Two years ago, Katie Goldman was the victim of bullying by the boys at her school because she was a girl who loved Star Wars, which was apparently “only for boys.” Fans all over the galaxy used the Force (of the internet) to defend this little girl and every little girl’s passion for Star Wars. Some of Katie’s most involved supporters were from the 501st Legion.
If you don’t know who these guys and girls are, the 501st is a costuming organization that raises millions of dollars for charity and spreads the magic of the Star Wars genre worldwide with authentic-looking costumes. They have become the leading force in fan-based charity events and are truly dedicated to brightening the lives of those less-fortunate.
Two years after Katie’s story hit the internet, something happened.
In September of 2012, Star Wars fans became the target of a taunting online slideshow featured on news websites. The slideshow featured pictures of people in costume attending Star Wars Celebration VI, a biennial convention. The captions were overtly cruel, and many of the people in the photos were members of the 501st Legion.
This incident mobilized Katie and her mom Carrie into action where they were able to offer their support and encouragement to the very people who had been most excellent to them.
“In the wake of the September cyberbullying incident, Katie decided that she wanted to be a Stormtrooper for Halloween this year. This was how she could show her solidarity with the 501st Legion. I wanted to find her a costume that was a little more authentic than what the stores were offering, and I knew who to ask.”
“In August, Katie and I had met some members of the 501st Legion at the launch of my new book about bullying. Katie, who had been dubbed The Littlest Jedi when her story went viral, had a grand time that night romping around Barnes & Noble with professionally-costumed Star Wars characters. Remembering how kind everyone had been, I sent a message to one of the guys, asking if he had any suggestions for how we could make Katie a Stormtrooper costume.”
“What transpired next is nothing short of astonishing.”
Needless to say it was an epic moment in time for Katie and her family that they will never forget.
If you’re wondering what is going to happen with the suit when she’s older, since the 501st raised funds for the costume, in return they asked Katie if she would donate the costume back to them once she outgrew it so that it could be used for Make-A-Wish kids.
The 501st continue to do great things and I hope to one day financially complete my “officialness” and walk with these passionate fans that are a beacon for change. To learn more about the 501st, visit 501st.com and give them a Like on Facebook.
It has been 0 days since our last Star Wars men– ahh f*ck it.
Photos courtesy of ChicagoNow.com and Carrie Goldman.