SOURCE: Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence

September 15, 2006 11:08 ET

Pioneering Astronaut to Promote Aerospace Opportunities and Salute Women of Color in Flight Worldwide

CHICAGO, IL -- (MARKET WIRE) -- September 15, 2006 -- 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 Fantasy - Celebrating 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 is to highlight the incredible roles women of color from around the world 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.

Chicago was chosen because its natives include aviation pioneers Bessie Coleman, Nichelle Nichols (AKA Lt. Uhura on "Star Trek"), NASA astronauts Joan Higginbotham, Willa Brown and Dr. Jemison.

Three integrated events distinguish this wonderful celebration. The first is "Rising Up" -- 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" on October 7, which is open to the public, puts reality to the asphalt as aviation and aerospace professionals and enthusiasts take part in a 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" takes place at Navy Pier.

The celebration culminates with the "Reality Leads Fantasy Gala" where honorees from around the world will come together in Navy Pier's Grand Ballroom to acknowledge and applaud the African-American, 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 evening premieres a dynamic original video, live entertainment and personalities sharing their unique perspectives on the past, present and future of flight and space.

Among the notables who will attend are Ms. Nichelle Nichols, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Ms. Mayte Greco, the pilot that saved the lives of hundreds of Cuban refugees stranded in the ocean while volunteering with Brothers to the Rescue, poet and professor Nikki Giovanni, and women in flight who will be honored.

For information, access For interviews contact Melody McDowell at 773-660-2001 or via e-mail at

Contact Information

    Melody McDowell
    Cell: 312-371-8917
    e-mail: Email Contact