Lyriq Turner

Address at the Gardere Martin Luther King Oratory Competition

delivered 15 January 2016, The Majestic Theatre, Dallas, Texas

Audio AR-XE mp3 of Address

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[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]

Good morning! My name is Lyriq Turner and I'm in the 5th grade.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. left many legacies. He was a crusader for civil rights, voting rights, religious harmony, peace, and economic justice. And although Dr. King was not officially affiliated with any political party, from his writings and speeches we can conclude how he’d respond to America’s issues.

If Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were running for President of the United States this year, what would he say?

Standing upon the mountaintop of progress, Dr. King would look over and see that although the Jim Crow laws of yesteryear are long gone, the “trickle down economics" of the recent past has created a massive divide between the rich and the poor.

Dr. King would remind us to regard the poor -- but not through more government handouts, or other failed social policies, but by jumpstarting low and stagnant wages. This will give the sluggish American economy a boost.

America, it is time for a new way.

This new way can and must include a common sense approach to solving the immigration issue. By the year 2040, the total population will reflect a more diverse, multicultural society. Dr. King would remind us to deal kindly with strangers, for we too were once strangers in this land. You see, it doesn’t help to build walls; we need to build opportunity on both sides of the border.

America, it is time for a new way.

This new way can and must take on a new approach to foreign affairs. The fiery darts thrown by terrorist groups, such as ISIS, will not soften America’s resolve. America must take a proactive stance against those that seek to harm innocent lives through cowardly acts of terror. Every nation must overcome tribal, racial, sectional, and religious loyalties for the benefits of all humanity.

America, it is time for a new way.

This new way can and must address a common sense approach to holding our police accountable. We must sit down side by side, in constructive dialogue about the needs of our communit[ies], remembering that all lives matter -- white, brown, yellow, and black.

America, it is time for a new way.

It is time for a new way because the old way is broken. It is time for a new way because the old way alienates, imprisons, and traps us in an archaic way of living, moving, and having our being. In order to solve the problems of our era, we must set our moral compass high and let our actions typify the Son of Man and do the right thing regardless of the earthly ramifications.

So, as we stand upon the mountaintop of progress --

Let merit be our guiding light in every human resource office.

Let compassion be our guiding light on every border and on every coast.

Let diplomacy be our guiding light when we choose allies from around the world.

Let service be our guiding light in the minds of every doctor, teacher, and police officer.

Through every walk of life, let morality be our guiding light.

When we let morality be our guiding light, we will be able to speed up that day when all children, black/white, poor/rich, fatherless/fathered, citizen and immigrant will be able to join hands and solve humanity’s problems, juntos, together.

Some called him a preacher and a prophet, a minister and a militant; a rabble-rouser and a radical. But what Dr. King would remind every presidential candidate and every citizen is that America is still the Promised Land.

Thank you.


See Also: Gardere Annual MLK Jr. Oratory Competition

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