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Author Topic: West Point Thanks  (Read 1116 times)
stephen.mf.davis
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« on: October 23, 2012, 08:22:42 AM »

I would first like to extend my deepest gratitude to the West Point Staff for hosting us this weekend.  To Joe Patrice, Kathryn Rubino, Christy Webster, the cadets, Colonel Meese and the esteemed panel of critics who evaluated the final round I would like to say that it was, as it always is, a pleasure to participate at West Point, to enjoy the wonderful Hudson river view and foliage,  and  to witness the marvel of a tournament whose final round ends before 9 on Sunday night.  From soup to nuts this is a wonderful tournament and that’s not the post-sabre buzz talking.

I would also like to extend congratulations to the Rutgers Team whose immense presence in the northeast is palatable to the say the least and to extend our gratitude for being amicable opponents and comrades. There is no one we would rather share the historic occasion of that round with.  Their showing in both of the brackets in which they participated (they won the JV bracket handily—not bad at all  for “two kids from Newark” )  should indicate to anyone who is paying attention that the Rutgers team will  be a force will be reckoned with for years to come.  Chris Kozack, Chris, Randel ,  Elijah Smith and the rest of the Rutgers team have translated  a very vibrant UDL in  New Jersey into a competitive force at the college level which is something many have failed at, there is no doubt that it’s a tireless and painstaking effort which has been marshaled in the service of this goal and gaining recognition in the form of competitive success is wonderful but not half of what they deserve for the miracle working taking place in Newark.

The Final Round of the West Point invitational Debate Tournament marks a historic occasion for Towson University, Rutgers University and the community writ large.  For the first time in its history the 4 debaters participating in the final round were people of color. This is not only speaks the skill of the debaters present, the coaching staffs who support them, and the commitment of the respective UDL’s from which they hail to the future success of their students but to a very real impact that the UDL movement, among other factors/people, are having on the debate community.  At west point this weekend it was very obvious that the demographic makeup of this community is changing quicker than expected.  The days of tournaments filled with pasty white dudes with the occasional ‘POC’ or woman sprinkled in are officially over. I know that there is still much work to be done but I also know that it is almost too easy to find things wrong with the way this community confronts difference and when there is a reason to celebrate—a small moment of respite which points to the fact that not only is the problem worth fixing but that it is being fixed—we should take a breath, if only for a moment,  and rejoice.  At least that is what I will be doing for the next week while waiting for Sherry’s culinary genius to offer another reason to celebrate. Thanks again to all who contributed to this, to the host, the competitors, the mentors and the supporters without which this would have never been possible.
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