Students Imagine What Martin Luther King Jr. Would Say in Presidential Campaign Today

Today honors the life of civil rights icon the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who was 39 when he was fatally shot on April 4, 1968.

To recognize King’s work, fourth- and fifth-graders from Texas competed in the annual Gardere MLK Jr. Oratory competition, which asked them to perform original speeches in which they imagined what King would say in his campaign speech if he were running for president in 2016.

In their addresses of between three and five minutes, students from the Dallas and Houston areas Friday touched on some of the topics causing turmoil across the nation.

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One student, Brandalyn Thompson of Pleasantville Elementary, referenced the Black Lives Matter movement, noting, “There is more that must be done. White and black lives must matter. Hispanic lives must matter, Native and Asian lives must matter. All lives must matter!”

Malak Albarguthi of Sutton Elementary said he was Muslim, and he wondered how King would treat his family during the campaign.

“Just because our religious beliefs aren't the same, does not mean we can't embrace these differences,” Malak said.

Check out more of the students’ responses in the video.

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