First Black Girl Duo Wins Harvard’s International Debate Competition

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A Black girl duo from Atlanta has made history after winning the annual summer debate competition at Harvard University. Since its inception in 2017, this is the first Black girl duo to win the debate competition.

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.

black girl
Jayla Jackson and Emani Stanton (Courtesy of Harvard Diversity Project)

Every summer, hundreds of high-school students from around the world meet at Harvard to study and compete in the program-wide debate tournament.

Thousands of students apply to be a part of the project each year, but only about 25 to 30 are selected.

Despite this year being virtual due to COVID-19, the students of the Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project once again won the competition for the fourth year in a row.

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(Photo: Chris House/Harvard Diversity Project)

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

The new team leaders have already been selected and will begin training at the beginning of August.


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