“All I wish for is a world that equals peace. No racism, no killing, no abuse. Just peace. So instead of waiting for it, let’s create it.” That powerful call to action comes from Priscilia Nsau, a student at Lowell Elementary School.

Priscilia was one of the winners of We Energies’ annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Speech Contest. For the past 39 years, the company has encouraged students across Milwaukee to carry on Dr. King’s legacy.

This year, students from kindergarten through 12th grade were asked to write a speech using the theme “Working toward a world of peace,” inspired by remarks by Dr. King.

He said, “There is no easy way to create a world where men and women can live together, where each has his own job and home and where all children receive as much education as their minds can absorb. … It will be done by rejecting racism, materialism and violence … and especially by working toward a world of brotherhood, cooperation and peace.”

All of the students delivered their original speeches in front of friends, family and a panel of judges at the We Energies auditorium in December.

From there, six first-place recipients were chosen to deliver their speeches at the Citywide Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. The first-, second- and third-place winners also were honored at halftime at the Milwaukee Bucks game on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

All of the students in this year’s speech contest offered unique solutions to find peace, focusing on everything from bullying and discrimination to reckless driving and gun violence. But everyone agreed that even small actions can make a big difference.

Take it from Craig Montessori School student Grace Wierer: “When you’re out and about, say good morning and always use nice words, too. Because if you bring peace, then others will follow.”