Kid Idols! Taylor Richardson is a STEM Hero for Little Girls

If you’ve read our review of Hidden Figures – or better yet, you saw the movie – then you know how inspiring the story is… because, it’s not just a story. It’s the amazing account of three real-life women of color who helped NASA win the space-race in the 1960s.

Taylor Richardson was in the first grade in South Carolina when two fifth graders bullied her, quite severely. After the incident, she stopped speaking. Her mom, Toni, moved them to Jacksonville, Florida, to give her daughter a fresh start in a new school. She stayed quiet, but one day, Taylor wandered into the school library, and everything changed. A librarian gave the young girl a book about Dr. Mae Jemison, the first female African American astronaut :  a woman who looked like her and was also a survivor of bullying. Taylor started speaking again. She had a new hero and a new mission: to become an astronaut, just like Dr. Mae Jemison.

After attending an event celebrating behind-the-scenes heroes in space exploration history at the White House, 13-year-old Taylor (aka Astronaut StarBright) decided it would be great to pay it forward and give other girls in her community the chance to see the movie, as well. She went right to Go Fund Me and posted a campaign, which took off like a, er…rocket.

“As a girl of color, it’s important that girls not only look at the stars but take the steps to reach for them; because many years ago a group of black women marched into a room as programmers and changed the game not only of space exploration but broke gender barriers as well,” Richardson wrote on the page. Her goal was to raise $2,600 to cover movie tickets, a copy of the book, and a kid’s drink, popcorn, and gummies for 100 girls. But the campaign went viral and over 5K was raised from nearly 150 donors! Two AMC theaters were packed with girls who hopefully will be inspired by the movie’s portrayal of women of color excelling in science and technology careers.

“I never expected this would happen. I thought only a few people would come to the screening. A little girl came up afterward to tell me she now wants to be an astronaut, too. She was maybe five years old. In that moment, I felt like I’d accomplished my goal.” What’s more, Taylor’s Go Fund Me inspired a national movement: There are now 70 campaigns for Hidden Figures screenings in several states that have raised over $120,000.

Taylor continues to pay it forward – she’s active in STEM and is involved in promoting and supporting many causes, including childhood literacy (“I feel every kid deserves a book,” said Taylor. “Books can take you to great places and those places can lead to great possibilities,” she says), the Unity Day anti-bullying campaign, a girls’ empowerment club, and clothing drives for women and children.

Wow! We know she will achieve her ultimate goal, but we hope she doesn’t stay in space too long: we need Taylor right here on earth.

Tags : kid idols   

Valerie Rivas
What an amazing young lady!
Lindsey Velasco
Wow. So inspiring!