On Friday, January 14, students participate in our first MLK Oratorical in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., an opportunity for our students to use their own unique voices while developing their oratorical abilities. They were invited to use this moment to communicate what is important to them and call their audience members to action as they strive to create a more just world for all humans.
The MLK Oratorical was first developed 42 years ago for Oakland Unified School District. The event can be seen in the HBO film We Are The Dream: The Kids of the Oakland MLK Oratorical (2020). AaLeiyah DeSimas, our Equity and Inclusion Coordinator, has been working with levels Primary through Middle School to help students memorize and dramatically present a published or original speech, poem, or performance piece. Students at these levels practiced their group and individual performances since our return from Winter Break.
The theme for the Primary and Lower Elementary students is based on the following quote from Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. Dr. King delivered this, his most famous speech, to over
250,000 civil rights supporters on August 28, 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C:
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’” -Martin Luther King Jr
The theme for the Upper Elementary and Middle School students is based on the following quote from a speech Reverend Martin Luther King gave at Riverside Church in New York City:
“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding
conundrum of life and history, there ‘is’ such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”-Martin Luther King Jr
Here is just one of the performances!