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First-ever Black girl duo wins Harvard’s international debate competition


Harvard Diversity Project


For the fourth year straight, the Harvard University debate team has won the international debate competition but this year it was different because Jayla Jackson and Emani Stanton made history as the first-ever team to win the competition undefeated.

Jayla Jackson, a 16-year-old at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, and Emani Stanton, a 17-year-old attending North Atlanta High School, won the Harvard Debate Council’s debate competition with an undefeated record of 10-0.

The dynamic duo are two Black young educated girls from Atlanta that won the annual summer debate competition at Harvard University.

Black excellence is still in full affect and these young ladies have rightfully earned themselves a place in history books. 

This year’s debate topic was “Resolved: The North Atlantic Treaty Organization should substantially increase its defense commitments in the Baltic States.”

Every year, the Harvard Debate Council hosts the program for talented students from around the world. As a part of the program, usually students will live on Harvard University’s campus for two weeks before they compete in the debate tournament but this year it was held virtually due to the pandemic.

Harvard’s debate coach and author Brandon P. Fleming founded the program four years ago to advance inclusion and diversity on the ivy league’s campus. 

He consistently recruits Black youth in Atlanta where he trains those selected for a year where students will take on other competitors during an intense debate program at Harvard. Flemings also says that the students have little to no experience debating. 

We love to see the younger generation making a mark. The Harvard Diversity Project has already accepted a new group for the program’s next debate exhibition for 2022.