Children may not have the right to vote, but on Election Day the many who attend Children’s Aid community schools made sure to exercise another important fundamental right: their freedom of speech.
Students from across our Bronx community schools participated in a special Lift Every Voice Election Day debate competition, which was hosted by Community School 61 and facilitated by the Children’s Aid African American Male Initiative (AAMI). Each year, AAMI’s Lift Every Voice public speaking series challenges elementary and middles school students to engage in issues affecting their community through persuasive speeches and debate. This week’s debate was no different, as it provided students with the opportunity to hone their critical-thinking skills and strengthen their written and verbal communication skills outside of the classroom around a critical day during the election year.
Students engaged in a fiery debate to discuss the harms and benefits of using social media and delivered expository speeches outlining what they would do if they were president. Their speeches thoughtfully addressed some of the most pressing issues affecting their generation: bullying, homelessness, health care, safe communities, and quality education. Their mature reflection reminded all those in the room that children are paying as much attention to current affairs as the adults who were voting at polling stations across the country.
We are incredibly proud of all the participants and their peers who came out to support them. And we thank the CS 61 and AAMI staff for working together to empower our students to lift their voice.
Congratulations to all the winners.