When I was at Star Trek Las Vegas this year I picked up two issues of a fan-produced Star Trek news magazine called Stardate. In Issue #10 a fan had transcribed an informal talk Nichelle Nichols had given to a group of fans at the 1975 Star Trek convention in Chicago. It turned out to be just the pep talk I needed.
Scroll down for transcript.
Title: Nichelle in Chicago
[Speaking informally to the assembled fans at the August ’75 Chicago con about STAR TREK’s appeal and significance.]
I think you all know my attitude about Star Trek people — those of you who really dug the meaning about [what] the great bird of the galaxy, Gene Roddenberry, intended when he gave us the philosophy and the life of Star Trek. To me, it means that at a time of great apathy, at a time of discouragement about our future, an attitude of “who the hell cares?”, a time when young people were dropping out of society for one reason or another, there were many people feeling very, very different. I don’t mean differently from [the dropouts] but who were feeling in a way different from society. What Star Trek proposed to many of us who felt “different” to one degree or another was that life forms respect other life forms — not in spite of our differences, whatever those differences are, but because of those differences; because your difference adds to me, to my being, to my validity, and my difference adds to the validity of your life. What Star Trek really says that in the 20th Century we didn’t’ push the button and go “boom” — we somehow transcended that annihilation-bent or self-destructive corridor, and we turned around and we said “We shall overcome that BS”, and we said “We will make it into the future, and go forward with respect and expectations and non-aggression!” That’s what Star Trek means to me; that’s what life means to me.
People, daily I think, are discovering what we [Star Trek fans] mean — that we’re not just a fad, we’re not just a bunch of freaks that freaked off behind a groovy, crazy, freaky show – we’re “about” life; we’re about the essence of life; we’re about reality; we’re about people; we’re about living; we’re about love; we’re about the future; we’re about God, if you will, whatever that means to you; we’re about one-ness. I think we all know what we’re about, and I thank whatever the great power of the Universe is that more and more people are starting to know what we’re about. We’re about hope based on reality; not meaningless hope, not unrealistic hope, but realistic hope that has validity, that has substance, that has a future. And so, we can go forward with our posterity, with faith, with hope, and with knowing that we’re going to be here, not only 200 years from today, but 200 years from then, and 200 years from then.
So don’t let your dreams go to waste; don’t let your dreams be diffused by other people who say “Oh, you’re crazy.” Whatever your dreams are, those are God-given; those are Universal-given imaginations — if you want to do it, you’ll do it. And if you fell [sic] different, then just look in the mirror and respect yourself — and that difference is God-given; and because you’re different, you are God blessed. I’m sure that if Uhura were here, hailing frequencies and opening all channels, she would feel the same way. So, as you know her through me, know that I mean this because this is the meaning of Star Trek, because Star Trek lives, now, and it lives since time began, and it lives into infinity.
STAR TREK LIVES!