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Five years ago, a 7-year old girl named Katie Goldman was bullied at school for liking Star Wars. She enjoyed carrying a Star Wars water bottle to school every day, until she suddenly requested to bring a pink water bottle instead. Katie’s mother asked her why she didn’t want to bring her favorite Star Wars one anymore, and Katie cried, explaining that kids at school were insisting that Star Wars was only for boys.  Katie’s mom wrote about this bullying incident on her blog, Portrait of an Adoption, which got much more attention than she could have ever imagined!

People of all ages and walks of life wrote to Katie about how they had been bullied and how things have gotten so much better since. Katie received an outpouring of letters and gifts from people who saw themselves in Katie’s story. Katie has donated many of the books and toys she has received, and she now encourages other girls to stand up for what they believe. The 501st Legion, Garrison Tyranus, even decided to issue Katie her own custom-made Stormtrooper armor.

Katie’s story has even inspired an annual charity event. On a day in December every year, people are encouraged to show their geek pride and take a stance against bullying, officially called Wear Star Wars Share Star Wars Day. This day consists of two parts; (1) wearing something Star Wars or science fiction-related, and (2) donating a Star Wars or science fiction toy to a child in need. All Katie asks is that people put a post-it note with a message that says, “This toy can go to a girl or a boy” on the toys they donate in honor of the event. Learn more about how to observe #WearStarWars2015 here! This year’s event will be held on Friday, December 4th, and anyone can participate.

More recently, similar events took place and another young girl named Layla was bullied for wearing an R2-D2 jacket and Guardians of the Galaxy shirt. The same armor that Katie received 5-years prior was gifted to Layla. After Layla suited up, she was whisked away to meet “Weird Al” Yankovic at a local concert put on by the 501st Legion.

These girls are truly Forces For Change by standing up to bullies and not changing who they are. Despite instances of bullying, there is a larger community that will step in to show their support, whether it’s one fan writing a letter explaining that Star Wars isn’t just for boys, or an international fan group issuing customized armor.  Seeing that armor passed from one girl to another should be an inspiration to all and really shows that you are never alone. In this galaxy or one far, far away.

Two young girls showed everyone what it means to be a Force for Change