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Here are the winners of the CNMI's first annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Essay and Elocution Contest .

Submitted by: Jo Micah Cabrera

7th Grade

Grace Christian Academy, Saipan


Just before I wrote this essay, I had no idea what to write. Maybe before I just wanted to get a prize and have the opportunity to eat with the governor. It would be a great opportunity to. But I had a feeling that there was more to this than just getting the prize. To tell you the truth, I really didn’t know the true story of Martin Luther King, Jr. I wasn’t really interested. You can say that I was pretty much like a lazy bum. I needed to do this since I joined this contest. So then I started researching about Martin Luther King. Once I learned about his life and all that he went through, I had no idea how much he changed the world. I always thought that he just went up to an altar and say his dreams. Now I know how much he changed the world and how he made color and race didn’t matter. His life touched me and I learned now that even though the world might see someone as an unimportant person, that one person might even change the world.

Hello reader. My name is Jo Micah Cabrera. I am 12 years old and in the 7th grade. I am a strong faithful believer of Jesus Christ. Today, I will be talking to you about this very important question, “Has Martin Luther King’s dream for a better society affected us here in the CNMI?” To me, I think that he really did change us in the CNMI and the world.

Without him, African American’s wouldn’t have any rights.

Without him, we would be treated differently with other people.

Without him, we wouldn’t always love the people who hurt us.

Without him, some of us in the CNMI would hate each other.

Without him, we would always be judged by different races of man.

Without him, people all over CNMI wouldn’t have faith in having peace.

Without him, people all over CNMI, and all over the world, wouldn’t be free.

Martin Luther King changed everyone in an unexplainable way. He moved me and made me believe that God will always make a change in the world. He made me believe that everyone should be treated the same way. God made us equally, for us to love one another. I know how it feels to be treated differently. I’m not that great at any sport. I really wasn’t good at basketball. But I loved playing that sport. When I was 9, people used to pick me last to be in their team in playing. And they didn’t always pass the ball to me. I wasn’t important. People used to call me “useless” and I felt like I had no purpose to be in the court. After years of practice and training, I really improved. I can finally play well (I think. Ha-ha) and I also actually made it to the current basket ball team at our school! And now I showed them that I’m not “useless” anymore.

Everyone’s voice should be heard all over the world. Martin Luther King’s voice was heard like shouting to us. It shook me out of treating other people differently. As for his dreams, I have dreams of my own. I dream of peace. I dream of equality. I dream of love. I importantly dream of .faith, Faith all over CNMI. That maybe everyone will have faith that all our problems may go away right now. That maybe we’ll the economy might be good again. That maybe drugs will stop being taken in the CNMI so that there will be no more cancer killing. That maybe everyone would stop hating each other. And that maybe we’ll have the strongest faith that everyone can all believe in the one true God, Jesus Christ.

I know that it’s hard these days in the CNMI, All the garment factories closing, most employees losing their jobs, the government running out of money, and all those depressing times. But like Martin Luther King, I believe that everyone should have faith in being free of these problems.

I know that there are many other people in The CNMI that believe what I believe. That we will get pass this and hope for a better future.

I was crushed when I found out that he was assassinated from a protest march from his balcony of his hotel room. He was only 39 years old. Tears were rolling down my eyes when I was informed of this. I thought that those people would be grateful of what he did for everyone in the world. But I now believe that I should keep these dreams in my heart. I know that he is in heaven now watching us.

I believe that CNMI is a changed place because of him. Every single one of us in the CNMI knows that God will help us through any problem if we believe. I am very grateful for the extravagant changes Martin Luther King did for us. I might not win for this but it doesn’t matter. I really don’t regret doing this essay. I just had this great feeling inside of me that I should let you know how he really changed me. How he changed the CNMI. How he changed the whole world. I will live my life like he wanted everyone else to live. I will stand up for what I believe in. And maybe someday, everyone will have peace with each other.

Before I close this, I just want to thank you for your time reading this. May God bless you and I hope you live life to your fullest. I hope that you can feel what I feel now, thankful and faithful. And may we celebrate in thanks of Martin Luther King Jr., in Martin Luther King Day. As he said, and is my new favorite saying,

“Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!” -Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)

Has Martin Luther King Junior’s dream of a better society been fulfilled in the CNMI?


In certain ways yes, but in others not at all.

Martin Luther King’s dream was to put an absolute end to racism, to totally abolish bigotry and societal ranking based on color. Now think, has this happened in our Commonwealth? Are all people really treated equally? No, they are not, Chinese and Filipinos in particular are still generally considered to be lower class than the other inhabitants of the islands. Why? Because, these are the races that are generally associated with the Commonwealth’s garment factories and jobs of servitude. This is understandable, considering that the majority of resident garment workers and maids are of these cultural backgrounds, while other ethnic groups monopolize business and trade. Of course, judging a person based on their social status is as immoral and unfair as judging them for their race, and yet both still happen today.

The United States has time and time again been called the “melting pot” of the world because people from many different cultures settle there and become as one. The CNMI, Saipan especially, is the same melting pot of cultures and peoples from around the world, only on a smaller scale. I personally know people from across the globe, from Russia, China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, the United States, Mexico, Sweden, Colombia, Peru, Canada, Palau, Australia, Chamorro, Carolinian and more, all residing in Saipan. With all of these ethnicities coming together, it is barely possible not to have some amount of racism among them. Ours is still a time of competition and egoism, of people believing that theirs is a superior people. Fortunately, these ideas have been waning away over the past decades, and with every new generation there are fewer and fewer who put faith in them. Because of Martin Luther King’s moral leadership, integration and better race relations have become a reality in the United States as well as in the CNMI.

So how do we avoid such almost involuntary discrimination? The truth is, we can’t. It is next to impossible to wipe out prejudice completely, because there will always be someone who doesn’t believe that everyone is equal. But what we can do is what is already happening, to teach of the dangers of racial discrimination and lead by example. When people see that everyone is the same, they will treat everyone the same.

Then again, Martin Luther King Jr. dreamt of a society in which there is no segregation, and people do not openly judge others based on their color. In this way, his wish is granted. People in the CNMI don’t go to a person’s house and burn a cross in their yard, or dump food on them when they sit in a restaurant. Diversity is evident in all places, businesses and schools and stores. We live together peacefully, and in that respect Mr. King’s dream has been fulfilled.

As in almost all modern societies, there is little racial prejudice in the CNMI. Of course, there is always room for improvement, and it is likely that there always will be. Martin Luther King Jr.’s words and dreams have had a large impact on lives and lifestyles everywhere and for all people, including we who live in the Commonwealth, but they are somewhat idealistic. Until every person is equal, there will always be some sort of prejudice; that cannot be helped.

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