African-American High-School Students Gather for Debate at Colorado State’s Black Issues Forum

Dozens of African-American high-school students will debate issues facing the Black community during the ninth annual Black Issues Forum at Colorado State University June 28-30.

The program brings together students from Colorado, Alabama, California, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, New York and Texas. Debate topics will focus on the relationship between the Black community and law enforcement; the controversial display of the Confederate flag; African-American role models; standardized educational testing; and other social issues.

The session involves three days of discussion and research that culminate with a debate forum where participants present their arguments, ideas and solutions. The debate format also helps students strengthen their skills in public speaking, teamwork and leadership.

"This forum encourages students to think critically about the challenges that face the African American community," said Craig Chesson, forum coordinator and assistant director of admissions at Colorado State. "Students emerge from this program with an understanding of how important it is to be active participants in their communities and in the political process."

Chesson also said that having the forum in a college campus setting helps to make higher education a more exciting and realistic possibility for participants.

The forum will offer workshops on research and writing techniques, as well as several talks including "Why It’s Great to by Young, Black and in America," by Blanche Hughes, a Colorado State University administrator. Participants will also take part in a talent show and awards ceremony. For more information on this year’s Black Issues Forum, call Chesson at (970) 491-6431.