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By Elaine Ayala : January 9, 2014

SAN ANTONIO — DreamWeek opens Friday with a St. Paul’s Square ceremony in the morning and 2nd Verse, a spoken word event at the Continental Café on Fairdale Drive, in the evening.

In between, the San Antonio Ivy Educational Fund‘s scholarship dinner will feature a keynote address by author Michael Eric Dyson at the University of the Incarnate Word‘s Sky Room, and the San Antonio Museum of Art will host the Dream pARTy.

In all, more than 60 events — “and counting,” organizers said — will make up the 12-day summit, with San Antonio’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. March on Jan. 20 as its highlight.

Each event through Jan. 21, in one way or another, has been organized to advance MLK’s dream of tolerance, diversity and equality, said Shokare “Sho” Nakpodia, president of DreamVoice, the nonprofit behind DreamWeek.

“Last year was obviously the first. We spent a lot of energy just trying to get people aware,” Nakpodia said, while this year, “interest has been overwhelming.”

Nakpodia, an immigrant from Nigeria by way of London and New York, said it’s no surprise to him that the city’s annual MLK march attracts such a diverse audience and is known as the largest of its kind in the country.

“This city is known nationally as a place that resolves its conflicts with little or no drama,” he said. “It’s a place of the future. It’s the face of the future of America.”

Ultimately, DreamWeek’s goal is to promote San Antonio as a destination for MLK-inspired events each January. The city has estimated that as many as 100,000 people have participated in the march. “There could be 250,000 people at the march, if we plan it right,” he said.

San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro helped conceptualize DreamWeek, challenging advertising agencies, including Nakpodia’s firm, The Mighty Group, “that we needed to tell a broader story of what San Antonio is. And he mentioned the MLK march as the largest in the nation, and basically said that it was an incredible opportunity to show off Diversity USA.”

“That resonated with me,” Nakpodia said, “and I kept thinking of how we could tell that story every single year.”

DreamWeek has commissioned a documentary and a photo book about the events this year, he said.

Not every mixer, basketball game, luncheon or film screening will be about MLK, organizers said, but each encourages people from different walks of life to come together under one roof.

Events are organized under 10 themes, including arts, education, youth, justice, sports and business.

DreamWeek is named after King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial.

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