The Gallaudet University debate team is in Atlanta, Georgia this weekend, participating in the 2022 Social Justice Debates at Morehouse College. Debates begin this evening on the proposition “The adoption of a mandatory racial desegregation policy for K-12 public schools is desirable.” According to Dr. Brendan Stern, the team’s coach, all teams will be required to debate both sides of this proposition.

The team arrived on Wednesday evening, and visited the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Olympic Park, and Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Park. Today, they will observe an African American Family class at Morehouse College.

The Social Justice Debates begin tonight, and Gallaudet will compete at 6 p.m. ET. They will continue tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. ET, 1:30 p.m. ET, and 3 p.m. ET. Playoff matches are scheduled for Saturday evening and Sunday morning, with the championship debate on Sunday at 12:15 p.m. ET.

Lexi Hill from Tyler, Texas and Aubrey Moorman from Laurel, Maryland are the team’s debaters. Hill is also co-captain of the team with Romel Thurman from Berkeley, California. Other team members in Atlanta this weekend are Lorelei Becktel-Lipscomb from East Lansing, Michigan; Daniel Miers from Columbia, Maryland; and Charles Spiers from Rockville, Maryland.

Dr. Brendan Stern, a deaf faculty member in Gallaudet’s School of Civic Leadership, Business, and Social Change and executive director of the Center for Democracy in Deaf America, is head coach. Suzanne Rosen Singleton, a deaf attorney and chief of the Disability Rights Office at the Federal Communications Commission, is assistant coach.

This is the Gallaudet team’s first foray into intercollegiate competition, following last year’s exhibition debate against George Washington University. The team has been practicing for months for this weekend’s competition, and for a debate with the United States Naval Academy in late April on whether deaf people should be allowed to serve in the military.

President Cordano will lead a contingent of university officials in attendance at this historic event. Gallaudet alumni and friends who live in the Atlanta metropolitan area are welcome to attend the debates. All Morehouse College guests must complete a Campus Tours and Visitation Protocols form for each day that they attend. In particular, they must be vaccinated, and must have had a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of their visit.

As of Thursday evening, the other schools registered for this year’s Social Justice Debates include Appalachian State University (North Carolina); California Polytechnic University; Claremont McKenna College (California); Clemson University (South Carolina); Florida State University; George Washington University (District of Columbia); Howard University (District of Columbia); Loyola Marymount University (California); Morehouse College, the event host; Pepperdine University (California); the University of Miami; the University of Rochester; the University of San Francisco; Vanderbilt University (Tennessee); and the University of Vermont. Some schools are fielding multiple two-person teams.

The Social Justice Debates are an annual intercollegiate debate series founded in 2016 by Morehouse College and George Washington University. The only intercollegiate debate series in the world dedicated to social justice topics, the Social Justice Debates aspire to promote productive and rigorous debates challenging current and future thought leaders to consider issues of justice in relation to the distribution of wealth, opportunity, and privilege in U.S. society.

While livestreaming is not available, you can follow @GallaudetU on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates on the team’s progress!

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