Dallas 5th Grade Orator Takes 1st Step Toward Repeat Win in MLK Competition

The Foley Gardere MLK Oratory Competition final isn't until January 2020, but Dallas fifth grader, Jasira King, already has her sights set on being a back-to-back competition winner.

"Just think, well, what if I win it again?" King said.

King took her first step toward that goal Monday afternoon, when she stepped on stage at William Brown Miller Elementary to compete in the school's competition. The theme of this year's MLK Oratory Competition is "What Would Dr. King's Vision be for America in 2020?"

"I believe that Dr. King's vision for America in 2020 is that America would truly have 20/20 vision," King said. "This does not mean perfect sight. It means fair and balanced."

King won the MLK Oratory Competition finals last year, following in the footsteps of her brother and sister, who have both won in previous years.

"To be totally transparent, their father and I met on debate team," King's mother, Nicole King said. "We're trying to instill in them that their voice needs to be heard."

"My parents, they expect a lot from me," Jasira King said. "And I expect even more from myself because I know I can do it."

King had one competitor in Monday's local competition: four grader Ta'Nijah Crethers.

"Dr. King was a great man," Crethers said as she stood behind a podium that was nearly as tall as she was. "I think Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision of 2020 would be that black kids and white kids would be friendly and not judge each other."

Crethers smiled ear-to-ear when she was awarded a red ribbon for second place.

King won first place. She will move on to the semifinals Dec. 3. If King wins there, she would go to the finals in January. The last time there was a back-to-back winner was 2005-06.

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