Leading with Debate Fellowship

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​The Leading with Debate Fellowship (LDF) Program

BAUDL youth want more from debate than competitive tournaments. They want meaningful skills in critical thinking, advocacy, and leadership. LDF is a program focused on providing youth development and connection to members of the community.

Leading with Debate Fellowship fulfills two BAUDL promises:  

1. Our promise to the community: BAUDL is invested in providing urban youth with a platform and skills to be conscious, informed leaders. Debate is the best pathway that I've witn​essed to college and life success. The research agrees - Debate makes a difference!

2. Our promise to students: There is an intellectual community of people who want to make a difference in the Bay Area and will listen to youth, if they will speak up. 


​Previous LDF Events 


​​​​​Innovations in Education Roundtable

Featuring Mayor Libby Schaaf, Superintendent Antwan Wilson, & Oakland School Board Member Roseann Torres 


January 26, 2015 

Education is one of the civil rights issues of our time. Policyakers, advocates, educators and members of our community have been grappling with way to reform our public school systems and improve academic outcomes for low income youth of color. 

The "Innovations in Urban Education" Roundtable brought together a number of different stakeholder and provided a forum where their voices were on equal footing in front of the community of Oakland. Students, teachers, school board members, the OUSD Superintendent, and even the Mayor of Oakland were all on equal footing and free to discuss their ideas for the future of Oakland youth. 

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Mayor Schaaf, Superintendent Wilson, & School Board member Rosann Torres laid out their visions for Oakland students, but it is their desire to hear our youth that must be championed! They took time to sit at the table with young people and hear their experience, consider their ideas. ​BAUDL thanks Mayor Schaaf, Superintendent Wilson, and Rosann Torres for being champions for youth voice and decision-making! ​

Castlemont senior, Precious Braziel (pictured above), told stories of underpaid teachers leaving the classroom and administrative turnover that made Castlemont feel like an unstable place to learn. Precious advocated increased salaries for Oakland teachers ​by 20% because Oakland teachers are the lowest paid in the Bay Area; she also argued for additional administrative training to reduce turnover. 

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Skyline junior, DaCobi Anderson, argued for increased job skills courses. He fears that his peers who might not graduate will not have enough skills to enter the job market. DaCobi's face broke into a gigantic grin when Mayor Schaaf echoed his agreement. He said, "It was great to be heard." 

Fremont Media Academy's freshman, Daniela Reynosa, gave the most controversial speech of the night. Daniela directly challenged Mayor Schaaf when she opposed charter schools. Daniela argued against allowing charter schools ​to participate ​in proposals to improve Fremont High. ​​She argued charter schools lack accountability, ​treat teachers poorly, and ​kick out the most disadvantaged students. Although Mayor Schaaf disagreed, we are proud that Daniela stood up for her perspective. 

​Thank you to everyone involved in this evening and to the crowd of 130 community members that attended and asked questions to press the issues of education in Oakland forward. Special thank you to MC & BAUDL Regional Coordinator, Mya Whitaker, for the time she spent planning and hosting this amazing opportunity for youth.

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Bay Area Youth: Engaged & Informed

A three event series held during the 2015-16 school year​

Event 1. October 24, 2015 -  BAUDL TED Talks

BAUDL youth use their critical thinking skills to address the problems in their communities. Each student has developed a 5-7 minute presentation in the style of a TED Talk with the hopes of gaining the meaningful support of community changemakers. We ask changemakers to listen, consider, and provide feedback to help make the visions of BAUDL youth realities.

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Event 2. November 19, 2015 - The Bay Area Community Debate

A. Pair up with a BAUDL youth and try your hand at competitive debate in a shortened and public format. Work in a one-on-one setting to prepare. Bring your skills to the debate round. This experience will change the life of a young person forever. In fact, it's how Mya Whitaker met Mayor Libby Schaaf and began to think of her own future career in government. 

B. Offer your eye and thoughts to the Judging of our Community Debate. Listen, consider, and provide feedback on the skills that pay the bills (the content & presentation in the debate). Help youth improve their ability to communicate their ideas.

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Event 3. January 20, 2016 - Collaboration for a Better Bay!

This event is a small collaboration & problem-solving event. Educators, youth, and community members come together to tackle a significant problem of our time, gentrification. This is something that many of our students are experiencing first hand and have Participants brainstorm a vital concern in the Bay, offer varying insights, and make suggestions for solutions. Together we can form an Action Plan that could be pursued in the future.