10 inspiring individuals are featured through rotating wall-sized portrait exhibits, artistic videos, and photojournalism feature stories, shared via social media and other forms of media. Upon completion, the Project’s stories and portraits will be published in a book.
I Had a Dream Project's mission is to spotlight 10 courageous individuals who are igniting positive change through a feature story, film, and photos on the project’s website and shared online with the world. At the end of the project, once all 10 subjects have been featured, I am rotating their portrait exhibits around the country as well as publishing their stories in the book, “I Had a Dream.”
Most of the feature stories’ subject matter lies in uncovering an artistic, in-depth portrait of these individuals through the questions, “Who is this person really?” and “What led them to their cause?”
Nothing is needed more at this time than individuals like our featured subjects who defy stereotypes and show courage, leadership and depth, and by sharing their artistic stories, encourage others to do the same.
ABOUT THE SUBJECTS
I Had a Dream Project's featured subjects are individuals with moral depth and extreme devotion to a cause who are doing something courageously that no one else is doing and are redefining our nation’s social and political structure on all fronts. They are a mix of public figures and others that aren't as well-known. What ties them together, whether they are 11 years old or 76 years old, is that they are teachers for the rest of the world who demonstrate courage and leadership, each one of them representing a different theme based on their unique life story. Although all subjects come from different backgrounds, they share a common core concern for humanity and are actively pursuing positive change that sometimes may appear radical or unique. These subjects are people who are dedicating their life to a mission or a cause they are so passionate about it’s almost an obsession. To be a part of this revolutionary Project will encompass the most important issues we face at our current time that we will be remembered for.
The First Subject: Christian Hageseth
The first subject is 76-year-old retired psychiatrist and author, Christian Hageseth who I met for only minutes years ago but left an imprint on me since.
Christian has the incurable, degenerative Parkinson’s disease that I wrote about in his feature story, "I Had a Dream to Redefine What it Means to Have a Degenerative Disease." Because of his positive attitude and determination, he’s doing better than the day he was diagnosed. He’s climbing mountains, teaching elderly people about the mind-body connection and sojourning to Uganda to help people with Parkinson’s disease who have no access to medication – all the while not taking any medication himself.
The Second Subject: Michael Prysner
The second subject is Mike Prysner, a 34-year-old American veteran, still grappling with the effects of moral injury from the Iraq War. Mike is also a political activist and the writer and producer of the independent political documentary series The Empire Files, featuring the U.S.'s most influential independent journalist, Abby Martin.
When I met Mike last summer in Los Angeles to interview and photograph him, the first thing that I noticed about him is that he is ahead of his age and his time. He thinks quickly, speaks quickly and is overflowing with ideas and passion on what kind of world we can create beyond war.
Throughout the process of creating Mike's story, "I Had a Dream...To Tell the Truth About War," I witnessed Mike’s tremendous guilt and shame from his participation in the Iraq War. He feels that he can never be forgiven for the cruel, unwarranted interrogations, reckless raiding and deportations of Iraqi families that leave him with no choice but to tell the truth about war, rather than bury the memory.
And although the Iraq War is over, I know it’s still an open book for Mike and the thousands of other soldiers who were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Iraq war has been the catalyst for this former soldier to disclose the truth about war. Since Mike’s time in Iraq, he has led some of the greatest anti-war movements, with hundreds of thousands of people trailing behind him, saved soldiers from being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan through his “Our Lives Our Rights” campaign, and has been a voice for not only soldiers who were once isolated like he was, but for all people, worldwide, to understand our connectivity. His political activism has spilled into the deeper pool of human rights, where he became a worldwide speaker, writer and crusader for socialism and global equality.
The Peace Report
The Third Subject: Kaylee Rogers
The third subject is Kaylee Rogers, a 12-year-old Irish singer who is clearly here to teach people through her beautiful voice when she sings that autism is a gift.
It all started two years ago when Kaylee shocked the world with her beautiful choir rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Since then, Kaylee’s voice has been heard around the world by millions of people through her videos and on stage, including this year on Little Big Shots with Pentatonix.
Kaylee is a student at Killard House School in Northern Ireland, who has autism and ADHD. Often described as “shy” in real life by the people around her, Kaylee’s mother Tracy says she has never been shy when it comes to singing. Anyone who has seen Kaylee seen can see that a star has been born.
When it comes to autism, our society can often categorize people and label them when we see something different that we don’t fully understand. What we don’t always understand is that people who we label with autism are really teachers in disguise. The world needs to learn from Kaylee, just as it needed to learn from I Had a Dream Project’s previous subjects on what it means to be human.
Rotating portrait exhibits of the subjects will be showcased in the U.S.A. after all 10 subjects are featured. The exhibits also include other visual displays such as informative plaques, leaflets and screens displaying the videos.
PHOTOJOURNALISM FEATURE STORIES AND VIDEOS
While writing the manuscript, the Project debuts all 10 of the subjects' photojournalism feature stories and artistic videos on this website and its social media platforms.
BIRTH OF A PROJECT
I Had a Dream Project was born out of my journalistic passion for writing profiles and my curiosity and alignment with these people who were creating major change in the world. Through a united effort, I believe we can transform our current reality into something much better. It just sometimes takes individuals like the featured subjects in I Had a Dream Project to nudge the rest of the world in the right direction.