Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Museum “Youth Debate Team”


Southwest / Texas 73 Views


Wins Debate Competition in Atlanta, Georgia Once Again

(DALLAS, TX) – On Friday, May 10, 2017 at 10:00 a.m., the Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Museum “Youth Debate Team” completed and won another round of debate at the Atlanta Urban Debate League Tournament (Elementary Division).  The Tournament was held at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia exclusively for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders.  There, three KJGM teams competed in the tournament against students from Clarkdale Elementary School, Austell, GA.  All KJGM students won at least one round of competition, however, one of the three teams won both rounds (affirmative and negative).  Topic Resolution – “Should the United States Make Voting Mandatory for All Eligible Voters or Allow Them the Choice to Vote?”  Students involved in the tournament from Dallas were Ava Bolden (a third year debater), Jasira King (a second year debater), Nadia Buckner, Alyah Parker, Trenton Williams, Amir Najm, and Braylon Thomas (first year debaters).  This is the Museum’s third year to compete in Atlanta, GA.  As a result of the debaters involvement with the team, they are becoming better readers, spellers, researchers, and presenters.  The goal of the KJGM Debate Team is to support holistic development of students, helping them to become leaders who change the world for the better – Changing the world one word at a time.

Special thanks to Dallas Women’s Foundation – HERitage Giving Fund; Association for the Study of African American Life and History – Dallas Chapter; State Fair of Texas; BKD CPAs and Advisors; Comerica Bank; In the City for Good; Texas Legends Basketball Team; Hank Lawson and other supporters of the Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Museum – Youth Debate Team for making this year’s competition a reality for some amazing students.


Mrs. Gilliam’s former home — was designated a Dallas historic landmark in 2015 and now serves as a community learning lab that includes a Reading Room and Debate Center.  It is located at 3817 Wendelkin and will host summer reading camps, read-ins, computer literacy classes and other educational projects for young and old.  KJGM expects to partner with a broad spectrum of organizations to educate, inform and include all citizens fully in American life learning opportunities.

Kathlyn Gilliam’s decades-long work on behalf of underrepresented children and families – in and beyond her own community- today broaden education and life opportunities through accessibility.  Her voice stood for many – in ethics, inclusion, civil discourse and lawful resolution.  She opened doors.

Mrs. Gilliam’s vision continues through the work of the Museum, offering educational services to students of all ages:

  • Reading Programs – Mrs. Gilliam believed that reading was the key to success. “If you can read, you can do anything” was her famous quote. The Museum welcomes and encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to sit and enjoy books; sponsor quarterly literacy programs, read-ins, summer reading camps, computer literacy and other educational projects for young and old, partnering with city, state and national organizations.
  • Debate Center – The Museum serves as a training center for debate team competitions. “It is important that children learn to think outside the box and implement critical thinking in order to succeed in life,” Mrs. Gilliam would often say. The Debate Center will encourage discussion of everyday issues and opinions, teaching youth to communicate without becoming physical or confrontational.  “Our children have not mastered the art of discussion,” Mrs. Gilliam would say.  Debates are a way for those holding opposing views to discuss controversial issues without descending to insult, emotional appeals or personal bias.  During Mrs. Gilliam’s school years, debate team competitions were a vital part of training and educating youth.  The Museum is renewing this tradition.

The KJGM Youth Debate Team is coached by Mr. David King, Ms. Jerquila Slaughter and Ms. Courtney Myers.  Our junior coach this year is Asad King who aged out of the competition this year but is committed to helping new students as they become involved in the program.  All are exceptional individuals who volunteer their time to aid in the necessary training to prepare the debaters to become gracious competitors.  Mr. Robert Edison, former Debate Team Coach organized the first KJGM Debate Team in 2016.  With his continued guidance, we have made significant gains in preparing our debaters.

To become a part of the KJGM Debate Team and for more information, contact Constance Harris at charris830@sbcglobal.net, Tel. 469-458-0208 OR 469-878-3945; also visit www.KathlynJoyGilliamMuseum.org.  Next training session will begin in October 2019.