Tyler City Councilman Darryl Bowdre encouraged Texas College students to dare to dream in the pattern of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but to be smart about how they share those dreams.
Bowdre spoke at Texas College Friday during the school’s “Dare to Dream” program remembering King as a pastor, civil rights leader, humanitarian, philanthropist and Nobel laureate.
Using the story of Joseph from the Bible, he told the students that dreamers must be ready to be hated, attacked and tried on the road toward achieving their dreams.
“People hate the dreamer,” he said. “They’ll kill the dreamer. If they can’t kill the dreamer, they’ll kill the dream. If they can do two for one, they’ll do it. That’s where we are right now in America. There are people there are dream killers around here, and you as young people have to understand that if you’re going to dare to dream, there’s some things you’ve got to fight in yourself and there’s some things you’ve got to fight for the other.”
In the Bible story, Joseph was the favorite son of his father and his brothers knew it and hated him because of it. On top of that, he had some dreams in which his brothers and parents bowed down him and he shared those with his family.
That made his brothers hate him even more and so they planned to kill him.
“If you’re going to be a dreamer, you’re going to have to deal with the perception of entitlement,” Bowdre said.
There will be people who think you obtained certain positions because of who you are or who you know and they aren’t going to like you because of that, he said.
Bowdre said while a person might achieve a lot through their own work, the reality is they likely have received something from others. People must be aware of how they appear to others and themselves.
“Sometimes, the very things that you have been given can be the very things that bring you down,” he said.
In Joseph’s case, it was his obliviousness to his brother’s feelings about him that got him into some trouble.
Dreamers also must be careful about whom they share their dreams with.
“Sometimes telling your dream to the wrong people will get you and your dream in trouble,” he said.
People don’t like dreamers, Bowdre said. And they didn’t like King. Dreamers expose other people’s inability to dream. People are sometimes intimidated by dreamers and will try to bring them down because of that, he said.
Joseph’s brothers ended up throwing him into a pit and eventually selling him to traveling merchants. Joseph faced other trials including time in prison for an act he didn’t commit.
“Since he was entitled, God was getting him ready for the struggle and God was getting him ready for leadership so that he would eventually save an entire people,” Bowdre said. “But he had to go through that struggle.”
Bowdre told the students they must be willing to dream no matter what their circumstances — they could be struggling with depression, lack of money or no friends — but that can’t stop them.
“I don’t know what your pit is, and after your pit may come a prison,” he said. “Do you really think it’s gonna stop there? But God will test the veracity of your dreams and the dedication and the passion of your life by sending you through something, a pit, a prison, but hold on because at the end of the story Joseph gets to the palace. I’m so glad that in spite of the pit, in spite of the prison, God’s still got a palace to put you in.”
Texas College President Dr. Dwight Fennell said many people who attended the program are examples of people who have risen to positions of leadership in the community because they are dreamers. He said the college’s faculty, staff and students also are dreamers.
“Education is nothing more than about creating a vision for your life and fulfilling that vision,” he said.
He encouraged the students to fulfill the purpose of their presence there by graduating.
Often there are things that people take for granted that were brought about by those who came before them, he said.
One of those things is the existence of Texas College. He said the college turned 120 years old on Jan. 9 and was started by preachers who saw the need for African-Americans to get an education. Today, the school is 82 percent African-American, 13 percent Hispanic, and 3 percent Caucasian.
“You all are a family of dreamers …” he said adding that the college brings people from around the country and the world to the campus. “You should be a part of that and you should embrace it because your future may rest in the person you’re sitting next to.”