After a succulent breakfast at the Briscoe Western Art Museum and a few inspirational talks from San Antonio’s finest and prominent Friday morning, the annual 12-day DreamWeek summit is officially underway.
Tables were full and spirits were bright as San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside Executive Director Jackie Gorman gave her opening remarks describing the purpose of DreamWeek as well as various key events during the summit.
The summit includes workshops, speaking engagements, mixers and celebrations to showcase themes in San Antonio that include city, health, environment, sports, cuisine, arts and more. All events have underlying themes to support tolerance, and exchange ideas pertaining to universal issues. DreamWeek does not seek to promote a political agenda. Rather, the idea is centered around having citizens and individuals from all walks of life and political views have a spirited but respectful debate highlighting their varying viewpoints.
Rev. Dr. Robert Jemerson of Second Baptist Church began the ceremony in prayer, and Mavis Washington sang a harrowing version of the National Anthem.
The opening ceremony also included video footage from last year featuring highlights of the summit and attendees from previous years describing the magnitude of DreamWeek, the Martin Luther King, Jr. march, and highlights of events featured on the Eastside and Southside of San Antonio. DreamWeek strives to show attendees and citizens some of the lesser known ‘hot spots’ in San Antonio by featuring many events in those areas.
Former and inaugural poet laureate of San Antonio Carmen Tafolla summed the week up beautifully with her introduction.
“I’d like to thank (DreamVoice, LLC President) Shokare Nakpodia for this genius idea to bring together the MLK events into a DreamWeek with a universal reach for everyone in our city and everyone in our world," she said. "This is one of the most important things that happens in our city. Sometimes we think we have made a lot of progress, sometimes it’s five steps forward, and two steps back. But we have made so much progress, and yet there is much more to be done.”
Tafolla then read a poem specifically written for DreamWeek called “When Humans Dream,” which began by describing the negativity surrounding race and specific types of people being put into categories outright, but ended with the hope that dreamers are still alive and well in our world.
District 2 City Councilmember Alan Warrick’s brief talk highlighted the hope that DreamWeek will bring a better tomorrow to San Antonio moving into 2015. Warrick picked a Dr. Martin Luther King quote to touch on the mentality and horrific events that have unfolded over the last few months – including the terrorist event in Paris.
“I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream.” -- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Warrick concluded his remarks to resounding applause with his own wish.
“My dream is a dream where all the neighborhoods in San Antonio look like the best neighborhoods in San Antonio. Where we don’t have to be afraid to walk our dogs, jog in the park, or have a park in our neighborhoods," he said. "I wish and dream that we can succeed in these goals and visions.”
Nakpodia concluded the ceremony with a lighthearted, but touching presentation highlighting key events for this year’s DreamWeek.
“DreamWeek is an opportunity to get away from our comfort zone; to get away from the labeling of others. I see so much beauty in each individual,” he said.
For a full list of all the DreamWeek 2015 events, visit dreamweek.org.
*Featured/top image: Attendees break to mingle and socialize during DreamWeek 2015 opening ceremony. Photo by Jackie Calvert.