Diversity Equity and Inclusion. Her passions include culinary arts, music engineering, and working in the community with Project R.I.G.H.T Neighborhood group, youth groups, veterans and the Roxbury Collaborative.

Christina G.

Djuly G.

Jesselyna R.

In Partnership with

Project Staff

Arielle Wilson-Dodard

Arielle Wilson-Dodard, MPH, joined HRiA in 2020 to support the City of Boston REAL training program. Before joining HRiA, Arielle worked at the Edinburgh Cancer Centre in Scotland as a clinical trials coordinator where she implemented trial assessments and managed patient data. She has also previously worked in research grants and project evaluation in community health disparities with the University of Miami. Ms. Wilson-Dodard earned a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Edinburgh and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida.

Edgar Duran-Elmudesi

Mr. Duran Elmudesi is a recent graduate from Boston College. He holds a master’s degree in Social Work, with a concentration on Health and Mental Health. During his time there, he interned at the Boston Public Health Commission in their office of Health Equity. In his role as a Project Associate in the Policy and Practice department, he works on the Metro Boston Tobacco Free Community program. He works with the media surrounding tobacco/nicotine; provides educational presentations to concerned adults on tobacco/nicotine/vaping products and common tactics used by the nicotine/tobacco/vaping industry; provides educational presentations on cessation to service providers; aides in the recruitment of The 84 Movement chapters; and helps in the implementation of tobacco regulations. His public health interests revolve around equity.

Kathleen McCabe

Kathleen McCabe

Ms. McCabe is Managing Director of Policy & Practice at HRiA. Since 2007, Kathleen has provided both strategic leadership and technical content expertise to clients. She has led the organization’s smoke-free housing policy work, best practice research in the areas of transportation, chronic disease prevention, climate change and healthy homes, and collaborated with colleagues on strategic planning and Health Impact Assessment. She is currently overseeing Working on Wellness, a statewide worksite wellness initiative. She earned a Master in Public Administration in 2006 from Northeastern University, and received a bachelor’s degree in English and human development from Boston College in 2002.

Lex Vazquez

Lex Vazquez joined HRiA in 2020 as a Program Coordinator, focusing on the Racial Equity and Leadership Initiative in the City of Boston. He resides in Boston, where he was born and raised. Before joining HRiA, Lex worked as the Assistant Director of the Brookline Arts Center and as the Art Program Coordinator for housing nonprofit Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción in Boston’s South End. He graduated from Parsons School of Design in 2014 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Integrated Design. Lex is passionate about social justice, politics, art, and design.