I Have A Dream Festival

I Have A Dream Festival Header #1I Have a Dream Festival @ Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School

Empowering Families by Inspiring Hopes and Dreams

Saturday April 14, 2018 – 11:00am to 4:00pm (rain or shine)

The I Have a Dream Festival celebrates and channels the many positive and uplifting messages of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. while offering Richmonders the means and the opportunity to pursue their own dreams, and help others to do likewise.  The Festival is free to attend and will offer fun, family focused programming intended to be both enjoyable and inspirational for all attendees and participating organizations.  The inaugural event in April 2018 intends to become an annual event.

Festival Host

  • Richmond Public Schools / Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School – Inett Dabney, Principal

Festival Organizer

  • Replenish Richmond / East End Community Collaboration (EECC)

Festival Programming – Utilizing the entire MLK Campus

The I Have a Dream Festival intends to connect with and inspire Richmond parents and guardians, with a special emphasis on single mothers living in Richmond’s East End, who are looking to enhance the overall quality of life for themselves and their family.  The Festival will promote the power of Hopes and Dreams and offer adult attendees both information and direct connections to the Richmond agencies and organizations that can help them realize their dreams.  To make it easy on the parents, the Festival will have lots of activities to keep the kids entertained.  The Festival is especially looking to attract families living in the East End and will offer free transportation from a number of spots throughout the East End.  The Festival has the following Programming Objectives:

  • Promote the many positive and uplifting messages of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
    • Inspire all those involved in the Festival from planning to implementation with the words of Dr. King
    • Intersect the inspiring words of Dr. King with the attendees of the Festival in many ways > in the program, with posters all over the campus, promoted by the participating organizations, intertwined into activities
  • Promote the power of Hopes and Dreams – Festival attendees will be prodded and provoked to define their hopes and dreams and work to realize them > I Dream Of:
    • Living in a safe and nurturing neighborhood
    • A life without domestic violence
    • Excellent early child education and development for my children
    • The best possible education for myself and my children
    • Excellent health for me and my children
    • Access to experiential opportunities for myself and my children
    • Moving to a better home for me and my children
    • Access to healthy foods and a healthy lifestyle
  • Stress the critical importance of planning and ongoing commitment to make individual hopes and dreams a reality – offer attendees direct connections to planning coaches who can support their planning and implementation process
  • Offer parents and guardians the information and resource connections needed to start realizing their hopes and dreams for themselves and their families
    • Major emphasis on Empowering the Single Mom
    • For most of the interested and inspired attendees it is expected that the planning process will start at the Festival, and that’s just fine!

The Festival also wants to introduce Richmonders to MLK Middle School and hopefully inspire folks to become supporters of the school.  There will be a Meet the Principal Session with MLK Principal Inett Dabney (time to be determined) and the Festival will take full advantage of the wonderful facilities, indoor and out, offered by the MLK Middle School whose campus was designed and built to be a community center.

  • Indoors in MLK Auditorium > Community Conversations about important topics – to be determined
  • Outdoor in fields behind MLK Middle and MLK Pre-K
    • Every Participating Agency / Organization will have a physical set-up at the Festival > Lots of room for tents, vehicles and all sorts of activities
      • Festival footprint will be designed to impart information in a coordinated manner that positively impacts every attendee
      • Special prizes for attendees who accumulate a certain level of points by participating in programs and activities and visiting agency + org tables
    • Sports related activities on the track and field, baseball fields, basketball courts and surrounding fields
      • Disc Golf skills demonstration and tournament for youth and adults
    • Special Activity – the I Have A Dream Bike/ Walk Parade around the MLK track (time to be determined) > participants to include folks on bicycles and unicycles, folks walking including cheerleaders and a marching band(s), animals walking including dogs and horses, and a variety of other participants
    • Special Activity –  I Have a Dream of an urban farm at MLK
      • Attendees will be asked to imagine an urban farm and agriculture center utilizing some of the unused land behind MLK Middle School
      • Arrange for some barnyard animals to spur the imagination

GIMME 5 logo #1

Special Festival Programming > GIMME 5 Sign Up

The I Have a Dream Festival will act as a recruiting event for a new community engagement initiative called GIMME 5 > Richmonders are asked to offer 5 volunteer hours per month (on average) for 12 months (= 60 hours total per year) to one of the more than 60 agencies and organizations invited to participate in the Festival – see list below.

Agencies / Organizations invited to participate – More than 60 and growing

  • Government (13)
    • Office of the Mayor of the City of Richmond
    • Richmond Police Department
    • Richmond Fire & EMS
    • Richmond Public Schools
    • Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority (RRHA)
    • Richmond Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA)
    • Richmond City Health District
    • Richmond Office of Community Wealth Building
    • Richmond Neighbor to Neighbor
    • Richmond Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities
    • Richmond Department of Social Services
    • Richmond City Justice Center
    • Richmond Clean City Commission
  • Non-Profit / Private Community (38)
    • Replenish Richmond / East End Community Collaboration (EECC)
    • YMCA of Richmond
    • Richmond YWCA
    • Challenge Discovery Projects / Say It With Heart
    • Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Richmond
    • Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club
    • Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth
    • Boy Scouts, Heart of VA Council
    • Neighborhood Resource Center – Greater Fulton
    • East District Family Resource Center
    • Peter Paul Development Center
    • Sacred Heart Center
    • Friends Association for Children
    • Capital Area Partnership Uplifting People (CAPUP)
    • GRTC Transit System
    • Capital Area Health Network (CAHN)
    • Carol Adams Foundation
    • ChildSavers
    • Diversity Richmond
    • Side By Side
    • The Algebra Project
    • Sportsbackers
    • Richmond Cycling Corps
    • Blue Sky Fund
    • Groundwork RVA
    • Shalom Farms
    • Tricycle
    • Communities in Schools (CIS of Richmond)
    • Hands On Greater Richmond
    • Kinfolk Community
    • Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School
    • Church Hill Activities & Tutoring (CHAT)
    • Virginia State University College of Agriculture
    • Bon Secours Richmond Health System
    • Kiwanis Club of Richmond
    • Cross Over Ministries
    • Senior Connections
    • VCU Aspire Living-Learning Program
    • Read to Them
  • Neighborhoods (12)
    • Mosby Court Tenant Council
    • Whitcomb Court Tenant Council
    • Fairfield Court Tenant Council
    • Creighton Court Tenant Council
    • Fulton Tenant Council
    • Jefferson Townhomes Residents
    • Oliver Crossing Residents
    • New Vision Civic League
    • Unity Civic League
    • Eastview Civic Association
    • Union Hill Civic Association
    • Church Hill Association
  • Faith Organizations > Led by Pastor Don Coleman and East End Fellowship
    • Faith communities will be looked to for help making the event run efficiently and effectively, with specific support requested in the following areas:
      • Offering transportation vehicles to help folks get to the Festival and back, primarily from the East End
      • Donating food for a meal to be served to everyone who signs up to GIMME 5
      • Volunteer time to support the lunch tables, sports activities, and clean-up.

Operations and Logistics

  • Use of MLK School facility and outdoor fields including:
    • Access to Auditorium and adjacent space
    • Access to Cafeteria and adjacent space
    • Make sure toilets and water fountain are working at baseball fields (Parks & Rec)
    • More planned indoor access in the event of rain
  • Printed I Have A Dream Program for all attendees who sign up with basic contact info
    • Contact information for all Festival participating organizations
    • Inspirational messages from Dr. King
    • Special programs available for City residents
  • Free transportation to and from the Festival from all over the East End.  The following organizations will be asked to involve their vehicles in the process, with funding for expenses raised from donors:
    • CHAT
    • Blue Sky Fund
    • RRHA
    • Misc East End Church buses
  • Volunteers, primarily needed for:
    • Food and Drink
    • Sports and field events and programs
    • Clean Up
    • GIMME 5 Sign up Tables + Drive Thru
  • Marketing
    • To be determined
  • Primary Financial Costs
    • Lunch
    • Transportation costs
    • Program costs
    • Marketing
  • Misc
    • Recycling to be handled by Replenish Richmond / Recycling is Magic


Keep the dream alive

I Have a Dream, by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Delivered on the steps at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”