Geeks across America flaunted Star Wars paraphernalia in solidarity with a girl who was bullied at school for having a Star Wars water bottle.
Katie Goldman is a cute little first grader who lives in Evanston, Illinois. She’s 7 years old and loves Star Wars. For a while she carried her Star Wars water bottle to school and then, one morning, she asked for the pink one instead. When her mom pressed the issue, Katie burst into tears.
“She wailed, ‘The first grade boys are teasing me at lunch because I have a Star Wars water bottle. They say it’s only for boys. Every day they make fun of me for drinking out of it. I want them to stop, so I’ll just bring a pink water bottle,'” Goldman wrote, adding that she tried convincing Katie that it was OK to be different.
Carrie Goldman is the founder of Artwork By Carrie, based in Evanston, Illinois. She has taken painting classes at Northwestern University and at the Palette and Chisel Academy. She is an award-winning oil painter, with a focus on landscapes including cityscapes, doors and rural country scenes. Along with landscapes, she paints luminous portraits and still lifes. She is a colorist and enjoys experimenting with a wide range of pigments on palette.
Carrie runs a blog on about her life with Katie. Katie was adopted so she already feels different.
“I don’t want to be too different,” Katie lamented. “I’m already different. Nobody else in my class wears glasses or a patch, and nobody else was adopted. Now I’m even more different, because of my Star Wars water bottle.”
So Carrie wrote a post about her daughter’s experience on ChicagoNow and tried to work through it alone. This was on November 15. Support for Katie went viral after her mom’s blog post.
Goldman received an overwhelming response from proud geeks who lent their words of encouragement to Katie, assuring her that Star Wars was not just for boys.
Within a few hours Katie received thousands of comments offering her words of encouragement. ThinkGeek sent her a light saber. Catherine Taber, the voice of Padme in the Clone Wars contacted her, celebrating her difference. Lucasfilm sent her a bunch of gear, which she shared with her former bullies.
Over 30,000 people promised to don “Star Wars” gear On Friday in support of Katie. Katie’s plight struck a chord with tens of thousands of people offering to be her friends: “Star Wars” fans.
Through Facebook and her mom’s blog, supporters of the little girl have sent “Star Wars” toys, gear and love – and made her want to wear “Star Wars” gear to school again.
Twitter now has a hashtag #MayTheForceBeWithKatie and a Facebook event was created declaring Friday Dec. 10 a day to “Support Star Wars and Geek Pride for Katie.” Over 30,000 Facebookers said they were “attending.”
Commenters on ChicagoNow and on Facebook announced that they were wearing their Stormtrooper T-shirts and using their “Empire Strikes Back” coffee mugs on Friday. Some even said they were spreading the goodwill and donating Star Wars toys to children in hospitals and shelters across the country.
Goldman thanked the commenters — over a thousand of them — who shared their personal stories, saying that Katie was reading all of them. “You are all wonderful, and we can’t thank you enough,” she wrote on the blog.
Now, instead of crying about the bullies at school, Katie spends time reading supportive comments after dinner with her mom and dad.
“The Force will be with you,” one supporter wrote on Facebook. “Always.”
Katie got a full blast of geek love. Yes, Katie, may the force be with you!