According to a post on Harvard Diversity Project’s social media account, Jayla Jackson and Emani Stanton have become the first Black women duo in the history of the Harvard Debate Council to win the annual international summer debate competition.
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The Instagram post read, “#BlackGirlMagic We did it AGAIN! 🏆🏆🏆🏆 Our 4th consecutive championship win was brought home to Atlanta by Jayla & Emani with an #UNDEFEATED record as they became the FIRST EVER Black girl duo to win Harvard’s international debate competition against over one hundred debaters from around the world. They have shown the world what’s possible when the playing field is leveled! #HarvardDiversityProject#ScholarshipMeetsCulture#TheVeritasWay.”
Both girls are current members of the Atlanta-based Harvard Diversity Project.
Jackson is a 16-year-old junior at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School, and Stanton,17, is a senior at North Atlanta High School.
The Harvard Diversity Project is an initiative that was created by Harvard’s award-winning debate coach and author Brandon P. Fleming.
The university decided to take on Fleming’s idea to start an initiative to promote diversity, diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus in 2017.
According to Black Enterprise, the Harvard Debate Council hosts a residential program every summer for hundreds of talented young people from over 15 countries worldwide to come together for two weeks of intensive studies that lead up to the program-wide debate tournament.
This year it took place due virtually as opposed to other years due to COVID-19.
Fleming’s motto to the students who are a part of the program is always “bigger than debate.”
“The achievements of this program and our scholars reveals to the world the power of educational equity,” he said.
In regards to her remarkable win, Jackson said, “We want to use our platform to show people what’s possible when the playing field is leveled for those who need it most.”