A Newark Charter Junior High student won this year’s MLK Voice 4 Youth competition.
Eighth-grader Ayomikun Adeojo took home $2,300 for his first-place finish.
“This event has given me opportunities that I’ve never had before,” Abeojo said. “It has opened my love for public speaking and has brought joy to my life.”
The competition’s cash prize is not what drove him to compete, he said, but rather the passion of spreading the word and truth to the youth and the world.
The annual statewide spoken-word competition was held Sunday at the baby grand in Wilmington to honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Now in its eighth year, the event featured seven contestants who used Dr. King’s message of hope and change to creatively express their views on current issues and share how his legacy speaks to them today.
In addition to live audience members, people from Ghana, Nigeria, Canada, the United Kingdom, Guyana, Panama, Sweden, South Korea and New Zealand tuned in virtually.
This was the first year the contest was open to junior high students, with the top scorer from that group getting $250.
Adeojo swept the board with his piece, “Keep Moving.”
Here is an excerpt:
“You can’t do this, you can’t do that. Oh, you’ll never be able to do this, and it’s impossible to do that. That’s just a fraction of what we hear from some of the people we love, or hate and even the people we know or don’t know because there will always be people wishing for your downfall.
“You see, I like to think that me and Martin Luther King are some-what alike. We are both strong black men; we stand for what’s right, we are headstrong and we don’t stop until we get what we desire. This means Dr. King and I never give up and never let the oppressors and bullies puncture and tear through our skin like flesh eating lions feasting on their prey. In other words, as a young black man I’ve learned to stand up for what I believe in no matter what the consequence is. Even if my voice starts out as just a whisper.”
Boluwatife Aminu, a senior at MOT Charter High School, took home $1,000 with her second-place finish, and Iveena Mukherjee, a junior at the Charter School of Wilmington, earned $500 after finishing third.
New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer gave $50 gift cards to all seven participants.
To view the MLK Voice 4 Youth finals visit, click here. Ayomikun Adeojo’s performance starts at 54:27.
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
Jarek can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at (215) 450-9982. Follow him on Twitter @jarekrutz
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