Congratulations to Latanya Richardson and her daughter Taylor Richardson for the success of showing Hidden Figures in Jacksonville, Florida to over 200 girls. The awesome story of how African American women helped NASA to put astronauts into space and bring them back to earth.
Girls and women from around Jacksonville, Florida attended representing groups and schools from around the city. As a teacher, I had the honor to bring several students from Venetia Elementary School a Medical Magnet STEM that teaches grade K to 5th and a Lee High School student. My only regret is that I could not bring more.
The emotional and psychological inspiration of this movie demands to ask what is next to keep the seriousness and the historical value of this movie moving forward. STEM and STEAM that are being applied in the educational cultures of schools is seen as not only career necessary but has scientific, business and commerce influences in this country and on a global scale.
The movie brilliantly showed not just the struggles of women in the NASA Space Program but showed the value and application of their education. The reason why educational degrees are important, the value of visiting the library to learn new things and applying them to real-world situations, and the personal responsibility to prepare for the future.
There were many scenes where the women were called “computers” as their analytical abilities were recognized, but only later were they respected after showing and demanding equality through leadership opportunities and promotions that were withheld only because of their color.
Working with many types of math and integrating mathematical equations that sometimes had to be created. This shows that girls and women have the skill sets and analytical abilities to function in complex and STEAM areas that demand creativity and innovation.
Hidden Figures addressed several civil rights issues in the areas of political and educational equality that in some cases are still being addressed for Blacks, Hispanics and others of
color, the struggle still continues and there have been many successes.
Girls and women will take away many lessons from the movie and see how history was changed not just by protests, by going to school to earn advanced degrees, learning the laws of the nation, how to speak properly without using profanity, the importance of family unity and support and setting goals that everyone works towards. Another important key is to carry or act like there is self-pride, cultural respect, and intelligence. A key lesson shared is that children learned early that education is the ticket to a better life even when there are struggles and challenges to be overcome.
Even seeing the implementation of “new” technologies at the time when early computers were not as easy to use, but there was continued learning in programming languages that demanded to study and forward thinking.
The movement to gaining educational parity and equality is a great value for boys and girls of color, this movie is worth seeing again and applied to the learning initiatives in all schools to allow students to see the why they need to be serious about their education and the vision for their dreams of success.
Seeing the new IBM computers being used, but it took a woman to learn the programming language to make it work sends a message that women are as smart and intelligent as men, even if those men are black or white.
There are no barriers that can stop girls and women from gaining leadership skill-sets and applying the intelligence to make positive and historical changes. Parents, mothers, fathers, and grandparents if you have not seen Hidden Figures take your children and
other children if possible to see this movie that not only shows the historical application of education and cultural pride and respect, that gender is not a liability, color is not a curse, there is a blending of historical successes and global influence.
Hidden Figures opens the mind’s eye that anything is possible, that dreams can be achieved, and intelligence is dope and lit.
What is next is up to parents, schools, churches and communities to support children, youth, and teens. Time will tell, graduations rates from high school and college will tell and the growing number of girls and boys of color in STEM careers will tell.