The Star Trek actress Zoe Saldana (Uhura in the current run of Star Trek movies) made an appearance at SXSW in Austin to discuss BESE (pronounced “Bee-Seh”), a digital platform intended to reshape the cultural narrative by shining light on the untold stories that reflect today’s America.

“Two thirds of people of Latinx origin are American-born,” Saldana said, using Latinx as a gender-neutral term for the male and female members of the Latin community.

“When you turn on the TV there are no compassionate characters of the Latinx community. Where are the American stories with my face on it? You don’t need a statistic to tell you what you see every day when you turn on the TV, when you go to a museum, when you open a history book at school. You’re not there, but you’re just as American, you’re just as patriotic.”

BESE is designed as a platform to give a voice to Latinx youth through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram as well as youtube videos and podcasts. “Millennials [up to 37 yrs old] and Gen Z’s [those younger than 25] are driving the narrative, the way they want their environment portrayed. It’s not really about how to talk to them, it’s about learning how to listen to them. GenZ’s want you to relate to them, not impress them.”

Saldana said that for those in the Latinx community, “history is important, We created a show where we highlight figures of the past who paved the way for our American family. The one thing we cannot afford to lose is what’s in Pandora’s Box: hope. Love keeps us curious and love keeps us hopeful. We have to nurture that and pass it down to our young.”


The Blanton Art Museum in Austin currently has an exhibit on Latin American history. It runs through May 26, 2019.

Photo by C. Cunningham

By Dr. Cliff Cunningham

Dr. Cliff Cunningham is a planetary scientist, the acknowledged expert on the 19th century study of asteroids. He is a Research Fellow at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia. He serves as Editor of the History & Cultural Astronomy book series published by Springer; and Associate Editor of the Journal of Astronomical History & Heritage. Asteroid 4276 in space was named in his honour by the International Astronomical Union based in the recommendation of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Dr. Cunningham has written or edited 15 books. His PhD is in the History of Astronomy, and he also holds a BA in Classical Studies.

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