DreamWeek SA founder wanted to join civil rights movement while growing up

DreamWeek SA begins Friday ahead of Monday’s MLK Jr. March

SAN ANTONIO – Growing up in Nigeria, DreamWeek San Antonio founder Shokare Nakpodia told his father, the director of a multi-national company, that he wanted to be a Negro.

“He laughed like hysterically for days and days,” Nakpodia said.

Yet Nakpodia said, “I felt that the African-Americans were the most noble people on earth.”

Nakpodia said he admired their determination.

“There was this sense that they were going to succeed even though the road ahead was going to be very hard,” Nakpodia said.

Years later while visiting his sister, a pastor in San Antonio, he discovered a march honoring one of his civil rights heroes, Martin Luther King Jr.

“It was magical,” he said. “Hundreds of thousands of people marching in one accord was truly inspiring.”

Nakpodia said many of them came to a part of town they usually didn’t visit.

He said after he created his own marketing and advertising firm, “We got a contract to beautify the MLK March route.”

Designing and creating the needed signage was “a turning point,” Nakpodia said.

He was deeply involved in what it took to stage the event that is now said to be the largest MLK Jr. March in the nation.

Nakpodia said he wanted to keep the spirit of unity of that day alive.

He asked, “Can we create events around DreamWeek that would support what the spirit of the march?”

The first DreamWeek had only about 30 events, grew to 350 before the pandemic, and this year, there will be more than 200 programs during the 17-day citywide summit focusing on tolerance, diversity and equality, as well as civil and civic engagement. Nakpodia said he expects in the next few years, DreamWeek may have as many as 500 programs for the community.

Nakpodia said he had imagined, “This was the place I needed to be.”

He said the MLK Jr. March and the events throughout DreamWeek, help show “San Antonio is becoming more of the face of America’s tomorrow.”

About the Authors

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

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