DREAM lives!

by Baba Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Ma’at

DREAM-hillside-sculpture-unveiling-MLK-Mid-School-students-sing-‘Big-Dreams’-0917-by-Jahahara-web-300x225, DREAM lives!, Culture Currents
Students from Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School sang their song, “Big Dreams,” at the unveiling of the DREAM hillside sculpture. – Photo: Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Maat
DREAM-hillside-sculpture-unveiling-Remembrance-is-Power-mural-for-Mike-Dream-Francisco-0917-by-Jahahara-web-300x225, DREAM lives!, Culture Currents
A mural was also unveiled that introduces the public to Mike “Dream” Francisco, who inspired the sculpture; it also deepens the knowledge of those who knew him. – Photo: Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Maat

The spirit of Ancestor Mike “Dream” Francisco lives on! From the Bayshore hill above the Alemany Farmer’s Market in San Francisco, a special tribute to the renowned Oakland graffiti artist, who was murdered in a robbery in 2000, has risen. It was created by another exceptional, multi-genre artist, Ana Teresa Fernandez.

DREAM-hillside-sculpture-unveiling-artist-Ana-Teresa-Fernandez-teacher-rapper-Tommy-Shepherd-0917-by-Jahahara-web-cropped-300x184, DREAM lives!, Culture Currents
At the unveiling were Ana Teresa Fernandez, the artist who conceived and created the sculpture, and teacher and rapper Tommy Shepherd. – Photo: Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Maat

“I was inspired to … create DREAM on the hill … as a sign to compel individuals to start identifying their goals and aspirations, from a place of consciousness and awareness, and to begin the process of pursuing them.”

In this period, the DREAM sculpture has multiple meanings to our communities. It is not only a tribute to the late artist. It can also be seen as a call to support and defend the children of immigrants, now known as “Dreamers,” who are being threatened with deportation.

In addition, this newest Bay Area landmark can be viewed in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s closing to his “Cash the Check” speech – aka, “I Have a Dream.”

This public art came about through a partnership commissioned by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco Public Works and Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. Students from MLK – supported by actor, playwright, rapper, beat-boxer and musician Tommy Shepherd – also wrote and performed a song titled “Big Dreams” at the unveiling.

Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Maat advocates for power to the people politically, economically and culturally and is known particularly for his leadership in the struggle for reparations. He can be reached at jahahara@newafrikan777.com.