"Debate is like a link to different places. Half my family didn’t graduate high school. I don’t want to take the easy way. I wanted to take the hard way.”
Rafael Bruno, NYUDL debater at Franklin K. Lane High School
Our Challenge: transforming toxic communities
Education is critical to breaking the cycle of poverty.
Millions of urban kids cannot read or articulate ideas. Half won't graduate from high school. They have lost hope before their time and will not be able to participate as informed citizens in our democracy. One method for teaching young people to articulate ideas was civics education in school which often included participation in debate clubs. The benefits of debate include skill development in critical thinking, public policy and values research, computer research proficiency, public speaking, advocacy, and conflict resolution. Dr. Larry Moss explains the toxic community and how debate can provide a way out:
More than most communities, the toxic community is an artful teacher. It teaches subliminally but profoundly. The toxic community provides context for one’s strivings. It defines the parameters of collective expectation. The toxic community is a place where basic social institutions such as the family, schools, churches, and government are not expected to work. The toxic community inflicts emotional damage and leaves internal scars even upon those residents who maintain an outward appearance of normalcy. And for every toxic community resident who finds a “way out”, that escaping resident is replaced by newer immigrants and a rapidly expanding impoverished youth population whose residential choices are limited to such toxic communities.
For many new urban debaters, the opportunities created by their mastery of policy debate represent a ticket out of the toxic community.
HELPFUL DEBATE LINKS DEBATE ORGANIZATIONS
National Debate Tournament American Communications Association
American Parliamentary Debate Association National Catholic Forensics League (CFL)
Brooklyn-Queens Catholic Forensics League National Forensics League (NFL)
SUMMER DEBATE INSTITUTES DEBATE HONOR SOCIETIES
Debate Delivers Dreams