Girls In STEM and STEAM Make History Every Day
by William Jackson
Co-authors Tierra and Deyona
Empowerment Resources, Inc.
There are many events that encourage learning and
reflection in life journey. Thousands if not
millions of girls of color and culture across
the United States and even the world have
experienced the wonder and exhilaration of
Hidden Figures just a year ago, the movie that is
inspiring girls and women of color across the nation
and the world.
The understanding that math is a necessary skill
and that STEM- Science Technology Engineering Math (Arts)
is a real foundation for careers needing this educational
initiative for the growing numbers of girls and women of
color that are changing their thinking in choosing
careers once dominated by men. Even girls and women of
African backgrounds that were once denied entrance
into educational centers, schools and higher education.
Educational opportunities are opening the STEM doors
because the foundation is in STEM and STEAM.
The Jacksonville, Florida girls mentoring initiative
Empowerment Resources, Inc (ERI) – (JIW) Journey Into
Womanhood has a different perspective of the sciences,
math and working in careers that at one time girls did
not even consider.
Now, literally the sky is not the limit, but traveling
in space is a possibility and inner space, exploration
of the oceans and seas.
Hidden Figures showed the mental strength, emotional
resiliency and the passion for education that children
of color and culture needed to witness and understand that
they cannot allow anyone to stop their educational,
personal and professional growth. Girls are creative and
innovative in their talents and thinking. Girls of color
and culture are learning they are Dope, Lit and Unstoppable.
Racial barriers are still present, it can delay or slow
progress but it cannot stop it. Women are key in the
progression and success of NASA, this can no longer be
denied, hidden, silenced or false truths created to show that
women and even men of color are important to the exploration
of space. Diversity breeds success in STEM and STEM.
In the educational system students of color cannot
be lied to and told that Blacks did not contribute to the
success of the space program. Too many students of color have
been lied to, and their aspirations crushed because they wanted
something that their dreams saw they could achieve. To many
years students of color have been denied the education
necessary to be influential agents of change and told they
should only enter into manual labor jobs of low stature, low
responsibility and even lower wages.
JIW Youth Advisory Council Member and High School senior
Tierra and Deyona an 8th grade Middle School student share
their thoughts about the movie and its influences.
Their voices and others need to be heard and applied to
inspire and encourage others to follow their dreams and ignore
the ignorance of racism, s*xism, bias and hate.
Feedback from Tierra:
The movie Hidden Figures was a great movie because it
inspired me to want to do more for my community. It
showed me that women and men are capable of the same
things. The movie showed that black women played an
important role in landing the first man on the moon.
It also shows that to make a change you don’t have to
be disrespectful or aggressive you can be assertive.
My favorite part was the discussion after the movie.
It was very interesting to see that many of the younger
girls were inspired to make a change. I was also
surprised by how many of the girls had similarities
to the women in the movie.
Feedback from Deyona:
This movie was by far the most empowering movie I’ve ever
seen. In the movie there are three African American women
fighting for their rights. It shows the hardships and
struggles of people who look like me. This movie has shown
me that sometimes we have to be the first. There will be
times when we have to set the example for future generations
to come. Your destiny is not your job, it’s your calling.
Kathrine was just a computer for her job. But her calling
lead her to her destiny being a direct influence and
programmer for the Freedom 7 and even the Apollo 13 years
later. Overall this movie has shown me when you walk with purpose,
and strive toward your goal, you’ll collide with destiny.
Calling in your purpose can be applied to Taylor Richardson
a member of JIW and her mother, they raised several thousand
dollars in 2017 to allow hundreds of girls and boys to see this
historic movie and create a movement of change so that boys
and girls of color can see their opportunities are unlimited
by someone else’s standards. That when you walk in and towards
your purpose you are unstoppable.
The efforts of Taylor and her mother are making direct changes
with the advocacy of STEM and STEAM being provided
across the nation and even on global platforms in Africa and
Asia. This energy must continue to create more opportunities
to be available for girls, women, boys and men of color and
culture to continue to make changes that influence not only
outer space, but inner space as well.
Educational paradigms are changing to empower children of color,
their visions are expanding to careers that once were not even
imaginable. STEAM STEM STREAM CSTEM and others are growing
that encourage diversity in color and gender.