Wesley Stoker didn’t think he’d win the Gardere MLK Jr. Oratory Competition, and he surely didn’t imagine his speech would go viral.

But the Withers Elementary fourth-grader not only won first place but also captured the attention of media outlets all the way from Baltimore to London.

Stoker was one of 121 Dallas ISD students who took part in the 26th annual competition. His 5-minute speech focused on the topic “What is your dream for today’s world?” and emphasized empathy for others.

Being the white kid in a competition with predominately black students wasn’t something lost on the 9-year-old, who repeatedly addressed it in his speech.

“I may not look like Dr. King, but I believe like Dr. King,” he repeatedly told the crowd.

Stoker is a preacher’s kid, so public speaking may be part of the gene pool.

“He’s always had that personality, very similar to his dad,” his mother Megan Stoker told the Dallas Morning News. “He’s always enjoyed being with people and sharing a message of love — and we love and nurture that at home.”

Listen to his speech here.


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