A picture of Representative Charles B. Rangel
Charles R.
Democrat NY 13

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  • The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Presents ``The Great Debate’’ in the Village of Harlem USA

    by Representative Charles B. Rangel

    Posted on 2013-03-11

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    RANGEL of new york in the house of representatives Monday, March 11, 2013 Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize and congratulate the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for presenting the National Great Debate Series.



    On Saturday, March 2, the NAACP New York State Conference, under the leadership of Dr. Hazel N. Dukes in partnership with Starbucks, NAACP Region II Youth and College Division, the NAACP Connecticut State Conference, Bill Lynch Associates and Positive Workforce, Inc. hosted in New York City's Village of Harlem's First Corinthian Baptist Church ``The Great Debate''--Howard University vs Columbia University.

    For the first time, this highly acclaimed event took place outside of an academic building in hopes of stimulating the consciousness and interest of young people who might not otherwise be exposed to debates as a platform for the advancement of civil rights issues and education. Over 1600 youth and community leaders from Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York converged at Harlem's historic First Corinthian Baptist Church to witness, support and participate in ``The Great Debate''.

    Inspired by Denzel Washington's 2007 movie, ``The Great Debaters'' in 2008, Connecticut State Conference President Scot X. Esdaile, created the ``NAACP Great Debate series''. The debate series, which is one of a kind in the country, brings together highly acclaimed debate teams from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU's) to compete against their Ivy League counterparts.

    The teams debate some of the most pressing social, cultural, and political issues of today. The first debate was held at Woolsey Hall on the Yale University campus where students from Howard University and Yale University demonstrated their oral prowess. Since this first debate, interest in the series has grown exponentially. In 2011, Howard University squared off against Yale University on the topics of charter schools and District of Columbia (D.C.) statehood. In 2012, the Youth & College Division hosted the Great Debate between Wiley University and Harvard University during the 103rd Annual NAACP National Convention in Houston, Texas in a debate over the controversial ``Stand Your Ground'' law. This year, moderated by Drexel University's Dr. Charles A. Williams, III, Howard University and Columbia University debated over New York City's Police Department controversial Stop and Frisk Policy, and also debated whether hand guns should be banned in urban cities nationwide.

    As Dean of the New York Congressional Delegation, let me congratulate my sister, Hazel N. Dukes, President of the NAACP New York State Conference, Scot X. Esdaile, President of the Connecticut State Conference and Marvin Bing, Director of Region II for bringing the NAACP Debate Series to New York City and my Congressional District. I also want to give special praise and thanks to Senior Pastor, Reverend Michael A. Walrond, Jr. and First Lady and Executive Pastor, Dr. Lakeesha Walrond of the First Corinthian Baptist Church for hosting this historic debate at Harlem's landmarked faith based institution.

    Mr. Speaker, as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the 50th anniversary of the March On Washington, the 100th Birthday of Rosa Parks, let us also celebrate the 104 years of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People that has dedicated its life's advocacy and game changing work, under the leadership of Chairman Roslyn M. Brock and President and Chief Executive Officer Benjamin Todd Jealous to enhancing Civic Engagement, Criminal Justice, Economic Development, Education and Health for all Americans across this Nation.

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