On Friday, 2nd of June, 2017. Over 20 of our Asikana Network members filled the screening room at BongoHive to watch “Hidden Figures.” The film is based on the true story of the lives of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, brilliant female African American women mathematicians of NASA who made Crucial contributions to the space race of the early 1960s, including the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit.
After the viewing, the group discussed and gave wonderful responses to the questions that were being asked by the facilitator Ella.
What parts of the movie they remembered and why?
Alumanda, the part when Mary Jackson went for her court case to fight for her to attend engineering classes at the all white school, even when the odds were against her she took time to prepare, she researched the judge, knew which angle to take, even the judge could see she knew what she was talking about, sometimes we go for job interviews or entrepreneur meetings only with basic preparation, we need to prepare to the best of our abilities. This is something for all of us to learn.
Martha, when Katherine Johnson had to confront the issue of a coloured toilet, why she had to run from one building to another, don’t wait for spaces to be created for you, for someone to speak up for you, you have to look the inequalities in the face and confront them.
Ella, they were married had homes to run, went to the office and worked as themselves. We must stop letting things around us dictate what we do Sometimes when women are offered jobs and feel like its a favour, like it’s something we should be grateful for hen we have so much to offer!
Brian, when Mr Harrison went to remove the sign post at the restrooms. We all need to be like Mr Harrison, see women for who they are and what they can do.
Dora, Don’t end at complaining about what’s not right, do something!
Vicky, when Dorothy came out with a book from the library find a smart way to get what you want, whether it’s through negotiation and Dorothy taught everyone and was able to negotiate for them, when you learn something, pool what others have learnt, grow together
Womba, when they had labeled her coffee “coloured coffee” despite the negativity, Katherine still put in her best even though it took long before her efforts were recognised. We shouldn’t’ give up when we face negativity.
Julia, they were all humble, be humble and allow yourself to be the best that you can be.
One of the guys also mention that he was raised by a single mum, despite the situation around her, it didn’t affect her, everything is possible as long as you believe in yourself and are determined.
How are we gonna apply what we’ve learnt?
Chileshe, first we need to know our stuff, study our immediate environment, discover the hindrances.
Vicky, they didn’t stand up because they hated the other person, it’s not about retaliating or even about the other person, it’s about what is right, what’s rightfully yours , what you’re supposed to attain
Martha, we need to understand that we’re not fighting human beings, but a system.
Not only were the women exceptionally talented black women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields, they also broke racial and gender barriers at a time when black women were supposed to “stay in their place.”
The viewing was specifically planned for young women to register for it as it is a must watch for every woman, but the day of viewing to our surprise we had males in the room. And this revealed the necessary roles of males in the lives of females to promote and encourage them to rise up and crash the “glass ceiling.”
In the 21st century, women still confront double biases of gender and race, nevertheless, Asikana Network wants our girls and young women to step out into the world of STEM wear the armors of confidence, capability and perseverance.