By William Jackson, parent and educator with Duval County Public Schools and Edward Waters College
Over 200 girls and young women had the opportunity to attend the movie Hidden Figures in Jacksonville, Florida. This unique opportunity was provided by the hard work they have done and adults who recognized that it takes a village and passion to build youth, teens and young adults.
Venetia Elementary students Asya Fox, Gabrielle Cogdell, Alondra Calhoun and Breyonna Fox, who attends Lee High School, attended the showing of Hidden Figures at AMC Regency. The showing was provided by Latonya Richardson and her daughter Taylor Richardson, they raised several thousand dollars through Go Fund Me to purchase tickets to allow girls and young ladies to attend the showing for free.
Over 200 girls attended and received SWAG bags with the Hidden Figures book, posters, a free photograph and other items that helped to inspire and motivate the girls to achieve their dreams. The hope is to show that girls and women can be successful in careers that involve STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) skill-sets and even STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics). Taylor Richardson and her mother have been invited to the White House on several occasions to conferences such as “Women You Should Know” and the first premier of “Hidden Figures” that included speeches by President Obama, Mrs. Obama, the actors, current and past astronauts with NASA.
Taylor Richardson’s dream is to be an astronaut and travel to Mars, explore the surface and return to earth safely. She hopes her dreams and hard work to achieve this goal inspires other girls and women not be fearful to dream big and work hard and be successful in their lives.
Taylor stated after she attended the Hidden Figures movie and took pictures with real astronauts, actors and directors, “I’m just amazed at the shoulders that I’m standing on to allow me to work to achieve my dreams.”
It was Taylor Richardson’s attendance at the “Hidden Figures” premiere at the White House 2016 which lead her on the mission to inspire as many girls and women in Jacksonville, Florida.
Breyonna Fox, Lee High School student stated emotionally after seeing the movie, “Wow, they actually did all of those things, they accomplished their goals.” While talking about the movie, she stated that she was inspired to write her own blog coming out soon, “My Hidden Figures Reflection.”