Yahoo reports George Takei, the pioneering Asian American “Star Trek” actor and LGBTQ icon, said massive anti-racism protests this month show the US is “making progress” on diversity, but warned the pandemic is renewing deep-rooted prejudices.
Speaking to AFP ahead of his address at the University of California Los Angeles’ virtual commencement Friday, Takei said the tens of thousands marching over George Floyd’s death in police custody inspired confidence in the next generation.
But — drawing on his childhood in US wartime internment camps, and decades trapped in the closet due to Hollywood homophobia — he urged youth to stand firm on minority rights.
“We are making progress, but that involves active participation,” he said.
“As a society, we are moving, inching forward.”
The star best known for playing Sulu in the original “Star Trek” has spent decades campaigning for social justice.
At 83, he is not marching this time, but the protests remind him of the 1960s, when he met Martin Luther King, Jr. after performing in civil rights musical “Fly Blackbird.”
“He said, thank you very much, and especially you, as an Asian man — I was the sole Asian in that cast, I usually was back then,” said Takei. “There weren’t other Asians involved in the civil rights movement.”
Now, with young people of all backgrounds marching against racism, Takei praised the next crop of activists.
“You, the infinitely diverse hi-tech class have the whole of human history, the glorious and the ugly, as your launching pad,” he said later in his UCLA address.
“Stretch as far as you can,” he added. “Boldly go where no one has gone before.”