Perspective: Black History and Tomorrow’s Leaders

Executive Director Rhonda Haynes Reflects on African Americans' Historic Contributions

February 26, 2020 – This Black History Month, I found myself appreciating in new ways all the African American heroes who dared to dream, resist or create in support of a more evolved, inclusive and fruitful tomorrow. Today, I invite you to consider the notion that we all stand on the shoulders of these visionaries, justice seekers and innovators who answered a special calling. Their ingenuity, persistence, courage and sacrifice have benefited all of us in countless ways – from advancements in medicine, technology, law and manufacturing to breakthroughs in social justice, competitive sports and the arts.

At NAUDL, we celebrate equity and diversity as core facets of our mission. For thousands of students who dedicate their time to the academic sport of debate, Black History Month serves as a reminder of past accomplishments and future possibilities. I envision our students accepting the baton from the those who came before them — as they strive to make their own marks on history by leading positive change on personal, social, or global levels.

Each year, I see our debaters embrace their potential to create catalysts for change and become history-makers in their own right. They leverage assets and skills honed through debate like critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication as they work to improve their environments. Their schools, communities, and society as a whole, are better for their challenges to the status quo. It is inspiring to see them pursuing a future where the possibilities are truly endless.

Please join me and honor our fellow Americans whose historic contributions continue to make a difference in our daily lives. Then, channel that appreciation into support for the next generation of leaders like our debaters — students who have the open minds and the drive to succeed.

Rhonda Haynes
Executive Director

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