Natalie Benoit’s 2017 MLK Assembly Speeches


(From left to right) Karen Kim, Henry Sternberg, Natalie Benoit, Julia Sidorsky, Marisa Tormo, Karen Minaya, Colin Hollis and Keira Collazo.

Natalie Benoit, Co-Editor

 At this year’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Assembly, student council president, Natalie Benoit, delivered the following speech.

What is a hero? A dictionary will define it as a person who is admired or idealized for  their courage, outstanding achievements, and noble qualities. When many of us think of the word “hero”, we envision soldiers, firefighters, doctors and even Superman. One of history’s greatest heroes is Martin Luther King Jr. A baptist minister and civil-rights activist, Martin Luther King believed in peaceful protests to send his message of social justice and race equality. Dr. King embodies all the characteristics a hero should possess. Overcoming the criticism and stigma of his time, MLK spoke openly of his beliefs and love for all races. His fight for civil rights among all races introduced a new era of equality, and an end to racial segregation. From physical beatings to jail time, Martin Luther King Jr. remained a hero for men and women across the country.

On January 16, we honor the efforts of Martin Luther King Jr. and the inspiration his words continue to instill within us all. During his speech in Selma, Alabama 1965, Dr. King proclaimed, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” With these words, let us live our lives honoring Martin Luther King’s dream. Dr. King believed that everyone’s voice mattered. That we could each be a hero with what we say and speak out on the things that matter to us. Be the voice when no one else will be. Be brave when no one else wants to be. And be a hero when no one else can be.” 

Natalie also wrote the following speech given by vice president Marisa Tormo, at NMHS’s 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Assembly:

“As students, we continue to learn and acknowledge Martin Luther King’s work as a civil-rights activist. We do this because it reminds us of the people we should all strive to be, a hero. Dr. King is a hero for many reasons. Among them is his success in finding a peaceful solution for the racial segregation present during his life. He promoted non-violent marches, boycotts and protests that resonate with us to this day.

In his historic, “I have a dream speech” Martin Luther King said, “We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.” Delivered in 1963 on the steps of the Washington D.C Lincoln Memorial, Dr. King shared his dream with thousands. These words empowered people to be a hero for their friends, parents and even children. The speech inspired citizens to remain true to the fight against segregation, but to always remain peaceful in those efforts. He was admired for his courage and that is something we should all strive for.

Within the past few months, we as a generation have seen moments unlike any other. More than ever, we are searching for heroes to look up to. This can change. We can be our own hero or a hero for someone else. To be a hero you do not need to jump in front of a bullet for someone, but you can be there to support someone who has no one else. Be the person willing to take an extra step to help people instead of just ignoring the issues in society we see every day. If we honor Martin Luther King’s dream of equality and kindness, then we can carry on his message of world love and justice. Our actions can help make the world a better place, a place filled with more heroes.”