Debate practice at McClymonds with coach Joseph Flores
Story photo by Anthony Beron
It was a day to cheer on debaters.
Two McClymonds High School freshmen and a senior placed in the top 10 of the rookie division speakers at the Bay Area Urban Debate League New Year’s Classic debate tournament at UC Berkeley Saturday.
Freshman Hailey King placed 3rd, freshman Parrish Kendricks 8th and senior Anastasia Walton 9th in their first debate. King and partner Kendicks also placed 4th as a team.
The Warriors’ debate team is fledgling, being formed in the fall of 2013.
“They’re getting much better,” said Pamela Tapia, a Mack graduate (and former BAUDL debater) who coaches the team. “We’re trying to become a powerhouse like athletics, but it’s tough to compete for after-school time with our successful sports teams.”
The team meets twice a week near the school library, to cover debate tactics and review sources for arguments.
Tapia said that the team has benefitted from the recent addition of mentor coach Joseph Flores (nicknamed “J-Flo”), a UC Berkeley student who debated for the Los Angeles Urban Debate League.
Placing in the top 20 as speakers were Nicole Funes, 13th, Anique Gichanga, 14th and Jaden Nixon, 16th.
In the novice division, freshmen J’Mya Gray-Martinez and Danenicole Williams placed 13th as a team.
Why Mack Students Should Care about LGBT
by Janaya Andrews
Sometimes justice trumps love. Take Valentine’s Day. I spent it lobbying in Sacramento for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
I was one of seven McClymonds students who joined 3,000 students in Sacramento in a forum about LGBT rights at the 65th Model Legislature and Court of California YMCA Youth and Government.
While in Sacramento, I wrote a bill to promote acceptance of gays, bisexuals, the transgendered, and lesbians. I felt that it was time to support the LGBT, not only because I am standing up for what’s right, but also for truth and justice.
“People shouldn’t be afraid to be what they were born with,” said Shamorra Washington, a freshman. “It’s not like it’s a switch that people could simply flip to change their whole being. Why should they?”
Our group focused on notable LGBT people from President James Buchanan (our 15th president who was gay but closeted) and Laura Jane Grace, born Thomas James Gabel, lead singer of punk band Against Me! (transgender who has since switched genders and married).
In my group, we had a guest speaker come talk about her experiences, and she shared a personal story with us about feeling out of sorts. It was in college that that she realized she was transgender. Her upbringing in an accepting family made her less afraid of coming out.
A 2012 survey by the Human Rights Campaign of 10,000 LGBT youth aged 13-17 found that while almost all (91 percent) of LGBT teens are out to their close friends, fewer are out in school (61 percent) and out to their families (56 percent).
Those who were out at school and out to their families reported higher levels of happiness than those who weren’t.
“We are all human, so why treat each other with less respect,” said Washington. “If you want to be seen and heard, you have to set your feelings free.
As Dorothy Parker so eloquently said, “Heterosexuality is not normal, it’s just common.” She forgot to add it is natural.
And Jean Genet said, “I like the word gay, though I think of myself as queer. I believe the strength in my work comes from that perspective -my being an outsider”.
And I have internalized what these two famous writers said: nobody should be afraid of being gay, just be who you are and love it. Now is the time to act to support LGBT youth.
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Tagged Against Me!, boas, college, coming out, Debate, equal rights, family, gay and lesbian, Human Rights Campaign, Justice, Laura Jane Grace, LBGT, McClymonds, transgender, YMCA, Youth and Government