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MPS students’ winning speeches in MLK contest give fresh meaning to King’s words

MPS student delivers winning MLK speechHistory comes alive when people today reflect on it and let it shape their actions. Historic words from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. inspired MPS students for their winning speeches this year for the 40th annual We Energies speech contest. 

Following are excerpts from the winning speeches, which the students delivered at the King birthday celebration at the Marcus Performing Arts Center on January 15. Students’ speeches centered on the theme "What Affects One Affects All," based on King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” from 1963. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly,” he wrote. 


 “Martin Luther King and I believe that two wrongs do not make a right. Hate and negativity do not equal positivity.”  

Eddie Smith, Craig Montessori School; 1st place, grades 3 and 4 


“Dr. King once said, ‘We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.’ The brotherhood Dr. King was referring to should include women, children, men, all cultures, and people with disabilities.” 

Victoria Gagliano, Alcott School; 1st place, grades 7 and 8 


“It will be better if this world has more respect for each other and showing some love and being kind to every religion.” 

Bibi Mohamed Yunus, Victory School; 3rd place, grades 7 and 8 


“Being different makes the world colorful. So, acknowledge that and think about what Dr. King went through to make this world this world.”  

Zebdee Larfeeva, Golda Meir Lower Campus; 2nd place, grades 3 and 4 


“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. calls upon us to seek love instead of hate. Seek to defeat the evil instead of the people. We need to understand these things. We need to educate ourselves.” 

Dadria Veal, Golda Meir Upper Campus; 3rd place, grades 9 and 10 


“So, all we need to do is teach others — kids, adults, and even the elderly — that we are all equal. Because a threat to one race is a threat to others, too.” 

Priscilia Nsau, Lowell Elementary School; 3rd place, grades 5 and 6 


“By doing good things for one another, it will make others feel better about their life and it will make others feel happy. … Being treated fairly gives us all the chance to show our talents and gifts to the world.” 

Ashe Henry, Lowell Elementary School; 3rd place, grades 3 and 4 


“What you say matters. Who you say it to matters. That person is not just that person. Pieces of that person are in a multitude of others, and they will feel your words, kind or harsh. You have a voice, and it can make a ripple. Make sure that it is a good one.” 

Dahlia Santiago, Golda Meir Upper Campus; 2nd place, grades 7 and 8 


“You’ll never know what someone is going through until you walk a mile in their shoes.” 

Nevaeha Tarver, Golda Meir Upper Campus; 1st place, grades 11 and 12 


“Who hurts her, hurts him. What hurts them, hurts us. What hurts me, hurts you. What hurts you, hurts me.” 

Jonah Denae, Milwaukee High School of the Arts; 2nd place, grades 11 and 12 


“Dr. King stated that life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ Well, Dr. King, here’s my answer: I want to start a domino effect of compassion.” 

Zaida Smith, Samuel Clemens School; 1st place, grades 5 and 6 


“Let’s all stand up for injustice happening all around the world. We need to have dignity. Together, we could make the world a better place if we could love each other and, most importantly, treat each other with kindness and respect.” 

Cameron Barki, Lowell Elementary School; first place, kindergarten to grade 2 


“Can you help me keep a promise to change our actions to happy actions and help keep our community safe? … Let's continue the work of Martin Luther King and be the dream of a peaceful change.” 

Haniah Cross, Craig Montessori School; 3rd place, kindergarten to grade 2 


“Let’s be like Dr. King. Let’s be the special ingredient that starts a positive chain reaction in our homes, neighborhoods, schools, and around the world.” 

Renad Kabashi, Golda Meir Upper Campus, 2nd place, grades 5 and 6 


Excerpts from the winning speeches can be seen delivered by the students in a video compiled by We Energies.  


Stephen Davis, Media Relations Manager
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