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January 2022

DreamWeek Summit finishes on high note _ NEWS4SA - 2022 DreamWeek

DreamWeek Summit finishes on high note with annual Mayor’s Ball / NEWS4SA

By NEWS

SAN ANTONIO – While DreamWeek technically ends on Jan. 31, the Mayor’s Ball is considered the finale of the DreamWeek Summit.

On Saturday, Jan. 29, the 2022 DreamWeek Summit finished on a grand final note with the annual Mayor’s Ball, held at Venue Villita.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg was the night’s guest of honor. Nirenberg assumed office on June 21, 2017, and has served as mayor since.

DreamWeek was founded by Shokare Nakpodia. DreamWeek 2022 is the 10th annual DreamWeek held in San Antonio and was scheduled from Jan. 13 – Jan 31.

The finale event showcased San Antonio’s many musical, theatrical comedic, and cultural performance artists, featuring Cleto Rodriguez, the San Antonio Youth Orchestra, Billy Ray Sheppard, Grupo Folklorico de Bendiciones, and more.

This year’s summit hosted over 200 events in and around San Antonio.

To learn more about DreamWeek, you can visit their website here.

'The Lion King' gets a remix and African culture is celebrated this weekend in San Antonio

‘The Lion King’ gets a remix and African culture is celebrated this weekend in San Antonio

By NEWS

Here’s our roundup for the most enticing exhibits, shows and other events scheduled in the Alamo City.

SAN ANTONIO —

Celebrate African culture in Southtown

African arts, customs and colors will be on display at Blue Star Arts Complex Saturday when the 2022 African Market Festival arrives for its sixth year, in conjunction with DreamWeek. On hand will be vendors selling African items, fashion shows, authentic cuisine and live performances

The festival is organized by the Texas-based Òlàjú Art Group, which uses art to spread awareness of issues affecting the African diaspora.

When: Saturday, from 5 p.m. until midnight. 

Cost: $10; buy tickets here.

Where: Blue Star Arts Complex (125 Blue Star). 

Hear stories from a National Geographic veteran

Bob Poole, a Kenyan-born cinematographer who has fostered a passion for conservation while capturing images of African wildlife for years, will be at the Tobin Sunday afternoon as part of Nat Geo Live’s speaker series.

Pool won an Emmy in 2011 for his work on the “Great Migrations” miniseries, while other projects have seen him following cheetahs, elephants and gorillas. He’s also worked with PBS, BBC and Discovery.

When: “National Geographic Live: Nature Roars Back” is scheduled for Sunday at 4 p.m. 

Cost: Tickets range from $20 to $45; buy here

Where: The Tobin Center’s H-E-B Performance Hall (100 Auditorium Circle). 

What else you should know: The show is full-capacity. 

Meet one of America’s greatest writers…sort of

Actor J. Damian Gillen will suit up once again as celebrated literature icon and humorist Mark Twain as part of a local dinner theatre series bringing comedy and savory food to San Antonians.

When: Saturday at 6 p.m. 

Cost: $35 for tickets bought in advance, $40 at the door. 

Where: Little Italy Restaurant & Pizza (824 Afterglow St.). 

Enjoy a theater mash-up extravaganza

You’re likely familiar with “The Lion King” and “The Greatest Showman.” You may have even caught both musicals on the stage before. But what about getting a taste of both in one night, at one place?

The aptly named “The Greatest Show,” set for Saturday night at downtown’s Scottish Rite Theatre, pulls inspiration and iconic sequences from both stories, along with “Annie.” San Antonio-based AABCD Dance Studio is collaborating on “The Greatest Show” with NG Productions, from Dallas.

When: Saturday at 7 p.m. 

Cost: General-admission tickets start at $25, and can be bought here

Where: The Scottish Rite Theatre (308 Avenue E). 

Learn about a Black icon of the American West

A figure often overshadowed by the dusty-plain mythos of Butch Cassidy, Billy the Kid and Doc Holliday, Mary Fields, or “Stagecoach Mary,” nonetheless secured her place in American history as the first Black female mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service.

The Briscoe will put Stagecoach Mary front and center weekend at “Storytime at the Stagecoach,”  where local researcher and dramatist Antoinette Lakey will recount her story, in a collaboration with DreamWeek.

When: Saturday at 11 a.m. 

Cost: Free with general admission. Buy tickets here

Where: Briscoe Western Art Museum (210 West Market St.). 

What else you should know: Children under 13 and active military service members are admitted for free. 

Plus…

Gillen’s take on Mark Twain will also make an appearance at the Heart of Texas Concert Band’s 2022 children’s concert, which is free to attend Sunday afternoon at Fellowship of San Antonio church. On the way there, you can stop by Gong Cha bubble tea shop, whose drinks our Lexi Hazlett sampled this week.

Over at Woodlawn, a youth production of the beloved modern classic “School of Rock” is revving up this weekend, and if you’re strapped for time it takes less than 15 minutes to watch “Work,” the new short film from San Antonio-born director April Maxey selected to premiere at Sundance this month.

Olaju Art Group's 6th Annual African Market _ SA Current - 2022 DreamWeek

Òlàjú Art Group’s 6th annual African Market Festival returns to San Antonio’s Brick at Blue Star / San Antonio Current

By NEWS

Produced by Òlàjú Art Group, the sixth-ever African Market Festival will showcase talents from the African continent and diaspora in a celebration of Pan-African culture.

Check out the main stage for a series of performances and speakers, browse the marketplace and art gallery, enjoy authentic African cuisines, or take in the festival’s signature runway fashion show. Community members of all backgrounds are welcome to the one-day event for an experience of curated cultural programming.

Founded in Nigeria and established in Texas, Òlàjú Art Group established the market as a space to present works both for Africans and by Africans.

The event is at the tail end of San Antonio’s 10th annual DreamWeek, a 16-day summit aimed to inspire civic engagement among local and global communities.

$10, 5 p.m.-midnight Saturday, Jan. 29, Brick at Blue Star, 108 Blue Star, african-market.olajuartgroup.org.

'Hotel Rwanda' hero's son tries to challenge Rwanda ambassador at DreamWeek panel discussion

‘Hotel Rwanda’ hero’s son tries to challenge Rwanda ambassador at DreamWeek panel discussion

By NEWS

Trésor Rusesabagina came to a panel discussion featuring Rwanda’s ambassador to the United States hoping to confront her about the kidnapping and imprisonment of his father, the “Hotel Rwanda” hero Paul Rusesabagina.

“I’m going right into the lion’s den,” he said, hours before the panel assembled Friday evening as part of the annual DreamWeek series of events pegged to the city’s observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“I’m going to the event representing my father. There’s a way of telling them that we’re not intimidated,” Rusesabagina said. “What they’re doing is coming to the scene of the crime. My dad was lured out of San Antonio, his home.”

The showdown didn’t happen. After a three-hour discussion about Rwanda by the ambassador, academics and other specialists in the country, the moderator said there was no time for questions. She later took a few, but Rusesabagina was still in line when it ended.

The panelists uniformly praised Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, without mentioning his human rights record.

The elder Rusesabagina became famous for sheltering hundreds of people at the hotel he managed in 1994, when Rwanda was wracked by an intertribal genocide that killed as many as a million victims. He later fell out with Kagame, whose efforts to reunite the country have been accompanied by an intolerance for political opposition.

Rusesabagina lived in exile in Belgium and San Antonio. He was abducted to Rwanda in 2020 on a chartered flight, fooled into thinking he was on his way to a speaking engagement in Burundi, then tried for his leadership of an opposition group the government said was responsible for terrorist violence.

He was sentenced to 25 years in prison last September on offenses ranging from financing terrorism to recruiting child soldiers.

Kagame has run the Central African country since 2000 and is credited with leading it into a period of stability and prosperity, but his government has been accused by Human Rights Watch of practicing arbitrary detention, ill treatment, torture and possibly murder of dissenters. The group also has criticized Paul Rusesabagina’s abduction, solitary confinement and trial.

Rusesabagina’s reputation in Rwanda has waned, though his heroism for saving 1,268 people during the genocide became known around the world after being dramatized in the 2004 Hollywood film “Hotel Rwanda.”

During questions, neither the moderator, documentary filmmaker Carol Pineau, nor others on the panel responded to a person in the audience who asked for the humanitarian release of Rusesabagina.

The ambassador, Mathilde Mukantabana, dismissed the notion that her embassy played a role in an incident last spring in which two people were accused of snooping on a videoconference class at St. Mary’s University attended by Trésor Rusesabagina, his mother, Tatiana, and a sister, Anaise Kanimba.

“Why would we want to spy in a classroom?” Mukantabana asked, drawing laughter from some in the crowd of around 50 people.

At the time, St. Mary’s President Tom Mengler, in a university news release, had said the Rwandan government used a spy based in its Washington embassy “to listen in” on the April 6 videoconference class involving students, staff and guests.

Trésor Rusesabagina, 29, said he didn’t oppose Friday’s panel discussion because it gave critics a chance to point out the government’s problems. It was titled “Rwanda Then & Now: Milestones in Rebirth & Growth” and was organized by Rwandan Community Abroad of San Antonio at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts.

Bill Israel, a retired St. Mary’s associate professor of communication studies, lambasted the forum, calling it “bizarre” that DreamWeek organizers would host it when Rusesabagina was one of their keynote speakers months before he was abducted.

“Two years after you invite him as the featured speaker, how are you going to invite people who are after him and trying to kill him?” Israel asked.

The DreamWeek website states that “anyone can host an event as long as the invitation is public and participants are allowed to engage in an open forum and civil environment.”

One person who appeared via video, Margee Ensign, president of American University of Nigeria, touted a “performance-based” Rwandan government with top leadership “focused on unity, not division.” Another panelist, a St. Mary’s University professor of international relations, R. Célina Jacquemin, also sketched a flattering portrait of the Kagame government.

A DreamWeek project manager, Lilly Guindy, described the panel as “a community-curated event” hosted by Rwandans in San Antonio.

“Definitely, some people have different views, but that’s the beauty of America and that’s the beauty of the Martin Luther King legacy,” said Moses Rudasunikwa, president of Rwandan Community Abroad of San Antonio.

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, plans to introduce a resolution in Congress demanding Paul Rusesabagina’s release on humanitarian grounds.

Trésor Rusesabagina described his 67-year-old father, a cancer survivor, as frail. He said his dad has lost a lot of weight, hasn’t seen a doctor, remains in solitary confinement and isn’t allowed contact with other inmates, even in church.

“They’re trying to break him,” Trésor Rusesabagina said. “He’s not broken.”

sigc@express-news.net

 

Travis Park Church unveils mural as part of 175th anniversary in downtown San Antonio

Travis Park Church unveils mural as part of 175th anniversary in downtown San Antonio

By NEWS

A large mural with six different visions representing the diversity and inclusion within San Antonio had its official debut on Sunday.

SAN ANTONIO — Today–a picture of inclusion is revealed in downtown San Antonio.

Travis Park Church is celebrating its 175th anniversary with the reveal of a new mural representing the church’s history of being a place where all are welcome.

Inside the walls of the church is where stories of God are shared.

Pastor Gavin Rogers says artistic expressions are used to tell that story—from preaching, to music and art.

“We wanted to create a new stained glass story to tell, a lot of them tell stories of the Old Testament, the story of the Gospel, the story of the church, we wanted to express the story of Travis Park Church,” Pastor Rogers said.

Rogers says part of the story is being a welcoming place for nearly two centuries.

“It’s welcomed immigrants from Central America, in the time of World War II it was a shelter for people trying to escape internment, this congregation has been an inclusive voice in San Antonio,” Rogers said.

Inside and outside the walls is where the church expresses that faith isn’t always about belief—but about action in expressing love to all people.

As part of the mural dedication, Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Dr. Jerry Taylor, founding director of the Carl Spain Center of Race and Spiritual Action at Abilene Christian University sat in on Sunday morning’s service.

Dr. Taylor spoke during the worship service about walking humbly with God in order to be compassionate to neighbors, who come from all backgrounds.

Mayor Nirenberg spoke at the dedication and reflected on signing the compassionate city charter when Nirenberg began serving as mayor.

“Signing that charter didn’t make us a compassionate city, that happens on a daily basis by you…signing that charter is a recognition of who San Antonio already is,” Mayor Nirenberg said.

“Compassion is the foundation of our city and we make it so every single day,” Mayor Nirenberg added.

Artists Rhys Munro and Hailey Marmolejo, two of the many artists who worked on the mural were recognized by the church and the mayor. They were both proud to be a part of painting this picture.

“We’re all different artists and the stained glass and window factor really kind of unified our different styles,” Munro said.

Munro wanted to represent the LGBTQ community in her window (the second from left) while Marmolejo, a native San Antonian and Tejana, included indigenous people in her piece.

“I want people to reflect in the diversity and I want people to feel good when they see the mural,” Munro said.

“I want people to feel inspired, represented, and empowered by that representation,” Marmolejo said.

Munro said volunteer artists pitched in to complete Victor Zarazua’s window (the second from right) after Zarazua had a medical accident. All artists are recognized in the bottom left part of the wall.

Pastor Rogers hopes that when people from all walks of life pass by—they can feel loved and accepted in the church and in the city.

“In a nation that’s completely divided right now, you can find ways to be in unity, have voices come together, six different voices come together and express a bigger vision that unity is much stronger than division,” Rogers said.

To learn more and support the mural, the church is encouraging people to visit the Raising Hope, Anchored in Faith fundraising effort.

 

DreamWeek in full effect _ Kens5 - 2022 DreamWeek

DreamWeek in full effect, on a mission to inspire and engage the community / KENS5

By NEWS

Although there are less events this year, the founder still encourages the community to come together to talk about the issues affecting the human race.

SAN ANTONIO — DreamWeek is underway and this is the last week to soak it all in. This year’s theme is “Our Future.” Founder,  Shokare “Sho” Nakpodia started it all ten years ago.

“DreamWeek is a celebration of tolerance, diversity, and equality,” he said. The inspiration is obviously MLK. We believe the truest voices are always going to triumph. So, we should allow dialogue, and allow open discussion across the table.”

Due to the pandemic, this year’s DreamWeek events are smaller. However, there are still more than 200, and with one week left Nakpodia said there are plenty of events you can still attend.

“It is a summit where, as a community we come together to celebrate ourselves and re-introduce ourselves to our ourselves,” he said. But more importantly to create an environment for civil and civic engagement.”

For a list of all the events, click here.

DreamWeek event with Rwandan Ambassador _ SAReport - 2022 DreamWeek

DreamWeek event with Rwandan ambassador draws scrutiny / San Antonio Report

By NEWS

Following criticism by supporters of imprisoned Rwandan Paul Rusesabagina over a panel discussion, a DreamWeek organizer said providing a platform for the Rwandan ambassador to the U.S. to speak in San Antonio allows people to make up their own minds about the country’s government.

Supporters of Rusesabagina and his family expressed outrage over the event Friday featuring Rwandan Ambassador Mathilde Mukantabana. Rusesabagina rose to international fame after his efforts to save more than 1,200 fellow Rwandans from genocide inspired the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda. He later moved to San Antonio with his wife.

Rwandan authorities arrested Rusesabagina while he was traveling internationally in August 2020 and put him on trial on charges including terrorism, arson and murder. In September, he was convicted of backing a rebel group responsible for deadly attacks in 2018 and 2019 and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Rusesabagina’s family said he was kidnapped and not provided a fair trial.

Trésor Rusesabagina, Rusesabagina’s son, said he planned to attend the event, which he did not think should be canceled.

“To me, freedom of speech is important,” he said Friday before the event. “Everybody has a right to say their piece.”

At DreamWeek 2020, Paul Rusesabagina served as the keynote speaker for the entire summit, a move that was criticized by some, said Shokare Nakpodia, the event’s organizer. After that event, he offered the people who opposed Rusesabagina’s appearance at the summit an opportunity to present their own event at DreamWeek. These members of the Rwandan community in San Antonio invited the ambassador to speak at DreamWeek this year.

“This was just a way for people in the Rwandan community, some of whom were vexed by Paul’s inclusion as a keynote speaker, post an event at DreamWeek,” Nakpodia said. “We really didn’t have any say in whatever they were going to include there.”

DreamVoice, the group that holds DreamWeek, worked with the organizers to hold the event with the ambassador, but Nakpodia said the organization works with all of its partners to figure out the logistics of holding events during DreamWeek. He anticipated there would be some fallout for the decision to bring Mukantabana to the event.

“I personally do not see any reason why the ambassador cannot be here and she be in an environment where she can be challenged for whatever she says or questions that can be put to her,” he said.

Trésor Rusesabagina said the criticism of the DreamWeek event is not just about his father. He said the Rwandan government has thrown other people in jail, such as young YouTubers, who publicly oppose the government.

“People have disappeared. Families have been broken,” he said. “This is why people are upset.”

Nakpodia understands that some people think DreamWeek is giving a platform to people who allegedly abducted and tortured Paul Rusesabagina, but he said he did not want to stifle the other voices in the Rwandan community.

“We think that everyone needs to be heard and that the truest voice is always going to prevail,” he said.

Nakpodia acknowledged that the members of the Rwandan government at the panel could lie, but he said it’s important that people make up their own minds. He doesn’t think the organization should police what people say.

“The question now becomes: who are the truth-tellers here in our environment? Can you step up as well and host a panel? It could be a rebuttal,” he said. “That’s really what we try to encourage, that kind of open conversation.”

It’s not the first time a DreamWeek panel has attracted controversy. In 2019, organizers withdrew an invitation to Rachel Dolezal, a white woman who became the subject of a Netflix documentary following a firestorm created by identifying herself as Black. DreamWeek asked her to join a panel about the documentary but changed course after a protest petition gathered more than 1,100 signatures.

6 year old entrepreneur _ KSAT12 - 2022 DreamWeek

6-year-old entrepreneur’s earring business an example of success found at DreamWeek / KSAT12

By NEWS

SAN ANTONIO – Port San Antonio is using DreamWeek’s initiative to help spark innovation.

DreamWeek’s mission is to celebrate humanity by creating environments for both civil and civic engagement while embracing ideas and dreams for the common good. DreamWeek is taking place now and lasts until Jan. 30.

“Well this sounds fun, this sounds challenging and I like challenging things and challenging activities so I said this would be good for me,” six-year-old Sonya Martinez, founder of the Honey Breeze Collection said.

“I want everybody to feel happy and unique,” Martinez said.

Sonya wanted to make earrings for her friends and had access to a 3-D printer. The next thing you know, a company was up and running.

“It all seamlessly came together. She made a logo and had her business name kind of figured out relatively quick,” Felicia Martínez, Sonya’s mother, said.

“It is the Honey Breeze collection and the reason we named it like that is because it’s my middle name: Honey Breeze,” Sonya said.

Sonya’s earrings are made by the 3-D printer and her story shows why DreamWeek is so important for San Antonio.

“DreamWeek is all about following your dreams right and that is why we got together with our community partners to come out and demonstrate their technology we’re hoping that’s going to spark some passion and create excitement for these jobs in STEM,” Stephanie Garcia, Port SA business development specialist said.

The programs happening over the next two weeks at Port San Antonio hope to inspire future scientists, astronauts, engineers and in Sonya’s case, entrepreneurs.

“I don’t wanna make earrings out of (a different material) because they might snap and break and I don’t want my earrings to break,” Sonya said.

And already, the six-year-old is learning business first-hand.

“I do take card or cash,” Sonya said.

You can find more about Sonya’s business by clicking here. And you can find out more about DreamWeek by clicking here.