Here’s What Happens When a Trailblazer Makes History

“Does this happen a lot, Whoopi?” “Not like that.”

Whoopi Goldberg began this clip by explaining that before Star Trek first appeared on television, there were no black people in any science fiction movies or television shows.

Lieutenant Uhura, played by Nichelle Nichols, changed all that when the show premiered in 1966, and inspired people like her to one day play roles of their own—like Goldberg did more than 20 years later, as Guinan in the show Star Trek: The Next Generation.

But then a young man appeared at the mic to explain that Whoopi’s role in fact changed his life, too—he has autism, and the process of gaining social skills and the ability to function in society came about through his watching her in the series and joining a fan club.

It’s a precious moment, and one that both will remember.