by Anastasia Walton
After a two-year break, Urban Debate is back at Mack.
Leading the new crew of debaters is Wyllene Turner, a 20-year-old community college student who graduated from Street Academy, where she was a debater in the Urban Debate League and won the Oakland district poetry slam in 2011.
“I really want this team to prevail because I’m from West Oakland and I really want to see people from my community succeed,” says Turner.
As a first exercise, she split the 12 students into two groups and had them debate which candy was better: Hershey’s or M&M’s. Anthony Beron, a 10th grader, looked up how many calories were in each candy to sweeten his argument.
“I want to help contribute to this year’s debate team,” said Beron. “ I also want to hone my debating skills.”
Debate is not new to McClymonds. In the past, the school has had a strong debate team and debaters. In 2010, alumna Tanesha Walker, now a student at UCLA, was runner-up in the National Urban Debate League. That same year, the McClymonds’ debate team won 1st place in the Bay Area Urban Debate League.
As regional coordinator, Turner helps several teams from the East Bay — Envision, Emery, and Oakland Tech. She said she was happy with the initial turnout and hopes more students will join. Debate, she argued, is a good prep tool for college. And Mack students are natural debaters, she added.
J’Mya Gree-Martinez, a 9th grader, echoed that thought. “ I believe debate will give me a chance to interact with new people, and plus, I like to talk,” she said.
Some students like 9th grader Kaya LaForte developed a taste for debate in middle school. “ I like to argue, and I participated in debate my 8th grade year at Kipp Bridge and loved it,” she said.
The debate team meets every Monday right after school in the 2nd floor computer lab.
Will New Gun Laws in Oakland Make Mack School Students Safer?
by Anthony Beron
Will tracking guns reduce violence? Or is this just another unworkable solution?
In Oakland, guns appear and multiply. And get used, over and over again.
At McClymonds, students feel mixed about the effectiveness of proposed assembly bill number 180, sponsored by Rob Bonta, D-Alameda that allows the city of Oakland to pass its own gun regulations. Would it have any impact on the street violence that Mack students witness?
“As younger people in the streets get guns, they don’t wanna settle out a fight with their hands- they just kill with a gun,” declares a solemn-looking Lee Benson.
Gun control remains a major problem in Oakland, especially West Oakland. Five McClymonds High students and alumni were shot in 2012, which is just a fraction of the 1,594 total shooting victims in Oakland last year.
Three hundred and sixty crimes occur per square mile in the “hella” city, which is 320 above the national median according to the website neighborhoodscout. The Business Insider ranked Oakland as the second most dangerous city in the United States as of 2012.
“The main problem with this is if we track guns that will just give people another reason to use them more quickly,” argued Kardel Howard, “they’re defiant, and there’ll be more violent if rules and deadlines are forced onto them.”
Others feel that you just do the math. “Less guns means less violence,” said Jacob Miles, Mack senior.
“’The opponents like to paint it as some unreasonable restriction on gun ownership,’” said California senator Darrell Steinberg to the Sacramento Bee. “’And these bills are anything but. They are drawing a very careful distinction between gun ownership for sport, hunting and even self-defense – versus these guns that by definition fire dozens or hundreds of rounds indiscriminately and kill people.’”
Will restrictions work? We will see when (if) this new proposed assembly bill is signed by Governor Jerry Brown by October 13th.
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