DreamWeek 2015 to Promote Tolerance and Equality

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San Antonio's inaugural Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla reads to children at the San Antonio Children's Museum during DreamWeek. Photo by Sarah Brooke Lyons.

San Antonio's inaugural Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla reads to children at the San Antonio Children's Museum during DreamWeek. Photo by Sarah Brooke Lyons.

San Antonio’s third annual DreamWeek summit kicks off Friday, Jan. 9, and promises to be filled with more than 70 events in 12 days, including speaking engagements, mixers, workshops, and celebrations to garner discussions on issues happening in our city and across the globe. This year the summit will feature themes including city, health, youth, environment, technology, education, arts, spirit, justice, business, sports, and food.

DreamWeek began with Mayor Julián Castro’s challenge to several ad agencies to come up with ways to expand the San Antonio brand outside of the River Walk and the Alamo. The themes featured in DreamWeek are chosen to promote and broaden the appeal of San Antonio. The city has one of the largest MLK marches in the United States, so it’s fitting that DreamWeek takes place 12 days before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Shokare Nakpodia, creative director of The Mighty Group, was up for the challenge.

Shokare Nakpodia and his wife Tracy. Photo by Sarah Brooke Lyons.

Shokare Nakpodia and his wife, Tracy. Photo by Sarah Brooke Lyons.

“I realized the (MLK) march was getting bigger, and I was very intrigued that we had an 8% African-American population, but the march was still attracting over 150,000 people – mostly African American, yes, but there were still a lot of outside supporters,” he said.

Nakpodia, who is president of DreamVoice LLC, which produces DreamWeek, began investigating how San Antonio had the largest march in the nation.

“I knew it was more than logistics and goodwill inherent in the community. The best answer I received was from Tom Frost: ‘For a large city, we tend to resolve conflict with very little drama.’”

With that answer, Nakpodia’s vision was realized. The plan was to get at least 100 organizations and nonprofits to host an event to touch on various social issues before they become areas of conflict. The goal is to have sophisticated, well-defined, and well-thought-through debates instead of polarizing arguments where insults and tempers flare.

“We want to promote voices of tolerance, diversity, and equality, but not necessarily taking a side. DreamWeek is a call to several organizations that we promote. We have about 40 different partners who model what we are trying to pursue,” Nakpodia said. “This promises to be the largest DreamWeek summit to date … which is a measure of the community’s support for the events and activities being promoted. There has never been a better time in this nation to reflect and discuss the many areas of conflict due to race, ethnicity, religion, gender, and class.

“We may not find all of the answers but our goal is to provide an environment that allows for a healthy exchange of ideas and dialogue on these issues,” he said.

Participants engage in DreamWeek activities at SaySí. Photo by Sarah Brooke Lyons.

Participants engage in DreamWeek activities at SaySí. Photo by Sarah Brooke Lyons.

This year’s DreamWeek occurs during a turbulent time for law enforcement and citizens. There is a town hall forum on Wednesday, Jan. 14, with District Attorney Nico Lahood, to address issues of racial profiling, police abuse, and police internal affairs procedures, excessive force and deadly force.

Nakpodia wants to be very clear with the goal of DreamWeek this year so as not to isolate anyone, no matter their point of view.

“We are not MLK-driven. His vision, yes, but not MLK as a man. What is our vision today? It’s not about avoiding water hosing, or avoiding lynching. Now it’s a little more subtle,” he said.

Nakpodia will dive into questions of why discrimination amongst certain groups of people exists, and how we can appease the fears of those doing the discriminating and start to see each other as human beings despite race, orientation, and more.

DreamWeek leads up to the MLK Day march in San Antonio. Photo by Sarah Brooke Lyons.

DreamWeek leads up to the MLK Day march in San Antonio. Photo by Sarah Brooke Lyons.

A full listing of DreamWeek 2015 events can be found at www.dreamweek.org. Here are some highlights:

Jan. 9: OPENING CEREMONY

The summit kicks off with breakfast and opening remarks by District 2 Councilman Alan Warrick and a presentation by Nakpodia.

  • 7:30 a.m. at the Briscoe Western Art Museum, 210 W. Market St.

Jan. 9: SAN ANTONIO MUSEUM OF ART DREAM PARTY

Enjoy art, music, and cocktails on the River Landing at SAMA. Featuring music by 4th Quarter band, cocktails, and tours of Nelson Rockefeller’s Picasso Tapestries, commissioned for Kykuit.

  • 6-8 p.m. at SAMA, 200 W. Jones Ave.

Jan. 9: SAN ANTONIO IVY EDUCATIONAL FUND 2015 EDUCATIONAL ENRICHMENT DINNER

The San Antonio Ivy Educational Fund, Inc. presents “An Evening with Dr. Cornel West.” West is a prominent author, editor, professor, performer, and commentator. He has a true passion to keep Dr. King’s legacy alive.

  • 7 p.m. at the University of the Incarnate Word Sky Room, 847 E. Hildebrand Ave.

Jan. 10: PLEASE DON’T SILENCE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE-DOCUMENTARY FUNDRAISER

This documentary takes a look inside our everyday life with others we have encountered affected by domestic violence. Featuring speakers, raffles, and discussion regarding the epidemic and the importance of taking a stand.

  • 3-5 p.m. at Mana House, 1160 E. Commerce St.

Jan. 10: SOCIAL ACTION FILMS

A host of documentary film screenings exploring relevant social issues and Earth’s diversity. Films such as Disruption, Confessions of an Undercover Cop, In Transition 2.0, and more.

  • 2-6 p.m. at the Carver Community Center, 226 N. Hackberry.

Jan. 10: EDUCATOR WORKSHOP: COMMUNITY VOICES IN GALLERY SPACE

This full day workshop features writers and artists from the community responding to selected works in the galleries. Afterwards, there will be classroom writing and interdisciplinary art-making exercises for the classroom.

  • 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at SAMA, 200 W. Jones Ave.

Jan. 13: BLUE STAR MIXER: AN EVENING WITH RICHARD HUNT

Art in the Garden Sculptor Richard Hunt gives an artist talk. Hunt will return to San Antonio to discuss his offsite exhibition at the San Antonio Botanical Garden. Enjoy refreshments, music, and a talk with Hunt while spending time in Blue Star’s recent exhibitions.

  • 6-8:30 p.m. at Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum, 116 Blue Star.

Jan. 14: JAZZ: IN THE KEY OF FREE

Local musicians will come together to share the sounds, voices, and stories behind the music. The evening will culminate in a traditional jazz jam session. All are invited.

  • 7-9 p.m. at Lambermont Events, 950 E. Grayson St.

Jan. 15: THE POLICE, OUR COMMUNITY, AND THE FUTURE

This town hall forum is for law enforcement officials, community leaders, elected officials, gang leaders, and their members. Eastside Neighborhood Association leaders will sit in dialogue and breakout session groups to address racial profiling, police abuse, police internal affairs procedures, excessive force, deadly force, and more issues.

  • 4:30-8:30 p.m. at Second Baptist Church Sports Complex, 3310 E. Commerce St.

Jan. 15: MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.: THE DREAM LIVES ON

The San Antonio Ethnic Art Society carries on the tradition of exhibiting works of African-American visual art with images that symbolize the civil rights progress that has been made for all Americans in an exhibition to run from Jan. 12 to Feb. 26 at the Carver Community Cultural Center.

  • 6-8 p.m. at the Carver Community Cultural Center, 226 North Hackberry.

Jan. 15: MLK JR. COMMEMORATIVE LECTURE SERIES FT. TIM WISE

Trinity University and the City of San Antonio MLK Jr. Commission present the MLK Jr. commemorative lecture by anti-racist essayist, author, and educator Tim Wise at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15, in Laurie Auditorium. Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and educators in the United States. Recently named one of “25 Visionaries Who are Changing Your World” by Utne Reader, Wise has spoken in all 50 states, on more than 800 college and high school campuses, and to community groups across the nation.

  • 7:30-9 p.m. at Trinity University, Laurie Auditorium, 1 Trinity Place.

Jan. 16: THE SOUL SPOT FEAT. JJ LOPEZ

Join JJ Lopez for the Soul Spot at Tucker’s Kozy Korner in celebration of the theme, “I Have a Dream.

  • Tucker’s Kozy Korner, 1338 E. Houston St.

Jan. 17: CITY YEAR YOUTH EMPOWERMENT SUMMIT

The Youth Empowerment Summit is designed to educate youth on social issues they may experience in today’s society. City Year San Antonio will engage participants with empowering and educational sessions to connect them to the idea of Dr. King’s belief in the beloved community as a strong champion of City Year San Antonio. The Youth Empowerment Summit also offers educational workshops for youth of all ages focusing on the academic areas of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM).

  • 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at St. Philip’s College, Watson Fine Arts Building, 1801 Martin Luther King Dr.

Jan. 17:  SAGE: TASTE THE DREAM GALA

Guests will enjoy cuisine from around the world presented by five featured local chefs. Beginning with an open-bar cocktail reception and moving into free-flowing tastings with food stations, attendees can interact with featured culinary teams and explore the Institute’s cultural exhibits, followed by live music and dancing.

  • 7 p.m. at UTSA’s Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 Cesar Chavez Blvd.

Jan. 20: DW FREEDOM PARTY 

Celebrate the success of 2015 DreamWeek with drinks, music, and more.

  • 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the Southwest School of Art Coates Chapel and Courtyard, 300 Augusta St.

*Featured/top image: San Antonio’s inaugural Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla reads to children at the San Antonio Children’s Museum during a DreamWeek event. Photo by Sarah Brooke Lyons.

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