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Tacoma Urban Debate Workshop

Seattle Debate Foundation, Comcast Foundation, The HERO Initiative, Hip Hop Congress & University of Puget Sound Launch the Tacoma Urban Debate League - Bringing Together Debate Tradition and Positive Hip Hop Energy

Where: University of Puget Sound-Wheelock Student Center (WSC) and Trimble

When: Tuesday, January 16th, from 9am-1:30pm

The Seattle Debate Foundation (SDF) with the generous support of a grant from the Comcast Foundation is launching the Tacoma Urban Debate League by starting new urban debate programs at several public high schools in the Tacoma area. This project will kick off with an explosive workshop that is made of the kind of innovative and quality programming that the SDF has come to be known for. The project is also the first display of two newly formed partnerships between the SDF & the HERO program at the College Access Foundation; as well as the national collaboration between urban debate leagues around the country and Hip Hop Congress. 

The day will feature several debate workshops where students will learn through fun and stimulating hands-on debate activities that connect to students’ interests and foster critical thinking, reading comprehension, writing proficiency, public speaking, media literacy, conflict resolution, and civic participation. 

The workshops will be facilitated by college coaches and debaters from University of Puget Sound and Hip Hop artists and educators from around the west coast.  Students learn how to create dynamic speeches by incorporating alternate forms of cultural expression and political thought found in Hip Hop including spoken word, poetry, and song.  Students will work in collaboration with debate coaches and Hip Hop artists to create and record these speeches for future use in public debates and weekend tournaments.  Helping to bring insight into that aspect of the program are Julie Chang Schulman, Northwest Regional Coordinator of Hip Hop Congress, Education Committee member of H2Ed and member of Zulu Nation from Seattle; Mic Crenshaw, poet, lyricist, educator and activist from Portland, Oregon; Laura “piece” Kelley, Seattle Grand Slam Champion 2004-2005, Seattle’s only HBO Def Jam Poet and Executive Director of Think Big Foundation; Amos Miller, Producer 2o6 Vintage; and Shamako Noble, President of Hip Hop Congress and Co-Director of H2Ed.  

When asked about her excitement regarding the use of Hip Hop in debate, high school debater, Khatsini Simani said, “I’ve found a way to communicate and express myself in a way that I love and in a style that really gets the point across.”   

Looking forward to the launch of the Tacoma Urban Debate League and the new partnerships with Comcast, Hip Hop Congress and HERO, SDF, Executive Director, Jen Johnson said, “The project combines the strength of several incredible organizations to provide innovative and culturally relevant education that is centered around the growth, empowerment and success of our youth.”  The workshop is currently expected to host over 50 students and the Seattle Debate Foundation continues to develop cutting-edge programming that is a model for the state and the country.  

The Seattle Debate Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that empowers underserved youth in the Seattle/Tacoma area by providing debate training and debating opportunities to public schools and community centers.

The Hip Hop Congress is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit that uses hip hop culture to inspire social and civic action and cultural creativity amongst young people.

The HERO Initiative (Higher Education Readiness Opportunity) is a College Success Foundation initiative designed to increase college readiness for under-represented youth. 

If you are interested in more information, covering the event for your publication or getting a quote from some of the parties involved, please contact Jen Johnson at .

Jen Johnson 
Executive Director 
Seattle Debate Foundation 
2442 NW Market Street #472 
Seattle, WA 98107 
Phone: (206)910-7920 Email:  

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