Skip To Main Content

OUSD MLK Oratorical

OUSD Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Oratorical Fest Begins Soon

Oakland’s legendary Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Oratorical Fest, featured in the HBO EMMY award-winning documentary, WE ARE THE DREAM: The kids of the Oakland MLK, Oratorical now streaming on HBOMax and Apple Prime, has been one of the most popular district wide events in OUSD for more than four decades, and it is drawing near again. So, students, write those speeches, poems, spoken word pieces, monologues, and scenes or find one that speaks to your heart. Start rehearsing using the judges scoring sheet because it’s almost time for the Annual OUSD Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Oratorical Fest happening in February 2024.

VIP Shoutouts

Mahershala Ali, Executive Producer

WE ARE THE DREAM: The Oakland Kids of the MLK Oratorical

Mayor, Sheng Thao, City of Oakland

2024 Theme

“Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. Indeed, it is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the wo/man who wields it.”

(Ennobles: verb - to make noble, honorable, or excellent; dignify; exalt)

The Challenge is to Practice NonViolence: 64 Ways/Days to Practice NonViolence.

Theme Context: Excerpt from…

Martin Luther King Jr. Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1964

The Quest for Peace and Justice

Learn More

In a real sense nonviolence seeks to redeem the spiritual and moral lag that I spoke of earlier as the chief dilemma of modern man. It seeks to secure moral ends through moral means. Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. Indeed, it is a weapon unique in history, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it.

I believe in this method because I think it is the only way to reestablish a broken community. It is the method which seeks to implement the just law by appealing to the conscience of the great decent majority who through blindness, fear, pride, and irrationality have allowed their consciences to sleep.

The nonviolent resisters can summarize their message in the following simple terms: we will take direct action against injustice despite the failure of governmental and other official agencies to act first. We will not obey unjust laws or submit to unjust practices. We will do this peacefully, openly, cheerfully because our aim is to persuade. We adopt the means of nonviolence because our end is a community at peace with itself. We will try to persuade with our words, but if our words fail, we will try to persuade with our acts. We will always be willing to talk and seek fair compromise, but we are ready to suffer when necessary and even risk our lives to become witnesses to truth as we see it.

Dara Sanderson, CEO

2023 Sponsor

Kyla Johnson-Trammell, OUSD Superintendent

2024 Timeline

2024 MLK Oratorical Winners Shout Out!


Confirmation Google Form


Sunday, February 25, 2024
12:15 pm Doors Open
1:00pm - 3:30pm

Skyline High School Theatre

All 1st place performers are invited to perform by category/grade levels:

  • Speeches
  • Poetry
  • Monologues
  • Scenes

**Medals: March delivery to schools (Date: TBD)

School Oratorical

January 17, 2024 – February 6, 2024
School Choice: Live or Virtual

District-Wide Registration

Registration Link


February 1 – February 4 (hard deadline)


February 1 – February 6 (hard deadline)

District-Wide Competition

Skyline High School
12250 Skyline Blvd.

9:30am - 12:30pm

Tuesday, February 6, Secondary 
Welcome/Check-in: Performing Arts Building, Ms Awele's Rm, M2

Tuesday, February 13, Elementary A-K
Welcome/Check-in: Skyline Theatre

Wednesday, February 14, Elementary L-Z
Welcome/Check-in: Skyline Theatre

HBO, EMMY, Outstanding Children's Program
WE ARE THE DREAM: The Kids of the MLK Oratorical Fest

Streaming Now: Max and Amazon Prime

We Are The Dream video thumbnail

2022 MLK Oratorical

For Decades, an Annual Competition Has Challenged Students to Deliver Speeches Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. Here's Why It's Still Going Strong

>>Read More

Useful Documents and Links

Judges Score Sheet

2024 Registration

Live on January 17

Divisions & Categories

Contact Information


Awele (ah WAY lay) Makeba

Executive Producer, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Oratorical Fest

Cell: (510) 601-0178