DreamWeek continues in San Antonio leading up to the Martin Luther King Jr. March on Monday, Jan. 18. East Side leaders gathered Monday morning to kick off a new revitalization effort for the community that hosts the march.
The City calls the San Antonio march the largest in the country.
"We just take that prize in terms of pride in our parade," said Mike Etienne, executive director of East Point. It's a city program that has been working to revitalize the area with improvements in education, economic development, public safety, jobs and housing.
Etienne said crime is down on the East Side, and they’re working to get kids involved in caring for their community. "That is one of the challenges that we face. That is, how do we engage the youth?" he said.
Councilman Alan Warrick said the team this year brought in $400,000 for scholarships, more than 10 times last year’s total. "This year we have raised over $200,000 but then we also got full scholarship commitments," Warrick said. "So one scholarship to UTSA, Texas A&M San Antonio, Our Lady of the Lake, Northeast Lakeview. And we're still going after the other ones, too, so we're going for 12 scholarships but we have seven so far." The MLK Commission designed a new branding program for DreamWeek and for Monday's MLK March, with banners that mark the route and bring pride to the neighborhoods. Warrick hopes to see DreamWeek grow to equal First Fridays in Southtown, with events to get all members of the community to participate in the East Side revitalization. "Show them that it's safe, show them that it's vibrant, and show them the opportunities that are down here," Warrick said. The group has procured several new street signs for the Martin Luther King march route, installed a mural to celebrate DreamWeek and has plans next year to extend Martin Luther King Boulevard all the way to Loop 410. DreamWeek continues all week until Monday's march, with arts and education events, yoga classes, jazz concerts, and a free showing of the movie, “Selma” tonight at the Carver Cultural Center. For more DreamWeek events check here.