Friday, December 10, 2010

We Support Katie! Geeks Unite!

So, today is the day!
Friday? Well, yes that's true, but it's also

Support Star Wars and Geek Pride for Katie Day!

I'm sure you all remember little Katie, who was teased for loving Star Wars.

Well, today we are asked to wear Star Wars shirts to show support against anti-bullying and also to donate a Star Wars toy to a local hospital, shelter or toy drive with it labeled to be given to a Boy OR Girl.

Here is the wonderful follow up from Katie's mom about how much this has affected their lives since it went viral.

Andrew and I were the first ones to adopt Katie. She has lived with us from the time she was several months old, and we have escorted her through the ups and downs of daily life for seven years.
And then last month there was the great water bottle incident, where Katie was teased for carrying a Star Wars thermos. The little boys told her during lunch and recess that Star Wars was only for boys. I wrote a post about it, and a lot of people paid attention.
There are countless clubs and organizations out in the world, and I have witnessed the great unifying power of common interests. I have seen waves of emotion shared by people at musical concerts. I have seen sports fans literally go nuts over the outcome of big games. I remember when my husband and I were lucky enough to be attending the White Sox game where Buerhle pitched a perfect game, and the energy connecting the fans was awesome.
But until I wrote the anti-bullying article, I had underestimated the unifying power among the self-named Geeks, Nerds, Star Wars fans and science fiction fans. They can cheer with the best of the sports fans. Aided by the speed and ease of social media, the Geeks sent Katie's story zipping around the globe.
Without a doubt, they have been the most vocal supporters of Katie's preference for "boy toys." Their voices are passionate and compassionate. They have left thousands of comments, and the comments tell the story of a group of people who were marginalized during their childhoods for being nerdy and for being girls who liked "boy interests".
They were teased; they were bullied. They were taunted and laughed at and ridiculed. There is a wide spectrum of behavior between teasing and bullying, and the people who have responded to Katie's story fall all along the spectrum.
What strikes me is how these individuals who were once so isolated are now part of a very tight community. They have found each other; they are plugged into each other, and they have each other's backs. Now they have Katie's back, too. The Geeks have adopted Katie, taken her by the hand and offered to escort her through life as a girl who likes Star Wars.
"Show me the treasures of darkness," my friend Beth counseled me years ago, when we were both grieving the loss of our first babies. I have always remembered her wise words. There are always gifts to be found in times of trouble.
Time and again, the treasure in the darkness is the goodness in people, the kindness of strangers who hear your story and send their support.
During this holiday season, there have been unexpected gifts for Katie. These gifts are labors of love from people who have never met her but still care about her.
A Star Wars fan named Melissa knitted a warm soft Princess Leia hat for Katie to wear this winter. Katie slipped it on her head and smiled as if her face would break into two pieces.

A first grade teacher named Danielle runs a Star Wars themed classroom in California. Danielle's students all wrote letters to Katie, complete with beautiful drawings. Danielle bound the letters into a book called Letters To Katie and sent it on. Today, Katie woke up sick with a fever, crying and throwing up. In the afternoon, I saw her lying on the couch, huddled under a blanket and reading the letters from a group of children across the country. There was a smile on her face.

An artist for Star Wars named Scott Zirkel drew Katie a picture of herself as a Jedi holding a light saber. We are framing it to hang in her room.

Above all, there is the gift of other people's stories.
Several days ago, Katie was moaning about how she didn't want to wear her patch. This is a daily tirade. As I tried to coax her into putting on the patch, I remembered that one of the comments to Katie in the Anti-Bullying article was from a man who called himself the One-Eyed Jedi, because he was born with only one eye. I told Katie about him, and she immediately stopped crying. She began asking me questions about him, and as her focus shifted from herself to him, she was able to calm down and put on her patch.
The next morning, when she protested wearing the patch, I told her about a woman who had written about how she had suffered from scoliosis as a child and needed to wear a brace. Again, Katie was able to move outside of her unhappiness and put on her patch.
These are gifts that cannot be purchased in a store. They cannot be replicated, and they mean the world to us.
And Katie is learning how to reach out to help other children in the same way that she has been helped. A mother named Emily called to tell me that her first grade son was recently teased for bringing My Little Pony for show and tell. She said he was terribly upset by the incident, and when I told Katie about it, she called to leave a message for the child.
She said, "I am Katie. I like Star Wars, and you like My Little Pony. I know other boys who like to play with My Little Pony, and it's great, and umm, May the Pony Be With You!" she finished proudly.
It is a gift to watch your child grow.
At Katie's school, the entire week coming up is dedicated to learning about gender bias. On Friday, December 10th, her school is having Proud To Be Me Day and is encouraging all students to wear something that represents their special interests regardless of gender (i.e. a girl in a Star Wars shirt or a boy in a princess shirt).
It is a gift to watch a group of people come together to support the blue girls and pink boys struggling to navigate life in a society that can be rigidly split along gender lines. It is a treasure in the darkness.

My friends over at Star Wars Facebook'd decided to take this day one step further and post our picture of us wearing our Star Wars shirts.
As for me, I could decide which shirt to wear, so I took pictures of all of them.
Wanna see? I know you do.
These 3 I bought from H & M for myself last Christmas and happen to be children's shirts (mostly for boys), but did that stop me from buying them and wearing them proudly? Never!
My clone trooper logo is actully that fuzzy velvatine stuff. <3

This is one of my all time favorites. It has such a great array of characters on it!

I love the gold lettering on this shirt. On the back it says "May the force be with you"

This is the sweater that my boyfriend bought me when we went to the Star Wars Concert.

It has Princess Leia holding a chello on the back!

Another boy's shirt, but it fits me perfectly! Not to mention Lego stormtroopers!

This is a Men's shirt, but much too cool to pass up!

And of course my t-shirts from Her Universe, who have always supported women geeks!

This is the shirt that I'm wearing today!

as well as mismatched Star Wars socks

I'm wear the Yoda one on my left foot and the Darth Vader one on my right!
And of course I'm carrying my Star Wars messenger bag as per usual.

Oh Man! I totally forgot about 2 more shirts!
How could I forget my Empire shirt?

Or my Luke Skywalker shirt! It was the first one I ever bought!

Now I know that by wearing Star Wars shirts that this isn't going to stop bullying, but it will show one little girl that she can be proud of herself and the things she loves.

So, what are you wearing?

1 comment:

  1. Go Katie Go! I'm wearing my "these aren't the breasts your looking for" T-shirt