Thank you to everyone who joined us for our spring fundraiser!
Thank you to our student presenters Alliton A. Flores Sánchez and Ruby Trejo Ontiveros from Mapleton Public Schools, Marianny Torres-Collado from West High School, and Isabella Long from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College.
Thanks to our special guest Jamol Simon.
Thank you to our event sponsors:
Crest Insurance Law & Consulting
Hank Provost & Lucas Colwell
Roberto & Theresa Corrada
Larry & Barbara Marquess
Alexander K. Obrecht
Newsweek hosted eight high school students from Denver, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C., on April 14 at its global headquarters at One World Trade Center in New York City as part of the publication's partnership with the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues (NAUDL).
Mightier, as the debate-focused initiative has been named, is the latest part of Newsweek's ongoing mission to find areas of agreement within divisive issues and provide spaces for open and honest discourse.
Rhonda Haynes, executive director for NAUDL, noted the significance of the partnership for both organizations, saying it represents "the power of longevity as well as the promise of young perspective in debate."
"These high school students have demonstrated their passion for the exchange of ideas. They see—and remind us of—the power of debate, and the crucial role it plays in encouraging those around us to seek common ground," Newsweek Global Editor-in-Chief Nancy Cooper said about the partnership.
After a visit to the New York International Auto Show, students met with Newsweek staff and executives and toured the One World Trade Center office before participating in a live debate showcase.
The students who took part in the debate were selected based on skills demonstrated while participating in NAUDL's signature debate series, I RESOLVE. The debate topics included immigration, artificial intelligence in the workplace, climate optimism and affirmative action.
While less formal than other Urban Debate events, the evening's activities allowed students time to posit constructive arguments, cross examine each other and provide rebuttal statements.
Alongside the students debating, Newsweek and NAUDL executives addressed the crowd to share their excitement around the new collaboration.
"We live in a polarized country," said Tom Rogers, editor-at-large for Newsweek. "And there is no cure for that other than to expose people to both sides of controversial issues of public importance, and debate certainly does it."
Newsweek Global Chief Commercial and Growth Officer Kevin Gentzel highlighted the skills that organized debate equips students with in preparation for higher education and beyond.
"This ability to share with others in a way they will not only understand but perhaps then implement is a gift," he said. "And it is a gift that will serve you well, I promise you."
NAUDL, founded in 2004, backs more than 20 organizations across the country—predominantly focusing on underserved communities—to help foster "critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills," according to its website.
Along with their visit to the Big Apple, the students will also appear in various episodes of Newsweek's The Debate podcast and will be featured on the Mightier digital content hub, which centers on youth debate.
By Jack Haley - originally published here
High Schoolers Will Hold a Live Debate at the World Trade Center Headquarters in New York City and Record Special Podcast Miniseries
DENVER, CO (April 13, 2023) – Four Colorado high schoolers and Denver Urban Debate League students will enjoy a unique educational opportunity this weekend in New York City as participants in a live debate hosted by Newsweek and the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues.
Alliton A. Flores Sánchez and Ruby Trejo Ontiveros from Mapleton Public Schools, Marianny Torres-Collado from West High School, and Isabella Long from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Early College were chosen as part of a select group of debaters from just three locations across the entire country. They will be joined and supported in New York City by their coaches Josh Hirsch and Rachel Bruce.
“We are so proud of and excited for our students who were selected, and for the educators who have helped shape them into some of the top high school debaters in the country,” said Jessica Clark, Executive Director of the Denver Urban Debate League. “Their selection is a testament to their skill, their commitment, and to the work of urban debate leagues like ours to bring these valuable educational opportunities to all young people.”
The Denver Urban Debate League (DUDL) provides fully funded competitive speech and debate opportunities for students in Denver, Aurora, and Mapleton Public Schools. With a focus on equity and full inclusion for young people from historically marginalized communities, DUDL promotes the power of speech and debate to elevate learning, literacy, and life skills which prepare youth to succeed in the information age.
The Denver Urban Debate League is part of the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues (NAUDL), which is partnering with histoic media organization Newsweek on this new initiative to foster civil discourse among today’s youth.
The joint initiative, called Mightier, will celebrate the adage “the pen is mightier than the sword,” beginning with a live debate on April 14 at Newsweek’s World Trade Center headquarters. In front of an audience of Newsweek journalists and executives, high school debaters from Washington, D.C., Denver, and Silicon Valley will share their perspectives on a number of issues, including affirmative action, the use of artificial intelligence in the workplace, immigration and climate optimism. These students were selected because of their skill and participation in NAUDL’s signature public debate series, I RESOLVE.
In conjunction with the live event, the students will also appear on Newsweek’s popular podcast The Debate. Those special episodes will be featured on the new Mightier digital content hub, which will be dedicated to youth-led discourse on the most important subjects of the day.
“The National Association for Urban Debate Leagues’ I RESOLVE series offers a unique format that highlights the power of high school debate—and student voice—in addressing pressing policy issues before a public audience. Participating students have tested their well-researched solutions before panels of civic and community leaders who make these tough policy decisions and are thrilled to bring what they’ve learned to Newsweek’s national audience,” said Rhonda Haynes, the Executive Director of NAUDL.
The Mightier content hub will launch on April 20 and be introduced to Newsweek’s audience of 50 million monthly unique viewers.
Founded in 2008, the Denver Urban Debate League offers competitive speech and debate programs that break barriers for underserved students by enriching educational and personal outcomes for students of color and low-income students. DUDL exists to ensure students graduate from and excel in high school and beyond, and DUDL students become active and engaged citizens who are well versed in issues of equity and public policy, equipped to interact critically with the world around them, make a difference in their communities, and add more diverse voices to our civil discourse.
The National Association for Urban Debate Leagues works with 22 partner leagues, serving over 7,000 students in more than 500 schools across the country, each year to provide debate programming that ensures students graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college and their careers. We envision the opportunity for every teen to succeed, lead, and contribute to their communities.
The I RESOLVE Public Debate Series is made possible by the support of generous members in the philanthropic community, with particular recognition to Event Sponsors Liz and Randal Sandler.
Newsweek is the modern global digital news organization built around the iconic, 90-year-old American magazine. Newsweek reaches 50 million people each month with its thought-provoking news, opinion, images, graphics and video delivered across a dozen print and digital platforms. Headquartered in New York City, Newsweek also publishes international editions in EMEA and Asia.
Executive Director, Denver Urban Debate League
303-871-6575 | 720-878-2776
LBG Public Relations for Newsweek
Remote Learning is a new challenge for an already overworked profession. It has become the job of a teacher to create and implement meaningful and engaging lessons through online means. As teachers, we know the importance and need to borrow from each other’s practice to help enhance our own; below are some programs/web services that I have been utilizing that have helped me manage my content and my students during online learning.
1. Google Suite of Programs (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Classroom, Meets, etc.):
During online learning, there is an increased need for organization and ease of access. Students will disengage with a class that they have trouble accessing easily. Establishing a clear routine and a defined location for assignments and links to other material is key in maintaining student focus and engagement. Google Classroom is a great system to use that will help you organize and post your material so that your students have easy access to everything they will need.
Another great Google Tool is the recording function available in Google Meets. I host my synchronous learning through Google Meets and use the record function to capture my lessons and then post the videos to my Classroom website. This creates a great and easy-to-use resource for my students to visit when they need some extra clarification and help.
2. Pear Deck: This is a great resource that allows teachers to program interactive questions and slides into their Google Slideshows. By making slides interactive, student engagement is easier to establish and maintain during synchronous instruction. Pear Deck will also automatically report out all student responses from class, helping teachers see exactly where the misconceptions may exist in the understanding of their students. It can also help teachers identify which students are actively engaged and which students are focused on something else.
3. FlipGrid: This is a website designed to record student/teacher videos and then provide a gallery where students can watch each other’s videos and leave comments. This is a great way to set up a safe discussion where students can feel comfortable expressing their opinions and seeing other opinions being presented. I know several teachers who use FlipGrid as an alternative form of a Gallery Walk or even a format for class discussions/debates.
On Sunday, July 7th, Jayla Hemphill delivered the following address:
Good morning, my name is Jayla and I’ll be a senior at Northfield High School this coming school year. First and foremost, I see/I’m sure that I share the feeling of gratitude with many people in the room for the diverse group of people here today, all under one cause. Thank you all for being here, and more importantly, writing history with your black peers and myself.
I haven’t commented much on the recent events in the United States, I didn’t have the words until today, at 3 in the morning to be exact. I want you all to know and understand that #BlackLivesMatter does not begin nor does it end with George Floyd. As we attempt to form alliances, understand that this is a process that must continue after Derek Chauvin is convicted of second degree murder. It does not begin or end with #BlackOutTuesday, because this is beyond social expectation, this is a moral obligation.
I encourage you all to march, sign petitions, and donate if you are able, though I’m sure you’ve heard that many times recently, so I’d like to make this clear: black lives can not only matter when a black man is brutally deprived of his, or when the movement is trending on social media. Black lives matter in the classroom when your black peers speak, they matter in politics when your black candidates campaign, they matter when microaggressions are imposed on those around us, but go unaddressed, and they matter especially when black culture is reduced to being socially unacceptable, or “ghetto.”
And so, when you chant “No justice, no peace,” remember that justice is not only practiced through court, and remember that George Floyd was murdered in cold blood, while three of his co-workers stood idly by, and were so quick to accept it. Simply being a bystander can be a horrific thing, can’t it? I assure you all that microaggressions and social ostracization occurs every single day in forms that we may not recognize, it’s a form of ignorance that exists in all of us. I only have a few minutes up here, but that’s enough for me if the audience can learn to question it all; why are all of the black children sitting in the back? Is it “ghetto” or is it the formation of a culture that was taken away? Was a check worth George Floyd’s life? And lastly, how can I ensure that black lives matter in every part of government, every classroom, and every walk of life?
More than 80% of teachers in Denver Public Schools are white, but a white teacher cannot teach me about my history, a white teacher cannot teach me about the color of my skin. We need more teachers of color, we need non-white students to attend college, because most of DPS isn’t white. It is the right of every student, especially black students, to have teachers that look like them.
MLK Alum Christina Damon speaks at Black Lives Matter Protest. Transcript below:
Hi everyone! Thank you Quincy for sharing your platform with me. I was talking to my grandfather before I came out to protest today and he said, “you know Christina, when the protests first started, I really thought they were going to only last a day”. I didn’t think people were going to keep it moving and I remember as a child my mom shielding my face from white people in Texas. And to see young white people protesting and saying that Black Lives Matter and trying to figure out how you can help us dismantle systems of oppression brought a tear to his eye, and it carries a lot of weight, so thank you.
I wanted to talk about how in our schools right now, Black boys are 4X more likely to receive disciplinary action than anyone else in their school. Many teachers don’t see themselves as bad teachers. You know, we can all think of that teacher from our youth and think “dang I didn’t like that teacher”, but you cannot consider yourself a good teacher unless you start vocalizing and supporting rights for your Black students. When you see your colleagues sending students out of their classroom for undetermined amounts of time, when you see your colleagues drawing on a student’s face, (these are real stories) when you see your colleagues; instead of leaning in during equity meetings, texting their fellow teachers about where they want to eat for lunch, that undermines the work we’re doing and it is an ultimate sign of privilege to be able to opt out when it becomes uncomfortable for you.
The best thing you can do to support us is we need to you do this emotional and intellectual labor. It is very taxing for your Black teachers and Black colleagues at work or your Black friends or the Black people you care about to have to constantly call out violations and then choose the words to be able to explain that violation constantly, constantly, so what I ask of you is in addition to what we see here, which is a huge display of support is when you see your colleagues, friends or family doing things trying to undermine the work we are trying to do you need to call it out.
I just want to say thank you again, I am very proud of what we’ve seen tonight. I’m proud to be surrounded by other Black educators and activists. Black thoughts matter. Black leadership matters, we just saw a state senator pepper sprayed and arrested in New York because they did not know he was an authority figure out there. We just ask again that you hold each other accountable, and verbalize your support and check people, that is the best way, in my opinion, to see that you are really embodying this idea that my life matters, and my family’s lives matter, and your friends’ and colleagues’ lives matter who you care about. Thank you.
The Denver Urban Debate League (DUDL) stands in solidarity with the Black community and allies of the Black community in condemning the continued oppression and persecution of Black bodies and Black voices in this country demonstrated by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmed Arbery, Marvin Booker and countless other people of color who have lost their lives at the hands of racist law enforcement officers. We share the pain our students, teachers and colleagues are feeling right now as a result of the harsh reality of racial injustice and undue persecution.
We support those working for equity and justice and continue to believe in the power of amplifying voices and open dialogue in achieving sustained change. We commend our coaches, supporters and students, like DUDL alum Denver School Board Director Tay Anderson, who are raising their voices for justice and assembling in non-violent protest in honor of George Floyd and all Black lives. We stand for an equal, just society with freedom from fear and hatred. At the core of the Denver Urban Debate League’s values and mission is advancing educational equity in our community, so that young people of color have access to the tools they need to advocate for change and engage with questions of public policy. We believe that the skills fostered by speech and debate competition are critical skills, necessary for young leaders to effectively dismantle institutional racism and injustice.
This fall when students return to speech and debate competition, whether it be online or in person, they will join students all over the country debating the topic of criminal justice reform. If you would like to get involved and listen to what our students have to say please email DUDLVolunteers@gmail.com. If you would like to learn more about our programs and ways you can support our students please visit www.DenverDebate.org.
We hope you will all stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter at this historic turning point in our country’s history. As State Representative Leslie Herod said this week,
“We are tired. We are angry. We are rising.”
Let us all rise together to declare Black Lives Matter and work for effective and meaningful change.
Calling all DUDL Students! We are looking for submissions in POETRY, ORATORY, and DRAMA to compete in the 2020 Virtual City Championships! The winners will be announced on May 28th during the Virtual Student Achievement Celebration. For information on how to compete, look under the For Students tab. Submissions are due by May 23rd. Good luck!
After years of advocating and then judging pandemic disaster scenarios in policy debate rounds, it is now time to find out what I really believe and how I act in the face of an actual pandemic.
There are variations in people's approaches to determine how much harm is coming from coronavirus and its illness, COVID-19.
- Some describe the problem by the numbers of cases and deaths at his moment. I dismissed those numbers as unimportant, as they were transient and did not reflect the extent of likely harm.
- Doctors record the cases they see and public health officials aggregate them. Often, the numbers are compared to previous numbers or with current numbers for other illnesses, and changes create a trend of what to expect. I pay lots of attention to these numbers and trends.
- Epidemiologists look at what is known about existing cases and deaths, then use algorithms and models to estimate what the harm could be. Assumptions about existing numbers of cases, small variations in rates of transmission, and differences in severity of harm or death produce vastly different outcomes. I found opinions on US deaths ranging from 80,000 to more than 2 million. While I could pick one which agreed with my level of alarm or serves to advocate a sense of harm, I do not have enough expertise to make a meaningful choice.
Knowing about the potential harm, what choices do I make? Thankfully, I'm not making governmental choices. I can focus on personal decisions based on my privileged position.
- Do I continue doing my usual activities or stop them in order to isolate? I have good health and adequate insurance, so I still interact with friends and neighbors. I am conscious of their risks for exposure and choose a physical distance based on my (and their) sense of threat. When there is a government mandate, I (mostly) follow the law.
- Do I continue to spend money as usual? Should I change my investments? I'm retired, so don't rely on a job's income (a good thing, as my former company announced another round of lay-offs). I am more cautious, but have not chosen “only absolute essentials.” I made a few changes to have more cash available, but did not sell or reallocate assets. Unlike some of my relatives and friends, I was not certain enough about impacts of this crisis to change long-term strategies in an effort to avoid losses or make a profit.
It is hard to say if those are the best choices – but they emerge from my background in debate, assessing harms and considering policy choices. Here's hoping you are learning from your DUDL experience to make the best choices for you.
We would like to extend our gratitude to those who are on the frontlines keeping us all healthy and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are also thankful for our state and community leaders who have responded to this situation thoughtfully and swiftly, and to all of the educators who have worked quickly to transition to online learning modes and prepared take-home lessons for students to keep them academically engaged during the school closures that have been put in place.
Last Friday, in alignment with our partner organizations, and in the best interest of our students and the Denver community, we decided to postpone the City Championships sponsored by the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association and the Student Celebration Dinner/ Breaking Barriers: A Fundraising Soiree to the weekend of May 22-23, 2020. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you updated, but we hope you all will save these dates for the tournament, dinner, and fundraiser.
To our supporters who have purchased tables or tickets for Breaking Barriers, we hope you will still join us on May 23, 2020 for this event which is our most important fundraiser of the year. For those who already signed up to volunteer, or were planning to volunteer, at the City Championships, we hope you will still be able to volunteer on May 22-23. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to update availability.
The DUDL Office at the University of Denver is currently closed, but DUDL staff are working remotely and available by email to answer any questions you have. Please contact Executive Director Jessica Clark at JessicaClark@UrbanDebate.org with questions, concerns, or suggestions. The League very much appreciates your continued support during these times which are most trying for everyone.
Wishing you all good health,
The Denver Urban Debate League