There aren’t many white kids in the Gardere MLK Jr. Oratory Competition, so some audience members may have wondered what 9-year-old Wesley Stoker was doing on stage at Adamson High School in Dallas.
Stoker had a simple answer, according to the Dallas Morning News.
“I may not look like Dr. King, but I believe like Dr. King,” Stoker said.
Stoker’s speech earned him first place in the competition, which featured fourth- and fifth-graders from all over Dallas.
The students were tasked with writing speeches inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s values on the topic “What is your dream for today’s world?”
Stoker, with the help of his father, Andy, who is the senior minister at First United Methodist Church Dallas, delivered a powerful speech focused on love, unity, and a high moral standard.
“In October of 1964, the reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘The time is always right to do what is right,’” Stoker said. “Today, in 2018, I say: Now is the time to do what’s right.”
Wesley credits his values to his Christian family and upbringing in the church.
“I know that the love I’ve experienced in my faith community has been life changing,” Stoker said in the speech. “I think that sometimes we are not kind to each other because we don’t try to love, like I’ve learned to love at church.
“Dr. King encouraged many people to stand up for what is right, and to see everyone’s inner soul instead of what’s on the outside.”