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Michelle Obama's Message to the NYC Urban Debate League


October 19th, 2018

Urban Debate League of New York City

New York, New York

Dear New York City Debate League:


    After I heard about these incredible young people from all over our country who are coming together to tackle tough issues, embrace challenges, share ideas and listen to new ones, and dream up solutions, I just knew I needed to sit down and write to you. My book tour is headed to Brooklyn on December 1st and I want each one of you thinkers, dreamers, and doers to join me!


    Between now and our evening together at the Barclays Center, I hope you and your fellow debaters have the chance to sit down and reflect on all of that critical thinking and problem solving you’ve done in the past. These are the same skills we’re counting on you to exercise when you’re leading the way toward our brighter, more inclusive future. While I was writing Becoming, I did a lot of reflecting about the next generation of leaders, and there’s one thing I know for sure: young people can accomplish incredible things when they listen to the stories of people in their communities, look out for their fellow citizens, and never forget the power of a chorus of thoughtful, open-minded voices to keep us moving forward.


    I am so glad all of you will be joining us in Brooklyn. Barack and I send you our very warmest wishes. Keep on aiming high, dreaming big, and working hard!

About The New York City Urban Debate League

Our mission is that every school should have a debate team and every student should have the opportunity to the best debate education opportunities. One of the most critical problems in education today is the academic and civic achievement gaps. Our solution is to provide the best college, career, civic, communication and community opportunities through year round academic debate. Each month we work with thousands of students and hundreds of schools. We support debate practices every day, debate centers every week, tournaments every weekend, workshops every month, debate camps all summer, and year round support for any student and teacher. We are one of the the city’s most award winning curricular and extracurricular programs. We have received awards from the White House, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Presidential Commission on the Arts and Humanities, National Institute for Museum and Library Services, The Social Index of Top 100 Nonprofits, BoardSource, Points of Light’s Civic Accelerator, Teach for America, and by the First Lady as “one of the top arts and humanities based programs in the country.” Why Debate? Debate teaches every academic skill and every academic subject. A Great Debater means a person who has the skills and confidence to lead, to speak up, to argue, to question, to read and write to right the wrongs, to know about the world around you, and to change the world around you.

The New York City Urban Debate League
25 Broadway, 12th Floor