Lake County Bar Association, Hollywood, Teach Students Lessons about Hidden Heroes

In honor of Black History Month, The Lake County Bar Association and Foundation teamed up to take 50 students to the theater to view Hidden Figures. The blockbuster movie was nominated for an Oscar for “Best Motion Picture of the Year” and received many other Hollywood accolades.

The movie focuses on three brilliant African-American women at NASA — Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn (Glen Powell) into orbit. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.

Inspired by the movie, (and the prompting of teachers), Cristo Rey students submitted written reflections. Here we share some of them:

Augi Martinez, senior

Although this movie took place in the early 1960’s, it is unfortunate to know that we still face a significant amount of racism in our world today. The film, Hidden Figures shows us three of many very strong, influential women who have made a difference not only in NASA, but in our world as a whole.

The film shows the life of three black women who are treated unfairly in the workplace, but that never stopped them from being the best they could be. These women were driven from the beginning to the end, the adversities that they faced on a daily basis never held them back. Not to mention the actors, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae, who took my breath away. When Katherine (Taraji P. Henson) stood up for herself in a room full of white men and said, “I don’t own pearls. You don’t pay coloreds enough to afford pearls. And I work like a dog living off a pot of coffee the rest of you don’t want to touch,” chills ran down my spine because this is what Black women endured at this time regardless of how much smarter they were than all of these men.

Something personal that I took away from the film was to never let people tell me what I can and cannot do, especially if a person is racist or just trying to discourage me in general. I am the one who will lead my own path and there are going to be people in the way that just want to see me down. Particularly with a lot of the stuff our country is facing today with discrimination it is good to remind everyone that the United States is a melting pot and there isn’t just one kind of “beautiful.” Everyone has a talent that should be appreciated as much as the next person. Overall, the message of the movie was beautiful and I definitely recommend this movie to everyone whether you like movies with political messages or just good movies in general.

America Garcia, sophomore

Hidden Figures touched on many racial injustice problems that African-Americans faced back in the day.

African-Americans were seen as inferior based on the color of their skin. In Hidden Figures the main characters Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson worked for NACA and NASA. They were smart, honorable woman who had aspirations and wanted to make a change.

Throughout the movie, one notices how much African-Americans were looked down on. Becoming an African-American NASA mathematician, supervisor, or engineer was unheard of for their race back in the day. It was so unheard of that even African-Americans started to doubt the things that they could achieve but Katherine, Dorothy, and Mary did not give up.

They fought for what they believed to be right and for what they wanted no matter what it took. They made a mark in history and proved to all that African-Americans could achieve what any other race could. This is the type of change we should be making today, bettering our communities and fighting for what we believe to be right no matter the obstacles we face. Coming from a Hispanic background, now more than ever I could relate to these three powerful women.

With our new president, there is a lot of negative talk about the Hispanic community, but no one ever talks about the positive. Hispanics do so much for the well-being of our country and we can achieve so much more.

We too can become NASA mathematicians, supervisors, and engineers, everyone can. Expectations based on the color of our skin do not define who we are individually and what we can come to be as a person. For this reason we should all come together as one to make a mark in history.

Rigo Ayala, senior

When first thinking of the movie Hidden Figures, I knew it was going to be about African-American women and their contributions to NASA and NACA.

What I didn’t know, however, was the amount of effort they gave despite the little respect they got. They were faced with a scenario where it was literally everyone against them but didn’t stop them. They did what they believed was right and they followed their dreams regardless of what people did and said to them. It is imperative that we know about these women and their contributions because they had such
bravery and courage to go against all odds. They stood up not only for themselves, but also for all African-Americans out there.

After watching Hidden Figures, I’ve gained insight on how African Americans got treated back then and how some still get treated today. The movie has made me view life in a way that shows gratitude for everything I have. I have realized how much better it has gotten since the time the movie is set in. However, we as a society still need to improve. There’s still social discrimination due to a person’s color, race, or religion. It might not be as bad as before but it’s still out there. With this new insight, I will do my best to set a fair environment for everyone so all can feel comfortable. I will also fight for those who still suffer from any form of discrimination until they have a friendly environment. I want to create peace between everyone and I will try my hardest every day to make sure that happens.

Particularly with a lot of the stuff our country is facing today with discrimination it is good to remind everyone that the United States is a melting pot and there isn’t just one kind of “beautiful.” Everyone has a talent that should be appreciated as much as the next person. Overall, the message of the movie was beautiful and I definitely recommend this movie to everyone whether you like movies with political messages or just good movies in general.

Diana Gonzales, freshman

Hidden Figures is a story that uncovers the reality of women.

Society has always believed that women can’t do things that men can, especially in the field of science or math. A woman is always viewed as less than a man, especially if the woman is African-American or Latino.

Their stories are important for us today because we get to see them as an example to make a difference.

The community of African-American women comes together to make a difference. We have their stories for motivation that we too can do something to make a change, that we can be treated equal. We can unite so our voices can be heard.

Hidden Figures taught me that you have to fight and never give up for what you want. It showed me that if a person needs help you have to help them no matter who the person is. I learned that I can’t give up on what I really want just because people don’t believe I can do it, all I have to do is believe in myself and didn’t stop them.

These women did what they believed was right and they followed their dreams regardless of what people did and said to them.

It is imperative that we know about these women and their contributions because they had such bravery and courage to go against all odds. They stood up not only for themselves, but also for all African Americans out there.

After watching Hidden Figures, I’ve gained insight on how African-Americans got treated back then and how some still get treated today.

The movie has made me view life in a way that shows gratitude for everything I have. I have realized how much better it is since the time the movie is set in.

However, we as a society still need to improve. There’s still social discrimination due to a person’s color, race, or religion. It might not be as bad as before but it’s still out there.

With this new insight, I will do my best to set a fair environment for everyone so all can feel comfortable. I will also fight for those who still suffer from any form of discrimination until they have a friendly environment.

I want to create peace between everyone and I will try my hardest every day to make sure that happens.

Johnathan Guzman, senior

Hidden Figures isn’t just a movie it is also a lesson.

It’s the type of movie that gives you pain and takes you on the trip to the past.

In the movie, the plot takes place in the early era where racism and segregation still exist, which meant that African-Americans had one bathroom and whites had another. This movie shows that modern America is getting divided while few citizens try to reconnect it. It is terrifying to think that there was a time where women weren’t taken serious and seen as a joke.

What men failed to understand is that what women can do what men can just the same. Men, women and children make the world go round and bring the peace that we all deserve.

The movie is important to us all today because it shows the progress America has made. It shows progress, determination and greatness. It reminds us that hard work makes great memories and miracles. Working hard can change the world in a positive way.

As a son and brother, this movie has taught me that everyone with fair opportunities can create greatness. America is a great place where people of all races and genders can do what they love.

This movie taught me that people are going to stop you from your dreams and bring you down, but not to let yourself to be brought down. Regardless of age, race and gender we’re all capable to do what we love and achieve our highest goals.

We all go through obstacles in life but that shouldn’t stop you from your dreams. Pain leads to the healing; struggles lead to toughness; and love from family and friends,brings the happiness. When you go through it all things will come together. Never stop trying, being happy and achieving the highest goals is possible. Like a rocket, we can all fly high. And it’s up to us to leave the mark on the world.

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