By Jackie Calvert: January 3, 2015
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.
“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.