- A performance lecture -
"I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be."
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dialogues on Diversity was commissioned by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Committee of Greater Attleboro Massachusetts to create an original keynote address for their 2017 MLK celebration at the John Wesley AME Church. Based on their theme: "MLK & The Strength of Shared Dreams," we created a program that was part performance and part lecture. We focused on MLK’s Poor Peoples Campaign as the best possible theme to build our work around.
Through live character portrayal and video, “Shared Dreams” depicts how MLK’s “Poor Peoples Campaign” was a turning point in intersectional advocacy. A broad cross-section of cultural groups came together to fight against poverty. Had King lived to be the face of this young movement, it would have changed the way we look at race and social issues. We believe that it would have been a great leap forward in our American Civil Rights Story.
When most people think of the American “Civil Rights Movement” they focus on the African American struggle of the 1950’s and 1960’s and within that, they focus on MLK as the figurehead of that movement. It is not that those things are inaccurate, it is more that they are incomplete. Moreover, they paint an incomplete picture of the man and the nature of civil rights in America.
– 'Shared Dreams,' performed at U Michigan, Jan. 18, 2018
King and Multiculturalism
On March 12th 1968 King held his Minority Peoples Conference in Atlanta Ga. It was designed to create a broad cross cultural coalition for his poor people's campaign. It may have been the first diversity conference in U.S. history.
Sadly, almost every other Martin Luther King, Jr. presentation I have attended prior (different colleges, libraries, celebrations), focused solely on his famous speech (don't get me wrong, very poignant speech). However, until today I didn't realize the depth of the impact he had leading up to that, and most likely after.
The topics you chose to highlight were both educational for me and motivational. I intend to work to decrease fear-barriers for minority groups that may choose not to access health care.
University Health Service
Ann Arbor, MI
Since hosting the performance of MLK and the Strength of Shared Dreams I've been in conversation with many who attended. We all agree; the power of the work is it doesn't sugar coat the challenge, but also gives hope. Most importantly, it elucidates the resources we have today to carry the torch of Dr. King's vision toward the finish line.
Reverend Craig Schaub, Parkway United Church of Christ, Winston-Salem, NC
Long story short: AMERICA IS A CIVIL RIGHTS STORY
This country was founded on a series of ideas and principles, which were designed to raise human dignity. From the religious freedom that brought the Pilgrims to Emancipation, to Women’s Suffrage and a multitude of other struggles, America’s story is one of human dignity. Much of our constitution is a testament to the civil rights moments, movements and (sadly) failures that define our national character.
MLK’s civil rights story was just the most recent in a long line. More importantly, by the mid 60’s MLK’s focus was expanding to encompass far more than he is generally given credit for.
"Thank you for creating a presentation to fit the medium we were in! So much better and much more engaging than watching a video of a speaker delivering a speech behind a podium.
The mix of acting, slides and video was very effective-- in capturing and keeping folks' attention. My pastor said your slides were "so impactful." I, too, was struck by the video of LBJ (it was like he was talking to us today); the images of tent city, and child workers.
My sister said she "really enjoyed the guest actor/speaker presentation." (She was watching in Washington, DC).
Thank you for the well-developed message that expounded on The Rev. Dr. King's dream and goals of reaching and helping all who are economically disenfranchised.
In a Facebook comment, one of our representatives thanked the committee and said we have a long way to go and has committed himself to the work.
Overall, I think the commemoration of The Rev. Dr. King was a success. Thank you for helping us look so polished and professional...
– 'Shared Dreams' at AME Zion Church, North Attleboro, MA, Jan. 18, 2021
More Praise for 'Shared Dreams'
Bunker Hill Community College
Chemeketa Community College
Harvey Mudd College
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Committee of Greater Attleboro
Mercy College of Ohio
Parkway United Church of Christ
Southern Connecticut State University
New Haven, CT
Tarleton State University
University of Michigan School of Information
Ann Arbor, MI
University of Michigan Office of Public Health
Ann Arbor, MI