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Diversity & Inclusion, Leaders, STEM

Actress Sonequa Martin-Green Will Help Conquer “The Final Frontier” in New Star Trek Series

America is still on the celestial high that was created on Monday of this week with the Great American Solar Eclipse. I planned to publish a post on gas prices as we neared the Labor Day Holiday weekend, however, it’s a little early for that. Instead, I am taking advantage of the frenzy that the solar eclipse created and briefly spotlighting some news that I missed a few weeks ago.


Sonequa Martin-Green stars as Michael Burnham, the first officer of the USS Shenzhou and later the USS Discovery.

Back in November 2015, CBS All Access announced that it was creating a new Star Trek series. This is the first new series in 12 years. Sonequa Martin-Green (you may know her as Sasha Williams in the Walking Dead series) will play First Officer Michael Burnham in CBS’ upcoming show.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Martin-Green’s character happens to be a human raised on Vulcan by Spock’s father. As a spoiler, she has mastered the Vulcan salute. And just so we get the timeline correct with the other series and movies, Star Trek: Discovery takes place roughly 10 years before the first adventures with Kirk and Spock.

What does Martin-Green have to say about all of this?: “The honor is mine. The pleasure is mine. I feel that we are all running over—our cups are running over with gratitude and excitement,” Martin-Green told the press. “We’re bursting at the seams from the weight of it and the breadth of it. We just—we couldn’t be more thrilled to share this journey with you because we understand its significance. We know we’re telling a story we believe in. Everybody is so passionate…This is an epicly grand, yet microscopically tuned, deeply emotional story. We don’t take it for granted. We don’t take it lightly. I certainly don’t. I feel like—it’s a dream to be able to be a part of history. It’s a dream. So, thank you.” (Source: Entertainment Weekly)

Seeing that America (and let’s be real, the rest of the world) is still discussing gender and race issues as we head toward the end of the first two decades of the 21st century, Sonequa Martin-Green’s character and face couldn’t have shown up at a better time. As of this week, our country is still discussing the Charlottesville, VA incident and whether or not Civil War Memorials should stay or go!  Instead of going back to the way that things used to be, or whatever it is that some folks want to go back to, it is time to look forward to the future of who we are becoming and what our country will be and look like to ourselves and the rest of the world. A future that could look similar to the one that Gene Roddenberry created in 1964 and  premiered as a television series in 1966.

One of the things that most viewers, myself included, liked about the original series is that it presented a quasi-utopian world that had moved beyond the prejudices and unnecessary divisions that Roddenberry saw all around him. The original cast included both the Russian character Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig) at the height of the Cold War and the legendary Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) at a time when most black women on screen were forced to play maids (Source: Entertainment Weekly)  CBS’ new iteration, Star Trek: Discovery, looks primed to continue the franchise’s tradition of diversity and inclusiveness.

And imagine that! For all the talk and rhetoric about diversity and inclusion, Gene Roddenberry was well ahead of his time and the topic. And if Gene Roddenberry could do that 50+ years ago, surely we can do it now.

Star Trek: Discovery premieres September 24, 2017 on CBS All Access.


About Vi Brown

Vi is principal and CEO of Prophecy Consulting Group, LLC, an Arizona firm that provides business and engineering services to private and public clients. Prior to establishing her consulting practice in 2001, Vi worked with Motorola, Maricopa County Government, Pacific Gas & Electric, CH2M Hill, and Procter & Gamble. As an adjunct faculty member, Vi teaches undergraduate calculus classes and graduate level environmental courses. She is also a professional speaker.


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