Kay Wilkinson - 2018 Black Tie Dinner Kuchling Humanitarian Award Speech

On November 3, 2018, Kay Wilkinson received the Kuchling Humanitarian Award from the Black Tie Dinner, annually the largest annual fundraising event in the City of Dallas. The following is the written text of her acceptance speech that evening before an audience of 3,000 guests.

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First let me thank this Black Tie Dinner board for all the work, energy and effort that brings us together this evening! I applaud all Black Tie Dinner board members for the last 38 Years!    We are having a great time, but remember that we are helping to raise money to do good in our own community and far beyond.

I also want to pay honor and respect to all the Kuchling Award Winners who preceded me.  They are the heroes in my life. They are my mentors, my guides, my examples, my teachers, the people who helped me become comfortable in my own skin and the people who gave me courage to be myself … Open, Out, and Proud. They are my friends.

The Dallas/Fort Worth and greater North Texas Community is so special.  The secret to us is that we STAND TOGETHER in all things ...MEN and WOMEN together. Other cities are a little more segregated, but not us.  We are unique. We gain power in our union.  We love, admire, respect and enjoy working together for the common good.  We can argue and disagree, but we always find common purpose.  We get so much accomplished by joining forces, talents and energy.  We are activists and can ACT OUT with the best in the nation. We know how to March!  We can certainly organize a parade!  We know how to raise money together for any cause we deem important.  We are business people and work in every profession you can imagine. We are the best volunteers! We are the leaders! 

We are elected officials (and soon there will be more of us!)   I am so proud of the people in this room who are running for office! They are the BEST of us.  We must work hard to get everyone we can to VOTE this Tuesday.  It is the MOST important Election of my lifetime.  The kids in my life will tell you that I always say that, but I always mean it, and I mean it now.  VOTE!  

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Anyone who knows me knows that I am a bra-burning woman’s rights activist from the 70s!  I was working for ERA (the Equal Rights Amendment) back when Elizabeth Doyle and Kay Baily Hutchison were PRO CHOICE! 

Be Honest!  We all know that if men had children, there would be birth control in the water and you would literally have to stop drinking water to get pregnant.  We would be able to buy the morning after pill like it was gum!

Women deserve the right to control their own body and make decisions for their own health concerns.   But, if we are honest . . . it is 2018 and we should NOT be having this discussion at all! We all had biology in school.  In this age of technology, we can google and see a UTUBE video on how we get pregnant and more importantly how NOT to get pregnant.  


Ann Richards told us in this very room that “If we lose our rights, all the MONEY in the WORLD would not help us!”  I hear her voice in my head and I quote her often.  She is talking to us again today.  We cannot lose our rights! We must insist on Full Equity and Protection Under the Law.  All men are created equal.   It is a time for us to stand up for Good and against Bullies.  It is a Time to STAND UP for EACH OTHER. 

I want to encourage you to look around everywhere in your life.  Open your eyes and your awareness to those around you and in your path. What can you do to make a difference and to be a force for Good? Find places to give little, random acts of kindness that you can share to make a difference for someone else less fortunate.   There are so many worthy places close to you where you can give some time and volunteer on a regular basis!  I promise you that you will get more from your time of service than you give. 

None of us can save the whole world, but all of us can help others and make a difference for some — or at least for ONE.

Look around.  Even a smile; some extra groceries; some school supplies or a pair of tennis shoes can make a difference to a child or a family.  I know because there was a time when I was one such little girl.  Receiving this award makes me want to be a better person and to do more while I can to earn the honor.  I hope to be worthy and to make you proud.

I leave you with these words of wisdom.  At 63, I assure you that youth is precious and that time does, in fact, fly. Time is so rich, so make the most of it.  Be the best person you can be. Live in the MOMENT and enjoy today!  Find your passion and go for it.  Find the precious gift, and the lesson, in everything you do, even on your worst day. If you get a little down, stop and find someone in greater need and help them.  I promise you that it will get you out of your head … out of your mood … and make you feel so much better!

LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE! Have a great time tonight! Be Safe! God bless you! God bless us all.

Kay Wilkinson, hosting one of many fundraising events in her beautiful home.

Kay Wilkinson, hosting one of many fundraising events in her beautiful home.