Having the opportunity to leave planet Earth could change one's perspective of life. For Dr. Mae Jemison, though, the first Black woman to travel to space, her journey to the cosmos solidified something she already knew to be true.
"I never thought that the world had these lines and these borders. I knew, always, that they were false," Jemison told Cheddar.
While the planet is often consumed with conflict, Jemison said she always knew humanity's purpose is to strive for harmony and participate in moving the world forward. An important realization she had, however, was that in order for us to reach harmony we have to embrace our differences and the varying opinions and perspectives.
"Inclusion doesn't just mean having somebody at the table and then insisting that they say the same thing you say. It's about being able to hear different voices, allowing people to ask the various questions, and incorporating this rich experience we have as people on this planet," she said.
The former astronaut noted that she did face her own set of trials and tribulations while chasing her dreams. Though she faced people who questioned her abilities, she felt her own view of herself was more important, she explained.
According to Jemison, nerves were not at the forefront of her mind during her landmark trip on the space shuttle Endeavour nearly 30 years ago; the mission was about completing her job and fulfilling a lifelong expectation that she would travel to space. Now that space travel is being commercialized, Jemison said that she hopes people will realize just how interconnected humans are and progress together.
"These days, what I've been really geared toward is making sure that everyone knows that they have a place and a right to participate and that our country, that our world, also should make sure that they include people — actively do that," she said.
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