New York City Urban Debate League

Closing the civic achievement gap

“[The] NYC Urban Debate League” provides “a vision of what “democracy in action” for underserved youth might look like. Such democracy skill-building experiences can empower youth to become engaged learners and participating citizens.”  “Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.” – President Obama, https://www.whitehouse.gov/mediaresources/PreparedSchoolRemarks.  Debaters are more likely to vote, volunteer for a campaign, or run for office. This list includes over a dozen Presidents, the majority of Supreme Court Justices (including the first hispanic Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor, first female Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, first African American Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall), governors, mayors, civil rights leaders, social and community activists.  A survey by the National Speech and Debate Association shows that 64% of the Members of the United States Congress competed in debate or speech in school. 

– Institute of Out of School Time“New York City Urban Debate League: Investigating Youth’s Experiences in a ‘Democracy in Action’ Afterschool Program,” by Dr. Georgia Hall, Senior Research Scientist of the National Institute on Out-of-School Time