I Dream is a nationally recognized youth leadership and social justice initiative created by Daniel Beaty that uses the tools of arts, immersive group exercises, and trauma recovery to support young people to rewrite the story of race and class inequity in America, and create social justice projects to make that new story reality.
I Dream has taken root in three U.S. cities: Watts, CA; Omaha, NE; and Boston, MA and has been supported by the Ford Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Barr Foundation, the Sherwood Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and other generous donors.
Since 2012, I Dream has come alive in theatres and classrooms across the country. I Dream is a powerful tool built around a curriculum that enables young people to identify their innate power, find ways to express it, and present their raised consciousness to an audience. The process is both comprehensive and concrete, and for the more than 2,000 youth who have participated in an iteration of I Dream, the transformation of self speaks volumes.
A city-specific listening process to investigate how to build more vibrant, equitable communities. I Dream staff are training in the I Dream methodology and curriculum.
Relationships are established with community partners. Partners and their community members experience a production of one of Daniel Beaty’s plays.
Young people participate in a long-term workshop series that introduces the I Dream methodologies and empowers young people to share their personal stories through writing and performance. This challenging work of transforming ‘pain to power’ begins in earnest for participants and it involves facilitation by experienced teaching artists and the support of a therapeutic partner.
The four pillars work in synergy with each other. Generated work from the the I Dream workshops is shared in a public performance.
Individual transformation is the path to social transformation. The project works at both the individual and community levels. When we transform as individuals, we create a greater possibility for long-lasting and deep social transformation.
Arts, artists, and the tools of the arts have a central role to play in social justice movements. The creative and narrative gifts that artists bring have the possibility to advance conversations and action toward race and class equity in new, creative ways.
Trauma recovery is essential to healing the legacy of race and class inequity in America; building resilience; and creating meaningful, long-lasting change.
Community building for collective education, reimagining, and action is a core strategy for creating deep democracy and opportunity for all.
Technology is a powerful platform to give voice, educate, engage, and mobilize the largest possible community of participants.