DPTV Dream On Screening | Discussing the American Dream | DPTV

DPTV Dream On Screening | Discussing the American Dream

Last Updated by Lea Vigi on

The American Dream. The majority of us have heard the phrase, but to each of us, what it is and what it takes to achieve it can vary widely. Evaluating the state of it can be even more contentious.

On a brisk Tuesday night, folks gathered at the Charles Wright Museum of African American History. Their aim--to take part in an evening dedicated to sussing out the state of the American Dream.

Before the screening, people were invited to write their thoughts on the American Dream on paper.

Dream On 1.png

The crowd then gathered into the auditorium to watch an advanced screening of Dream On, a film in which political comedian John Fugelsang takes a road trip, retracing the steps trod by Alexis de Tocqueville. Tocqueville’s study of a young  America in 1831 resulted in one of his paramount works, Democracy in America, which, among many other things, contained his observations on the ability of anyone to ascend the ladder of economic opportunity.

Along the way, Fugelsang delves into the state of the American Dream through interactions with everyday Americans.

After the screening, moderators Kirk Mayes (CEO of Forgotten Harvest)  and Stephen Ward (History professor, Department of Afromerican and African studies, University of Michigan) stepped in to lead a panel discussion featuring some of Detroit’s own.

Dream On 2.JPGPanelists (L-R): Raquel Castañeda-López, Tawana “Honeycomb” Petty, Jyarland Daniels, Andre Watson, Kyle Smitley, Yusef Shakur

The questions were catalytic; the answers thought-provoking, especially when it came to first defining the American Dream. Some characterized it as being elusive but still achievable; others defined it as a false narrative that excludes others; still others defined it simply as an illusion. What followed for next 40 minutes was a deep conversation on topics that included the role that race plays in realizing the dream as well as Detroit’s portrayal in the film and other media.


If you missed the livestream, be sure to check out the panel discussion in its entirety.


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