'Hidden Figures' free viewing event inspires young girls

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Several local organizations came together with a mission to empower girls in our area.

Nearly 700 young ladies ranging from 5th to 12th grade were at Regal Cinemas in North Charleston for the free viewing event of the new movie Hidden Figures.

The event was made possible by community sponsors. 

For many, Hidden Figures is more than a movie.

Ki'Ara Watts is a 6th grader who attended the event.

"It's really cool to see this movie to see what women can become if they try hard," Watts said.

It's empowering young girls to be what they want to be despite obstacles that may come along.

"When the men doubted Catherine she never gave up," Watts said.

The movie is about three black women mathematicians and an engineer who played a pivotal role in launching NASA's first successful space mission in putting an American astronaut into orbit. They helped NASA win the Space Race.

Event organizer, Radia Heyward says the women were resilient and assertive.

Heyward says this event was a way to honor her late mother who was a proponent of higher education and women being assertive in STEM fields. Her mother was the only one of her 11 siblings to graduate from college.

"If my mom believed in me as my mentor I could do this for some other girls... and empower, give them the tools and skills they need to succeed in life," Heyward said. 

The movie ended in panels session featuring local women in STEM careers. There were four theaters full of girls and four panels. 

Hannah Gholson says she enjoyed the movie, but she also really liked to hear from women in our area from various career fields. 

"All the girls got to come in and be inspired by these great people who succeeded and they were talking to us about how we should not let our self-doubt get in the way of our success," Gholson said.

The women in the movie crossed gender and race barriers, inspiring many to dream big.

Ashlynn Woodruff attend the viewing and she says she wants to be a doctor. She also aspires to be like the women in the movie.

"They can show that blacks have to stand, that we have rights and that we can do anything," Woodruff said. 

The event was hosted by Ladies Enriching the Community Inc., NUCOR Steel Berkeley, Charleston Women's Wellness Center, YWCA Charleston, New Jerusalem Church of God In Christ, Spann Wilder Law, LLC.,The Curry Law Firm, and other private donors.

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