Last Friday, NYCUDL debaters, Didi Barry and Theo Puccio (Brooklyn Tech) made it to FINALS of the Wake Forest Summer Debate Camp tournament along with Ariana Collazo and Ousaf Moqeet, UDL debaters from Lane Tech High School in Chicago. Go UDL debate! The four spent the last month at the Wake Forest campus in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with Dr. Shanara Reid-Brinkley and Daryl Burch researching the policy topic for this season: education reform. The Race Kritikal Scholars lab read literature by Christina Sharpe, Michael Dumas and Bell Hooks, amongst others, and focused on creating affirmative and negative strategies based off of their identities and issues they cared deeply about. Leading up to finals, both Didi and Theo and Ariana and Ousaf spent their summer working hard doing practice rounds, rebuttal redoes, researching arguments and prepping 2AC blocks and negative strategies. There were six preliminary rounds and the four then debated in partial octofinals, quarterfinals and semifinals before reaching the final round. Both teams emerged from prelims with winning records and Ariana and Ousaf won speaker awards at the end of the tournament.
When it came time to debate finals, the four debaters made a bold move and decided that instead of debating, the camp’s time would be better spent having an in depth discussion regarding the future of black kritikal debate and the role that framework played in that. In Ousaf’s words, “we wanted to do something bigger than competition and winning.” Framework is seen by many as an attempt to silence black debaters in their attempts to bring their narratives and identity into the debate space but many framework debaters don’t see it as that. A room full of debaters from both sides of the debate was the perfect way to end the camp experience and fostered a meaningful dialogue between framework and critical debaters.
The hard work exhibited by the Brooklyn Tech and Lane Tech debaters was admirable and giving up debating in finals was a very big move that facilitated an important discussion that they hope continues to happen within the policy debate community.
by Lily Rubinstein, Senior, Brooklyn Tech High School