2006.09.21: September 21, 2006: Headlines: Figures: COS - Sierra Leone: Staff: Science: Space: EurWeb: Mae Jemison launches 'Reality Leads FantasyŚCelebrating Women of Color in Flight'

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Sierra Leone: Special Report: Sierra Leone Peace Corps Medical Officer and NASA Mission Specialist Dr. Mae Jemison: February 9, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: Staffer Mae Jemison : 2006.09.21: September 21, 2006: Headlines: Figures: COS - Sierra Leone: Staff: Science: Space: EurWeb: Mae Jemison launches 'Reality Leads FantasyŚCelebrating Women of Color in Flight'

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Mae Jemison launches 'Reality Leads FantasyŚCelebrating Women of Color in Flight'

Mae Jemison launches 'Reality Leads FantasyŚCelebrating Women of Color in Flight'

The purpose of all the activities is to highlight the incredible roles women of color from around the world have, and continue to play, in pushing the envelope of altitude, human endurance, speed, air transportation and space exploration, as well as the opportunities and rewards of aerospace and aviation careers open to all students. Astronaut Mae Jemison, the first Afro-American woman in space, served as a Peace Corps Medical Officer in Sierra Leone.

Mae Jemison launches 'Reality Leads FantasyŚCelebrating Women of Color in Flight'

ASTRONAUT MAE C. JEMISON LAUNCHES PROJECT: 'Reality Leads FantasyŚCelebrating Women of Color in Flight'

Plan Seeks to Redefine the Face of Aerospace and Aviation and Open These Science and Technology Fields for All Students

(September 18, 2006)

Chicago, IL - Dr. Mae C. Jemison, the first woman of color in the world to go into space, will host a stellar two-day event called Reality Leads FantasyŚCelebrating Women of Color in Flight in Chicago, October 6 and 7.

This unprecedented project, sponsored by the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, features local area school visits, an international webcast, a flight festival and a star-studded gala.

The purpose of all the activities is to highlight the incredible roles women of color from around the world have, and continue to play, in pushing the envelope of altitude, human endurance, speed, air transportation and space exploration, as well as the opportunities and rewards of aerospace and aviation careers open to all students.

Explaining the importance of celebrating women of color in flight in fact and fantasy, Jemison noted that "amazing women have always been integral to our understanding of the heavens, as well as our dreams and capacity to explore it." And that multi-hued women of diverse backgrounds today fly commercial airline jumbo jets, research the surface of Mars and the physiology of anyone who might travel there; maintain aircraft and ensure our safety, command and pilot fantastical vehicles inside a deadly computer generated matrix and fuel our possibilities as they write about the worlds to come. Their triumphs will be showcased through the prisms of the past and the present. Most significantly, Jemison said she could not think of many more important tasks for her right now and that "bringing to life the stories of these women, who, despite the odds have shaped the aeronautical landscape, will inspire everyone."

Jemison, a native Chicagoan and graduate of the Chicago Public Schools (Morgan Park High School), is a trailblazing astronaut as well as a businesswoman, philanthropist, professor, physician and engineer.

Chicago was chosen as the site for the Celebrating Women of Color in Flight because it is Dr. Jemison's hometown, and that of aviation pioneers Bessie Coleman, Nichelle Nichols (AKA Lt. Uhura on "Star Trek"), NASA astronaut Joan Higginbotham and Willa Brown who helped found one of the first African American aero clubs in the 1930's and airstrips open to all races.

Held in conjunction with the citywide Chicago Science Expedition: Two Weeks of Wow, three integrated events distinguish this wonderful celebration, Women of Color in Flight.

The first is "Rising Up," which includes visits to local area schools on October 6 by both female and male aviation and aerospace pioneers across the spectrum of related disciplines with a simultaneous webcast that will bring this opportunity to every corner of the globe.

Next, a "Festival of Flight" to be held on October 7, is open to the public. This novel event puts reality to the asphalt as aviation and aerospace professionals and enthusiasts take part in Festival that features interactive booths, games, static aircraft displays, simulators, opportunities to learn about careers in these fields and the women who have helped make it possible. The "Festival of Flight" will be held at Navy Pier.

The celebration culminates with the "Reality Leads Fantasy Gala" where attendees, special guests and honorees from around the world and all facets of flight--NASA, commercial aviation and aerospace, Hollywood, the military, literature and academia will come together to salute the fact, fantasy and future of women of color exploring the heavens. They will come together to acknowledge and applaud the African American, Latin, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, Indian and African women pioneers who have made indelible marks, in all facets of flight, as scientists, pilots, engineers, technicians, and builders of our imagination. The gala celebration will be held in the Grand Ballroom of Navy Pier.

The evening premieres a dynamic original video, live entertainment and personalities sharing their unique perspectives on the past, present and future of flight and space. Event Honorary Chair is Ms. Nichelle Nichols ľ actress, singer, "Star Trek's" Lt. Uhura, humanitarian ľ noted for her work that was instrumental in recruiting the first women and minority astronauts to NASA.

Other Honorary Chairs include: the Honorable Rod Blagojevich, Governor of Illinois; the Honorable Richard M. Daley, Mayor - City of Chicago; the Honorable Nuria I. Fernandez, Commissioner of Aviation - City of Chicago; Mr. Sujit Chowdhury, Secretary General, President and CEO World Trade University Global Secretariat, United Nations; Mr. Arne Duncan, CEO Chicago Public Schools; and Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., WEB DuBois Professor Humanities, Harvard University.

Special guests and honorees include world-renown sculptor Ms. Tina Allen, who is sculpting a commemorative for the project, Ms. Mayte Greco, pilot that saved the lives of hundreds of stranded Cuban refugees stranded in the ocean while volunteering with Brothers to the Rescue, poet extraordinaire and professor Nikki Giovanni who declares herself "a big, big fan of space", among others. The Dorothy Jemison Foundation is partnering with Chicago Public Schools to expose all students to the myriad career opportunities in aviation and aerospace, to identify the educational venues in science, technology and leadership that will set them on their courses and to promote the importance of science and math education.

Sponsors include Scholastic, Inc., the Department of Defense, NASA, Continental Airlines, The Northern Trust Company, Avaya and Johnson Publishing Company.

The Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence (DJF) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization established by Dr. Mae C. Jemison to honor and implement the teaching principals and life accomplishments of her late mother Dorothy Jemison, a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools for over 25 years. Mrs. Jemison believed and taught that the desire for excellence--while innate in children--must be fostered in the home, refined and strengthened in the schools and expected and appreciated by society. Since 1994, DJF's premiere program, The Earth We Share(TM) (TEWS) international science camp has brought students together from around the world and throughout the United States to solve current global dilemmas. The experiential curriculum fosters problem solving and critical thinking skills that will be needed in all walks of life. TEWS trains school teachers to use this powerful methodology.

When this story was posted in September 2006, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: EurWeb

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