This week, the Brown Lecture Board hosted Mr. George Takei, renowned actor and activist, for a speaking event on campus. Most famously known for his role as Hikaro Sulu in the series Star Trek, Mr. Takei has recently emerged as one of the most prominent advocates for LGBT rights in the country and has garnered a massive following on social media.
The event was hosted in Solomon and began at around 7:00 pm. I arrived a few minutes before they opened the doors, so I was able to watch the slowly filling the lecture hall turn into a buzzing audience before Mr. Takei took the stage. Just a few minutes after the hour, Mr. Takei walked out to a big round of applause, bouncing as he walked up to the podium with a huge grin on his face, brandishing the trademark Vulcan salute.
Mr. Takei’s skills as an orator and an entertainer were clear from the beginning. He moved around, spoke eloquently and clearly, and held the audience at attention through his storytelling. Starting contextually, Mr. Takei began the lecture by saying that he had lived through a harrowing part of American history: the forced internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. The son of Japanese-American immigrants, at the age of 5, Mr. Takei was forced to leave his California home and relocate to a camp in Arkansas. Due to his young age, living in the camps became a normal part of life, and he even said he had fond memories of living in Arkansas. Having to take communal showers, line up for meals, and go through the routines of life in an internment camp became standard living practices. However, he would not be in Arkansas for long. Because of his parent’s principles, they refused to admit a former allegiance to the emperor of Japan, and he was forced to move yet again, this time to a much harsher internment camp.