DreamWeek Seeks To Promote MLK Jr.’s Legacy Of Diversity, Equality
Published: January 15, 2014
As Martin Luther King Jr. Day approaches, San Antonio—home to the largest MLK Day March in the nation—will be buzzing with events aimed at modernizing the late civil rights leader’s teachings. The 12-day summit dubbed “DreamWeek” features more than 60 speakers, screenings, mixers, youth events, workshops and parties centered on preserving the legacy of King. Presented by the City’s MLK March Commission and DreamVoice, a non-profit offshoot of local media company The Mighty Group, the conference is billed as a means of promoting “an exchange of ideas on universal issues facing our multi-cultural communities.”
Still in its infancy, this is DreamWeek’s second attempt, and if the goals of The Mighty Group’s president Shokare Nakpodia—or “Sho” as he’s called—go according to plan, it will be a San Antonio staple event for decades to come. But let’s backtrack a bit: How did the idea come to fruition and what are SAers supposed to gain from going?
A native of Nigeria, Nakpodia left Africa in his teens to study in London before heading to New York for an education in the visual arts. He eventually settled in San Antonio to form his local marketing group, which specializes in messages laced with community empowerment. During a meeting called by Mayor Castro a few years ago, Nakpodia and eight others representing various groups around town were tasked with expanding the image of SA beyond just the River Walk or the Alamo.
While he was overlooked for the MLK March assignment, instead assigned to focus on the military, Nakpodia’s interest was piqued. Still ruminating on ways to further promote the leader’s legacy, a year later his non-profit won a contract to beautify MLK March Day graphics—and that’s when Nakpodia got the ball rolling.
“I thought, how can we advance the voice by presenting all the different parties and issues and get everyone to come together and resolve these conflicts?” Nakpodia tells the Current at the Mighty Group headquarters on East Commerce Street during an interview a day shy of the summit’s kick-off event.
Nakpodia elaborates: “I wanted to host an environment where we can create healthy debate. Why don’t we move past the civil rights discussion and also start talking about immigration issues, women’s issues, gay and lesbian rights issues?”
The DreamWeek lineup includes speaker Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, author of April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Death and How it Changed America, a screening of Freedom Riders and subsequent discussion with four of the original participants, an MLK oratorical contest and a stream of events from thought-provoking to whimsical.
The co-host considers last year’s inaugural DreamWeek a success. While the group tapped organizations (local universities, restaurants and art museums) to participate during its first go-around, preparing for the 2014 event was noticeably more fluid: This time, organizations solicited them. If the trend continues, Nakpodia hopes to multiply the number of events and, eventually, take DreamWeek national—and even global one day, he muses aloud.
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