Everyday Heroes: Meet Carissa Cornelius of YetiParade

“The issue of child sex trafficking has been on my heart since I found out about it. How is it possible that an evil like this is so prevalent, yet hidden in plain sight?”  

-Carissa Cornelius, YetiParade

There’s no mistake that the art created by YetiParade is ridiculously cute and fun, but the passion behind it all is inspired by a much deeper purpose. Carissa Cornelius, the local Austin artist behind YetiParade, has found a way to use her art to take action against child sex trafficking.

Q: So you created an original sticker for Sweet Ritual and decided to donate some of the proceeds to PACT. How did that come about?

A: I frequent Sweet Ritual, a locally-owned vegan ice cream shop, and noticed their sticker dispenser containing stickers designed by local kids and artists. I submitted a piece of art for consideration and Sweet Ritual decided to add it to their collection. They then asked which non-profit organization I would like a portion of the proceeds to go to. That’s when I chose PACT. I actually googled anti-trafficking organizations and decided on PACT for two reasons: (1) PACT is a local organization and (2) PACT works primarily to prevent child sex trafficking victimization.

Q: How did you first get inspired to do something about child sex trafficking?

A: I found out about child trafficking when I lived in Phoenix, Arizona in 2010. A church I attended with my husband had small group meetings and at one point, the leader showed us video about trafficking called “Branded”. At the time, I thought trafficking was about moving people across the border, but my eyes were opened to this evil in our community that is so prevalent, yet hidden in plain sight. The video mentioned an organization called StreetLightUSA that specializes in the care and healing of sex trafficking survivors. Inspired to take action, I worked with our church to raise money for StreetLightUSA.

Q: Why is the issue of child sex trafficking important to you?

A: Honestly, the issue has been on my heart ever since I found out about it. We had moved Oregon from Arizona to a small community right off I-5 and even there, trafficking was rampant–yet hidden. How is it possible that an evil like this is so prevalent, yet hidden in plain sight? It needs to be addressed, and to be addressed, it needs to be exposed. I look forward to coming up with new ideas to help support the fight against child sex trafficking with my art!

You can catch Carissa Cornelius of YetiParade at pop-up markets and events around town like the Staple! Show. Check out her vinyl sticker at Sweet Ritual, plus more stickers watercolor paintings, block prints, zines, sewing pillows, and block prints on Etsy , Instagram and Facebook.