Monday, January 14, 2008

"People Could Fly Project" Flying To Africa...

"I care deeply about the language I create for books. I call myself a wordkeeper, or a keeper of words. I enjoy words and looking at them on all sides . .Words are magnificent . . They form rhythms of living in meaningful prose. . It is the force of my desire, my wish to make myself understood, that powers these words."
-Virginia Hamilton

Dear Friends of the Project!

Exciting news! The People Could Fly Project is headed to Africa. The Project has been sponsored by the Africa Travel Association and next week we are traveling to the East African country of Djibouti to take part in the 11th Annual Eco and Cultural Tourism Symposium, being hosted by the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Recreation, and Tourism of Djibouti.

We will be traveling with the ATA's Young Professional Forum. The Project will be visiting with students at the University of Djibouti and sharing with school-age children the story of The People Could Fly by master children's book author Virginia Hamilton. Hamilton passed away in 2002 leaving a great legacy of multi-cultural children's literature. The Djibouti Government has graciously offered to sponsor our hotel accommodations, meals, and on-ground transportation.

Since we began The PCF Project last spring my sisters and I have worked to make the dream of documenting the dreams and stories of young people across the African Diaspora a reality. With a belief that anything can be accomplished we've taken our cameras, our hearts, hopes, and minds across the US, from our home in Memphis, TN to Philly, Washington, Jena LA, New York, San Francisco, St. Louis, Inglewood, Detroit, Atlanta, Nashville, Connecticut, Detroit, North Carolina, and Mississippi. We've filmed, photographed, and interviewed young people of color and anyone and everyone in the making of a documentary about the power of our dreams.

You see, we know that the dreams of young folk and people of color are possible! We know that our stories are important, despite the dearth of in depth and positive images on the lives of young people of color. Our mission throughout has been to find and show these important images and stories within the faces, from the very voices and dreams of young people of color, to create images that speak of how powerful we are and can be.

...And now we are poised to take the grand flight to Africa.

And now we need your help! Our flight fees have largely been acquired. We know that we can raise the remaining funds for the journey. We are spending of ourselves,

our talents, and our gifts to meet the remaining funds. In exchange for your contributions, your gift will be acknowledged officially with a signed 5x7 photograph from Djibouti taken by Intisar Abioto and other memorabilia from the journey. Gifts of $50 and up will be acknowledged with a matted and signed 8x10 photograph from Djibouti.

Attached you will find the official invitation from the Africa Travel Association to The People Could Fly Project and a broader description of the Project.

Please forward to your network, asking your friends and family to contribute online at

Footage, photos, and updates from Djibouti will be updated periodically on our blog where you can see more from The Project (The story of how this trip came to be is amazing! That's on the blog too. ) And read our recent interview with poet Nikki Giovanni in The Memphis Tri-State Defender!

We believe and pursue with veracity and belief... Anything and everything can happen.

In Flight and Faith

and Aisha Abioto
The People Could Fly Project

Consultant: Arnold Adoff
Poet, Author, Husband of Virginia Hamilton

Project Description

The People Could Fly Project is a documentary arts project focusing on the dreams of young people across the African Diaspora. It follows the adventures of five sisters, ages of 7 to 21 as they travel across the US, Africa, and South America talking to young people about their dreams and visions for themselves and the world. Their work will culminate in a docu-narrative film about the journey.

As the daughters of an airline employee they've been able to fly many places, but felt it was imperative to share their experiences with others and to talk and engage with young people around the world about the power of their own dreams, their own abilities to make them reality, and thus their own ability to fly.

They have traveled to New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Jena, LA, Connecticut, Detroit, Virginia, Nashville, TN; Washington, DC; and Mississippi talking, filming, photographing, and interviewing people of all ages about their dreams and are on the way to many other places.

They were inspired by a folktale told in the Americas about Africans enslaved who sprout wings and fly away. The story is found in children's book author Virginia Hamilton's "The People Could Fly".

The online segment of our journey with photos, video clips, and writing can be found at


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