It’s a new year, and for me, the best thing is saying adios to a nightmarish 2020. January may not bring immediate relief from the pandemic and politics, but it does bring a pause to reflect and then move forward, which brings me to some of my New Year’s resolutions:
• To get the COVID-19 vaccine soon. The more of us who do it, the more of us won’t contract the virus and spread it or die of it.
• To be patient. The leading vaccine so far is two shots, weeks apart. Even after I’m vaccinated, to keep being cautious, to help protect others.
• To keep the silver linings of the pandemic in mind and reach out to neighbors in need; to volunteer with the Bexar Area Harm Reduction Coalition, the San Antonio Food Bank, Haven for Hope and any group reminding me of the blessings in my own life, and the healing power of compassion.
• To thank doctors, health care workers, home-health aides, teachers, postal workers, H-E-B employees or the pharmacy; heck, all the great people I know.
• To support at least one of the local nonprofits enriching my life, from the San Antonio Museum of Art and Musical Bridges Around the World to Texas Public Radio.
• To spend at locally owned coffee shops, cafes, bookstore, hardware stores and more.
• To finally achieve my goal of walking and biking every mile of the city’s fantastic greenway trails. Also, to stroll the beautiful River Walk more often.
• To support the Conservation Society of San Antonio and others working to preserve the historic Woolworth Building, and those advocating to maintain Alamo Plaza as the historic heart of the city, not just a state-run tourist attraction.
• To talk less and listen more, especially to folks I don’t agree with. To judge less and accept more. To say, “You may be right” and mean it.
This year’s ninth annual DreamWeek San Antonio is a great way to start practicing some resolutions. Running from Jan. 14-24, it features more than 100 free public events hosted by amazingly diverse organizations. Live and virtual performances and exhibitions, panels, forums and programs are all aimed at fostering community in a bipartisan environment. (For more, visit Dreamweek.org).
Shokare Nakpodia, president and founder of DreamVoice (the organization that presents DreamWeek), exemplifies the word dreamer. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, educated in London, and spending years in New York City, he fell in love with San Antonio and moved here in 2002. He founded a graphic-design agency, and started making friends with community leaders and building bridges. In 2012, during his involvement with the 25th anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jr. march here, his extensive research on the civil-rights leader and others inspired him to organize the first DreamWeek in 2013.
“Nobody could really say why San Antonio had the largest King march in the nation. The closest answer I got was that people in this city have somehow learned to resolve crises with a lot less drama than other large cities,” Nakpodia told me.
He added, “In 2021, coming out of a year when the pandemic swept the world and the struggles of minorities and the poor came into sharp focus through protest, and when many fear that government is eroding their individual liberty, it is more important than ever to seek peaceful paths for the pursuit of happiness for all.”
That’s a dream worth working for in 2021.