Urban debate league students tackle criminal justice reform

Raylene Shah, a freshman member of the Bay Area Urban Debate League (BAUDL), says an upcoming meeting between student debaters and state legislators in Sacramento is particularly timely, given the national conversations around race and policing.

“We all know what’s going on in our country now, but we don’t know where it came from or what was behind it,” she said. “I’m glad this topic is educational because I get to learn about this stuff and see how I can make a difference.”

BAUDL works with Bay Area public schools to make competitive policy debate available to students. Over the past decade, BAUDL has grown to span five school districts and 23 middle and high schools. The league is in contact with close to 300 students a year, according to executive director Jonah Feldman.

Unlike national and state debate leagues, urban debate leagues tend to work with predominantly minority students. The same is true for BAUDL, where about 80 percent of the students are students of color. About 70 percent of its students are eligible for free lunch programs.

Read more at the San Francisco Chronicle