By Fleet Capt. Dave Mason
LAS VEGAS — LeVar Burton spoke up for diversity and acted on his words in front of a packed ballroom Aug. 2 at the Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas.
The actor, known for his portrayal of blind chief engineer Geordi LaForge on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” was answering questions from a blind fan, who mentioned that he would like to touch and feel Geordi’s visor as his way of seeing the prop. Burton took the visor from his case and told the fan he was bringing the prop to him.
The fan smiled as he touched the visor. After returning to stage, Burton stressed that inclusiveness is a crucial message of “Star Trek.”
Like the blind fan on this day, many “Star Trek” fans have appreciated the franchise’s emphasis on the abilities and contributions by all people, regardless of their disabilities.
It was a day for both profound comments and funny memories as “Next Generation,” “Discovery” and “Deep Space Nine” actors appeared on stage at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino.
The day started with Robin Curtis appearing in full make-up an costume as Saavik, her Vulcan character from “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.” Later, Ethan Peck and James Frain discussed their Vulcan characters on “Discovery” — Spock and Sarek, respectively. And Anson Mount and Jason Isaacs talked about playing two very different captains of the title ship of “Discovery.” Mount followed in the footsteps of Jeffrey Hunter and other actors in playing Christopher Pike, the Enterprise captain who, on “Discovery,” revisits Talos IV.
The day ended with seven USS Angeles members, alumni and friends gathering at the Ports O’Call Buffet at the Gold Coast Casino for a buffet. Later, Lisa Sobien, who took the photos on this day for our website and newsletter Angels Flight, and I enjoyed Karaoke led by JG Hertzler and Robert O’Reilly in makeup as their “Deep Space Nine” Klingon characters Martok and Gowron. Qapla!