Activist George Takei to speak at Bryan Series

One evening. One man. One lifetime of experiences.

On March 21, Guilford College’s Bryan Series will host George Takei, whose talk begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex.

Most familiar for his role as Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu in the sci-fi television program “Star Trek,” Takei is known as an advocate for Japanese Americans, marriage equality and LGBT rights.

“(Takei) will likely talk about his career as an actor on ‘Star Trek’ and other roles,” said Suzanne Ingram, associate director of the Bryan Series. “He will focus much of his talk on his experience as a child in the Japanese American internment camps, … his Broadway musical, ‘Allegiance’ … (and) his social media presence.”

Born on April 20, 1937, in Los Angeles,  Takei spent most of his childhood at Rohwer in Arkansas and Tule Lake in California, two Japanese-American internment camps.

“Allegiance” was inspired by Takei’s childhood experiences nearly three-quarters of a century ago. Takei stars in the musical as the lead.

Takei also has a well-known presence on social media.

As the biography page of his website states, Takei has been “unofficially dubbed the King of Facebook” and has around 12 million social media followers.

“He is a rock star on social media and is a great human rights and LGBT activist,” said Ingram.

Takei is a member of the Human Rights Campaign and was a spokesman for its Coming Out Project.

“George is one of the most well-known social activists in America, if not the world,” said Ty Buckner, associate vice president for the Bryan Series. “Many of his commitments are Guilford’s commitments.

“George has a great story to tell. I look forward to our students meeting with (him) and enjoying his talk.”

Students are generally enthusiastic about the event.

Junior Rosie Lucero points out that she has been witnessing this excitement.

“I’ve heard a lot of commotion about (Takei’s) visit, and I know a lot of people are looking forward to it,” said Lucero.

While some students are excited for the Bryan Series, others may not be as enthusiastic.

“I don’t think that Guilford students currently embrace the Bryan Series as part of our college culture,” said sophomore Anna Kelly, a student intern for the Bryan Series.

This lack of excitement for the Series might be attributed to students’ lack appreciation of its value.

“(The Bryan) Series is really, really cool,” said senior Laura Hay. “(It does) a lot for the local culture and (tries) to encourage people to take on new ideas and understandings.”

To learn more about upcoming speakers, such as Malcolm Gladwell, visit the Bryan Series Facebook page.

You can also find behind-the-scenes action of Takei’s visit on the Bryan Series Instagram (@guilfordbryanseries). Additionally, the entire event will be live-tweeted.

There will also be an on-campus student session on March 21 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.