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Local Hero Dallas Jessup Combats Abduction and Sexual Assault

Posted on 02 January 2010 by Tim

Would you know what to do if a stranger tried to abduct you? Well, many young ladies don’t know what to do and helping them stay safe is Dallas Jessup founder of the non-profit Just Yell Fire.

When she was just 14-years old, Dallas produced one of the most popular movie downloads of 2006. The film was a 48-minute instructional film that teaches teens personal safety and defensive tactics to avoid abduction or sexual assault.

When you first started Just Yell Fire, you wanted to develop a movie. How did your initial vision for the film change when you gained such a large volunteer crew and 100 extras?

The idea for a film came about when my schoolmates at St. Mary’s Academy in Portland were asking me what to do in an attempted abduction or date rape situation. They knew I was taking a street fighting program and they wanted some get-away moves because at the time two teen girls were killed in our area and there were quite a few instances of predators trying to take girls. The initial vision was simply a home movie where we could show girls how to eye gouge, bite…out of bad situations. I thought we could make some copies and pass them around at school and then people could pass them along to friends. Just Yell Fire, the movie, was born when some terrific film pros like director Takafumi Uehara, camera guru Ed Henry and others spread the word that we were making a movie to keep girls safe. With a professional crew (all volunteers) of 28 so much more became possible. Add to that 100 extras from area high schools, and the scenes became very realistic. When LOST stars Evangeline Lilly and Josh Holloway agreed to lend their celebrity to the cause with cameos in the film we knew we had something that would get the interest of girls across the country and as it turned out, around the world in 48 countries so far.

Since the film was first released, how many times has it been downloaded? How many DVDs have been mailed out?

Just Yell Fire has been downloaded more than 1 million times and more than 30,000 DVDs have been sent to teens, schools, shelters, and law enforcement agencies all over the world. It’s rewarding for all of us involved with Just Yell Fire to hear from an AIDS orphans shelter in Africa, a New York sex crimes unit, a girls’ empowerment group in Pakistan and a thousand other places that they’re using Just Yell Fire to let girls know they have rights and to give them tools to keep themselves safe.

From JustYellFire.org:
There is a community out there, girls 11 to 19, who according to the YWCA face a 1 in 4 risk of sexual assault and according to the Department of Justice could be one of the 114,000 attempted non-family abductions each year in the US. More than 550,000 registered sex offenders are on the streets (and many more not yet caught) and teenage girls are pretty much on their own because parents can’t be everywhere, nor can the police.

Has anyone contacted you about a time they had to use the techniques you teach?

Sure, and these are always our best moments. Recently we got a thank you call from a fourteen year old’s parents in Seattle. A predator grabbed their daughter but she’d watched the Just Yell Fire film; she yelled “Fire!” to attract attention and used a couple of the Just Yell Fire techniques to momentarily disable the bad guy and used those couple of seconds to get away. Rather than become a statistic, she made it home to her parents. It’s amazing how effective an eye gouge, a strategic kick or a bite can be when used by an angry teenage girl. They just need to know it’s okay to fight back and how to do it. It’s stories like that that keeps everyone involved with Just Yell Fire working and spreading the word.

Among her other accomplishments, Dallas was a 2007 CNN Hero.

One of the strategies your organization works on is lobbying for legislative reform. Is there anything of note currently happening on this front?

I’m convinced that empowerment and self defense should be a mandatory part of every teen girl’s education. If we can make this happen in Middle and High Schools across the country it will go a long way toward eliminating dating violence, abductions and other crimes against young women. We’ve gotten endorsements from a broad group of elected officials and we’re implementing programs at strategic venues across the country so we’ll have a strong proof-of-concept when we go for legislation. For example Just Yell Fire is now a for-credit course at MIT and we recently did a day-long program for teachers and coaches at the Vancouver School District so they can teach Just Yell Fire information to their students. We call the program “Just Yell Fire Train the Trainer” and have presented it quite a few places across the country and will do more in 2010.

I noticed that on January 9th, 2010, you will be presenting at the Northwest Conference Against Trafficking. What will your discussion be focused on? Is this your first time presenting there?

I’m really excited to participate in the Northwest Conference Against Trafficking. Raising awareness of the problem is important and the event is doing that in a big way with some news celebrities like Priya David and Jane Velez – Mitchell and even a U.S. Senator. Kudos to the Soroptimist organization and other cool groups for making it all happen. I learned about trafficking when I toured rural India speaking at colleges to girls about how to avoid the modern day slave traders for the sex trafficking industry and at village after village girls told me they were scared and police told me just how pervasive the crisis had become. It was a blast to connect with thousands of college girls and see their joy as they learned they could fight back and exactly how to do it. My big shock was flying home from the other side of the world and learning that trafficking is an immense problem in the U.S. too! So, that’s my motivation for joining in. My message is to warn girls of the dangers out there and to let them know they have the right to stand up for themselves. Of course, the street fighting self defense is always a part of my message – it’s something anyone can learn in an hour, for free and use to get away from an attacker twice their size every time. So my message? Awareness and empowerment for girls and young women.

Dallas, thank you for answering my questions!

Jessup has keynoted at the FBI National Academy, the Mensa national conference, and her program is a for-credit course at MIT. She is a freshman at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee as a McKelvey Scholar for Social Entrepreneurship. [More from The Huffington Post]

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Non-Profit Hip Hop? Just Ask Scrub Club Leader MadHatter

Posted on 31 July 2009 by Tim

MadHatter leads Scrub Club Records, a non-profit hip hop label bringing you talented artists like Kabuto the Python, Dr. Awkward, Benjamin Bear and The Ranger. Both businessman and rapper, MadHatter rhymes with the Sinister Six, a collective which includes the world renowned rapper YTCracker. As a group, the Sinister Six dropped their first album Invasion of the Mic Snatchers in 2008.

MadHatter can be found at RhymeTorrents.org moderating Battles and Beefs or performing at events like Nerdapalooza.

His gruff voice, energetic, thoughtful rhymes, and positive personality have made him a favorite of many. Enjoy the interview, check out the music and leave a comment!

How long have you been rapping and how did the name MadHatter come about?

I’ve been rapping since 2001, back when my only music was our first project, the Shadow Puppets. I had been a percussionist and vocalist before then, but that’s when I hunkered down with my partner at the time to see if we could take a stab at recording. We ended up using a $6 microphone with a sock over it for a pop filter, and I mixed raw wav files using sound recorder. I kid you not. I upgraded to GoldWave eventually, but this was all extreme learning experience. I would say my skill set and musicality have really grown over the last five years into something people can take seriously.

MadHatter-Art As far as the name MadHatter, that’s kind of a long story. To sum it up, I used to go by the name of Jester online wayyyy back in the beginnings of the internet and Telnet (probably when there was just a few people with that name online worldwide, haha). On some classic bulletin board systems back in the day, I ran across a guy named /\/\ad}{atter and his buddy Ice Man, the first who was in the well-known hacker group “Cult of the Dead Cow.”

He eventually followed me to the Wichita State University board where the two taught me a few tips and tricks and really grew my knowledge, mostly about phone systems and wardialing, but also nifty things I could do with IP numbers, of course. Eventually, that }{atter got to a point where he wanted to retire from the group and concentrate on college, drinking, and girls, and offered to pass on his name to me if I wanted.

I happily accepted since he had taught me so much in a sensei-type way, plus I had been borderline obsessed with the Alice In Wonderland universe since an early age. It just made sense, and since about 1993 or 1994, that’s what I’ve been going by. Carrying on his oldschool legacy while bringing my own flavor, all mixed together in a tight little Lewis Carroll package.

What musical projects are you working on right now?

Oh lord, far too much, haha. First coming would be Deafinition’s first album Resurrection, as in the resurrection of hip hop. And this dude is true about it, too. I just need to record a couple of featured verses on there as well as one from Kabuto The Python and that project will be complete. AMAZING lyrics and flow from this guy. After that, we have a slew of projects that could be coming out at any time.

Benjamin Bear’s Robochomp, an audio adventure to be completely mastered on cassette format. We have The Ranger’s new album, our artist from Australia, that I will be mixing and mastering track by track. Dr. Awkward is heavy into his next release, which I will also be finishing up the audio on and dropping a guest verse. MadHatter - Blast Zone

Myself, I will be working on the Life of John Henry CD with superstar producer Pelicaine Einhander, which will be a steampunk-themed Hip Hop album that will blow people away, with instrumentals and themes all taking place before the year of 1890. Also, I’m doing a crazy side project called Word of Mouth, which will be me covering entire songs using just my vocals (beats, instruments, voice, everything). Noncents Volume IV will drop any time now, featuring unreleased tracks from all of our artists as well as brand new material. We just signed Superpowerless from the UK, and that guy basically makes a new album every week, hahaha. He will bring new chiptune flavor to the label. Everyone is working on some great projects, and this year will be absolutely insane.

Besides our regular music, we do have a competition that will start next month to decide the next new artist on Scrub Club Records. It’s called Versus Mode, and I hope it brings the best out of all the contestants and helps them level up regardless if they win the competition or not. Plus the grand finale will pit the top two artists against eachother in a battle-of-the-bands type concert! More details on that will drop August 1st on our website.

Download Scrub Club Music Here

Do you have any live performances coming up?

Well, this Thursday (July 30th), I’ll be battling 7 other emcees and rap groups for grocery money for my family, haha. The event is called Move The Crowd and is hosted by the very busy businessman Cash Hollistah here in Salina, KS. The crowd is about 250-300 people, it will be a blast.

Official Scrub Club shows coming up? I’m not sure there is one quite planned, although we are definitely interested in playing Nerdapalooza 2010 and might possibly be going to MAGFest coming up as well in Virginia. Our artists Kasparov and Kabuto The Python are included on a west coast tour called the FTW Tour, but details are few so far. Definitely hit that up, though. Dr. Awkward is also openly looking to book shows out west. I’m planning a few things that might go down in the next couple months that involve live shows, but that’s under wraps for now. All I can say is keep watching the site, Facebook, and Twitter!

What sparked the idea for Scrub Club Records and its not-for-profit theme?

One of the first things I can remember sparking this idea was back in 2001 when everything started out. I was really just concerned with spreading our music as far as possible and my partner was concerned with making it into a career. We had several arguments about money including him getting mad when I burnt a couple copies for my cousins instead of charging them $10 apiece, or when we got custom hockey jerseys made up for $35 that I was willing to give the hardcore fans for the cost just so they could rep some really awesome gear and spread our name, and he wanted to charge our fans $75 to $100 to make good profit off of them. Shit like that just really got to me.

Then, later on when I was starting my solo stuff, I was charging $5 for cds. After realizing a lot of our fan base was made up of individuals just like me, I knew that no one had the money to pay for music, especially when they could just find it online. Our fans were just as poor as I was… I know I certainly didn’t pay for music, except for the few scant live shows I went to and how I really wanted to support a deserving artist. With that and how I viewed the imminent collapse of the music industry, I knew it had to be done (to go not-for-profit).

During a Scrub Club meeting, every member in attendance agreed it was a great idea, and we made it so, no longer charging a single cent for any of our music. We were close to non-profit before, now it was complete. I think that was back in 2005 or 2006. Now I realize how great and smart that move was, our music spread like an old uneducated person’s imagery of the swine flu or a conservative republican tween’s view of terrorism. We were suddenly everywhere.

You guys have some pretty sic graphics on your site. Who are the design geniuses behind Scrub Club?

Scrub Club Puppette I don’t know about genius, but i do all of the graphics and coding work for the site and lots of our various projects and print products. One thing I can say is that everything I do is very oldschool. I only use Photoshop and have never been trained in it, and I also code websites with old, old, old-ass HTML skills. I never learned flash or anything advanced. So what you see is a totally untrained nerd trying to make something oldschool but different. As for the site, I prefer fast load times for Scrubs still using dialup, and images that are fresh-looking for people who want eye candy.

Any chance that Midwest Nerdfest will get a rez?

There are talks. A few people who might possibly be interesting in being sugardaddies for the fest have approached me, and a few other people have given me their thoughts, advisory style. What I’m leaning to is possibly throwing a mini version of the event to test the waters first. Stay tuned!

What’s your take on nerdcore as a genre? Do you consider yourself or Scrub Club to be nerdcore artists or more generally hip hop artists?

I love Nerdcore and support it full-heartedly. It’s one of a million sub genres created by youth, but who are we to say whether it’s “real” or not? Alive or dead? It exists, and both the excitement and the quality are growing at an alarming rate. This isn’t just a fad, we will always have comics, games, and technology and there will always be Hip Hop. So don’t look for Nerdcore to dissipate any time soon. Scrub Club Chick

As for Scrub Club, we started in 2001 as a pure Hip Hop-style outfit. A mutated version of Hip Hop, but that’s what we’ve always been. And since the very beginning, we’ve had references to video games, comic characters, superhero-style themes, dorky movies and tv shows, cartoons, etc. Then along came the birth of the genre of Nerdcore and we were picked up by that tidal wave. We set out to make good, real music with no real genre to stick to, and then Nerdcore picked us up as kindred. Still, not all of our music will particularly fit in with the Nerdcore-only tribes, like Deafinition’s pure and gritty Hip Hop coming up, or my upcoming Victorian Era album.

So we’re not a Nerdcore-only label, and none of our artists began making music just because of Nerdcore. But that doesn’t mean we don’t love and support that scene. A vast majority of our music fits their appetites and they’re the closest family we’ve got! Scrubs, nerds, geeks, and all other underdogs are welcome in the Club!

MadHatter, thanks for your time!

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