SpockNimoyThis day is here­by ded­i­cat­ed to Star Trek.

If you are in any­way informed about Star Trek, you should know that this show isn’t just about Sci­ence Fic­tion. It’s about human­i­ty, evo­lu­tion, hope. Look guys, I know that you’re may­be expect­ing a fun lit­tle dit­ty on how cool star trek is, but I’m going to get a lit­tle seri­ous. Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek was, in its time and pos­si­bly even today, Far Before its Time.

Let me tell you this sto­ry that gives me chills every time I think about it: Once upon a time, Nichelle Nichols. who plays Lt. Uhu­ra (in the orig­i­nal series), resigned from the show. A few days, she changed her mind (thank god) because she got a pep talk from an Amer­i­can Hero.  Mar­t­in Luther King, Jr. saw her at an event and told her he was a huge fan and why her role was so very impor­tant.  In an inter­view, she recounts, “he was telling me why I could not [resign]. He said I had the first non-stereo­typ­i­cal role, I had a role with hon­or, dig­ni­ty and intel­li­gence. He said, ‘You sim­ply can­not abdi­cate, this is an impor­tant role. This is why we are march­ing. We nev­er thought we’d see this on TV.’”

gene-roddenberryGot goose­bumps? I do. Luck­i­ly she took his word and went to Mr. Rod­den­ber­ry the very next day to take up the role again. When explain­ing her rea­sons to him, she says, “He sat there and looked at me and said, ‘God bless Dr. Mar­t­in Luther King. Some­body does under­stand me.’”

After Star Trek was can­celed, Nichols vol­un­teered  as a recruiter for NASA, suc­cess­ful­ly recruit­ing minori­ties into the space pro­gram. She helped get the first wom­an into space, as well as the first African Amer­i­can. And it was all because she was on this one Sci­ence Fic­tion show.

Look I don’t care about whether you think that Star Trek is cheesy and campy. It kind of is. But it was also a move­ment.

Uhura_and_Kirk_kissStar Trek had the first inter­ra­cial kiss on TV, between Shat­ner and Nichols. And they knew it was a big deal, so much so that they active­ly flubbed every scene filmed with­out the actu­al kiss so that they edi­tors had no choice but to include the kiss on the show!

In sea­son one, some of the men in the back­ground wore skirts. Because Rod­den­ber­ry and his team fig­ured that was the most log­i­cal pro­gres­sion of equal­i­ty between the sex­es.

Rod­den­ber­ry envi­sioned the first offi­cer being played by a wom­an. That was a lit­tle too far for the exec­u­tives, so they put the Alien, Spock got the role.

There are just a few ways that Rod­den­ber­ry tried to change the world through the mag­ic of Tele­vi­sion. We should all demand such excel­lence from our mod­ern TV shows!

On a lighter note, here is a fun fact that has noth­ing to do with chang­ing the world: Nei­ther Shat­ner nor Quin­to could make their hand do the quin­tes­sen­tial Spock ges­ture, the Vul­can salute. Shat­ner resort­ed to fish­ing wire, while Quin­to had his fin­gers glued togeth­er.

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So, what do you think?