Rosario Dawson Talks Diversity in STEM And Sci-Fi After Traveling To The Moon At New York Comic Con

"We need all people across the board."

Rosario Dawson invited fans to travel with her to the moon during New York Comic Con. While her out-of-this-world travels were exciting, they came with a special message — the importance of diversification in the STEM field and science fiction.



The Latina actress narrates Artemis, the upcoming audiobook out November 14 by New York Times bestselling author of The Martian, Andy Weir, and celebrated by lighting "The Museum of the Moon" — a 23-foot lunar installation from British artist Luke Jerram, which is on display in America for the first time ever. The awe-inspiring multisensory art piece transports visitors to the world of Artemis, a near-future thriller set in the first city on the moon.

Photo Credit: Getty Images for Audible 
Photo Credit: Getty Images for Audible 

"When I did this book, I had no idea I was going to be doing so many different voices. I play a Saudi Arabian woman, she moved there when she was 6 years old, her dad immigrated to the moon for the opportunities, he's a welder," Dawson told A Plus about the diversity in Artemis. "There's Hungarians who live on the moon, Norwegians, there's Chinese Americans coming to visit, there's Kenyans.

"It's a really interesting thing because it's modeled after a resort type of town, and Andy Weir built it around the idea that the only real reason why you would go there is for extraction and tourism," she continued. "So, you end up coming across a whole culture of people that have taken over, very similar with when someone moves in, they get the opportunity and they bring over more folks, because the moons is everybody's, and immigration is a really big issue on it as well as deportations."    

Photo Credit: Zayda Rivera
Photo Credit: Zayda Rivera

Back on earth, The LEGO Batman Movie and The Defenders star proudly showed members of the Lower Eastside Girls Club — a nonprofit organization that aims to break the cycle of local poverty by training the next generation of ethical, entrepreneurial, and environmental leaders — the lunar installation up close. Dawson is an advocate and board member for the nonprofit, which reports that 89 percent of the girls are more interested in STEM subjects.

"I'm here with some of the girls from the Lower Eastside Girls Club, so this is really cool for them," she explained. "They're really into this and are all really interested in STEM."

Gaining their interest, according to Dawson, is as easy as making it available to them.  

"One thing is making it accessible and available," she said, "because you can't poach talent and you can't support talent that doesn't exist, you have to actually go and create it. You have to give them the actual skills and the opportunities and the access to get in there. This is about showing that this space is for them and we believe in them and they can have expectations for themselves. These kids are getting the chance to be in the room and then they're getting the chance to create those rooms for the future."

Photo Credit: Getty Images for Audible 
Photo Credit: Getty Images for Audible 

The same goes with on-screen inclusion in sci-fi, but Dawson stresses that aside from the access the diversity needs to come from all angles, not just in front of the screen, but also from behind the scenes, storytelling, and creation.

"We need people all across the board," she said. "It's great having actors, but we also need to make sure that we're out there telling the stories, creating those stories, and supporting those stories. And it's not to say that they're only going to be Latin stories because that's not the case at all as you can see from many of the Latin directors who are getting Oscars."

The diversity of thought, delivery, and storytelling comes with seeing a difference of perspectives and that creates more well-rounded and enjoyable experiences for audiences.

"Working with a woman director is different from working with a man. It just is. There's just a different vibe, a different energy that's created," Dawson said. "And there's just a different conversation that's there. So, when we explore different channels that would not be there (without the diversity), you can tell. There's billions of us and there's lots of stories to tell, and we need to make sure that we're making space for that."

Hear a snippet of the audiobook "Artemis" from narrator Rosario Dawson:



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