Star Trek star George Takei was in Tampa on Tuesday to speak before a convention of educators, the National Tutoring Association, which is a cause dear to the heart of an actor who has used his sizable social media following (6 million Facebook friends) to highlight civil rights issues in between hilarious cat memes.
As he told his life story, he kept returning to the teachers who formed the "ecosystem of education" in which he thrived. It ranged from his early teachers in Japanese internment camp, to being mentored by Richard Burton "in his pre-Elizabethan period," he said with a wink, to his college professor C. Bernard Jackson, who enlisted him in the wake of the 1965 Watts riots to work with the Inner City Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
"I am who I am today because of these people, and that's what you folks are doing every day, building a better society, and for that I thank you," he said to vigorous applause and a standing ovation.
For more on George Takei's trip to Tampa, click here for Sharon Kennedy Wynne's story.