Boston Debate League

Revisiting the Race, Equity, and Policy Series

March 3, 2022 | By Jackney Joseph and Sayyida Jean-Charles

If I want to see a change, I have to be the change.

In case you missed it, the BDL dedicated this year’s Black History Month to honoring Black Orators. Each orator featured — from Congressman John Lewis to National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman — has demonstrated how argumentation and the spoken word can promote and create change. We were especially thrilled to be able to recognize Black history in the making with the nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman nominated to the Supreme Court. We were doubly excited because she is a former debater who has said that debate “without hesitation was the one activity that best prepared me for future success in law and in life.”

Though #BlackHistoryMonth has come to a close, we continue to highlight local Black and brown leaders who are shedding light on issues affecting Black and brown communities in Boston through the Race, Equity, and Policy Series. The REP Series is a set of dialogues and learning opportunities for students and the broader community that examine the annual national debate topic through the lens of race, equity and the impacts of policy.

The 2020-2021 Race, Equity and Policy series featured conversations with community leaders who discussed the multiple facets of criminal justice reform such as policing and the aftermath of mass incarceration. The discussions featured panelists like former Boston City Councilor Andrea Campbell, Executive Director of Lawyers for Civil Rights Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, Director of Re-Entry at the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security True-See Allah and BDL Alum and activist Phebean Ogunsanwo.

The 2020-2021 Race, Equity, and Policy Series featured 5 virtual community forums and a virtual half-day conference where we facilitated conversations with experts and hosted keynote speakers to discuss criminal justice.