More than 150 events on the 2016 DreamWeek calendar have come to pass and none remain after Tuesday night's Freedom Party that concluded the 12-day summit of seminars, mixers, classes, and cultural events celebrating diversity in San Antonio.
DreamWeek founder Shokare "Sho" Nakpodia led the crowd that filled the Southwest School of Art's Coates Chapel to toast the more than 100 partner organizations that hosted events during this year's DreamWeek. He called on the SA2020 team to show special appreciation. There wasn't a lot of speechifying on Tuesday night, but there was plenty of dancing, free drinks, and mingling.
A live band, a DJ, Ballet San Antonio dancers, UIW's Asian Culture's Club performed a "bollywood" style dance, and local poet Amanda Flores performed for the crowd as they shared stories with friends both familiar and fresh.
"(DreamWeek has) gone exceptionally well and we're very proud of the entire city's involvement and contributions," Nakpodia said while attendees laughed and danced. "We just happened to be the people who actually organized and put it together but without all our partners ... it wouldn't be so."
He said the growth of DreamWeek, now in its fourth year, was unprecedented and he has no plans to slow it down. DreamWeek is about ready to start attracting people from all over the state, he said, not just San Antonio.
"These (early) years were really meant to grow the brand and create an environment where the entire city had some buy-in I think we need to do a little more next year to get people outside of San Antonio engaged," Nakpodia said. "Austin, Dallas, Houston ... more of a statewide effort."
Several events drew huge crowds but perhaps the biggest, besides the MLK March, was the Good People SA Mixer at Freetail Brewery that hosted hundreds of people last Tuesday night.
The City's MLK, Jr. Commission, which organizes the annual march and commemoration ceremony, estimates that about 300,000 people marched in the city's Eastside this year.
"I was at the very end of the march," Nakpodia said. "It's very meditative for me.
"You can point at maybe a few thousand people who you saw at the march ... but there are 298,000 who remain faceless. I wanted to be faceless ... to be as anonymous as the number of people who are being oppressed."
DreamWeek calendar concluded on Tuesday, but the MLK Commission has a few events scheduled for this and next month on its King Week calendar including a Dream Major Gala on Jan. 22 and two installments of the MLK Distinguished Lecture Series: An Evening of Music & Conversation with Chaka Khan on Jan. 28 and a conversation with actor, director, and author LeVar Burton on Feb. 11. Click here for details.