In Season 4, we are continuing the Seeking Equality in Speech and Debate Series here at One Clap Speech and Debate. Today's open discussion focuses on Being a Racial Minority and a Woman in Speech and Debate. It features three Wyoming Speech and Debate competitive community alumni: Leila Sandlin, Haley Lauze-Reyes, and YuYu Yuan. (Lyle is fighting a sinus infection, so his energy is a little low in this one!)
Thank you so much to YuYu, Haley, and Leila for their valuable insights and for their willingness to share so honestly in our discussion. As we strive for equality in the Speech and Debate world, the coaching and competitive community needs to keep an open dialogue and continue these conversations.
Transcript of Panel Discussion
(there are some errors in the auto-transcript, & I will edit as I have time):
Being a Racial Minority and a Woman in Speech and Debate
Lyle Wiley: Welcome everyone to an open discussion about being a racial minority and a woman in speech and debate on one clap, speech and debate. I'm super excited to meet with everyone on the panel and hear from you all tonight. Thank you so much for coming out and doing this. Everyone who's on this panel is previously a Wyoming superstar in the speech and debate community and these conversations or conversations need to happen in our community. And so just thank you for your courage and your willingness to step up and speak to equality and, and speech and debate universe.So before we start our. Official discussion. I wanna give you a chance to introduce yourselves. So I would, I would just ask you to say maybe your name, your school, or the school you previously competed in, or if you're competing now where you're competing your grade, where you are in this speech and debate universe in terms of how long you're separated from it, or if you're competing now, where you're at and then your primary competitive events.
And we've kind of run the gamut here. I think we've, we've got a lot of events between the three of you and then what you're kind of doing now and your racial, ethnic, cultural background to kinda give people an idea of where you're coming from.
Haley Lauze-Reyes: That sounds great. Lyle, thank you for having all of us. This is a really neat discussion that I don't really think has happened in Wyoming. or at least on this kind of scale, that's really important that we're doing this.
My name's Hailey Lauze-Reyes. I used to compete for green river high school from 2012 to 2016. So I've been out of the Wyoming community for a second. I stayed in for a little bit when I was at Eastern Wyoming college and debated there for a couple years. And then a couple more years at university of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Primarily in high school, I did policy debate with a little bit of like in info and POI in there. My senior year at EWC. It was I P D a then back to policy at UNLV. Right now I live in salt lake city and I'm working at a, non-profit doing fundraising there and you'd be surprised like how many speech and debate skills go into that kind of work and ethnically I'm mixed race with half my family being from Mexico and the other half of my family being from france .
YuYu Yuan: Thank you so much for having us on. I think this is such a thought opportunity to kind of have like very serious conversations about very important thing that doesn't really get discussed all that much. My name is YuYu. I'm a sophomore at Stanford university and my ethnic background is east Asian.
I immigrated from China. This summer what I've been doing is interning on the hill and just spending my whole summer in DC and the primary competitive events that I did in speech and debate were exte, public forum, debate and original oratory.
Leila Sandlin: Hi, I just wanna echo everyone else. Thank you so much for having us.
This is fantastic. My name is Leila. I competed for the Jackson hole high school team from 2015 to 2019. I'm currently at New York university. I'm gonna be a senior. Right now I'm just doing some research and taking some classes. So I'm in the city. When I was in high school, I primarily competed in POI poetry and drama.
Basically tried every single interp event at least once. But those were my three favorite. And then my cultural and ethnic background. So I'm adopted from China to white parents. So, I would say that it's kind of somewhere between an American born Chinese person and then a first gen.
Lyle Wiley: Well, welcome to everyone. And this is gonna be super fun and I can't wait to hear from all of you. I went ahead and assigned out some questions or statements, and we'll just kind of go in an order, just arbitrary, just as a way for us to get started, but feel free to chime in and add to every different statement or question that's out there as much as you'd like to.
And yeah, let's go ahead and get started. The, the first pieces of information that I took were from the rostrum, an article by Noel Lambert and Jessica U that was put out that was suggesting conversations about gender and speech and debate. And this was from February, March in 2019. And they suggested having this conversation with students where you have them look at these statements and then say on a scale of one to five, how much they agreed with those statements.
So I'm gonna give you a statement and then I'll ask you how much you agree with it and what your experience has been with this sort of this situation. And we'll start with you Haley. So my gender affects how my judge evaluates or evaluated me as a competitor.
Haley Lauze-Reyes: Oh yeah. And you wanted us to write this on a scale of one to five.
This was a big five for me. When I was competing in policy, it's known for being a pretty aggressive, dicey kind of debate and to go in as a woman, the only way to really. Be successful in that competing against males is to be just as if not more aggressive and sometimes dicey. And a lot of judges find fault in women who do that.
And so I got judged pretty badly and my partner did too. And my senior year, my partners, actually my sister who was more aggressive than I was. And every feedback we got was one of you, or both of you need to dial back. You're scaring me and scaring everybody in the room. But I always felt like if it was a man doing that same stuff, it wouldn't be seen as the same way.
Leila Sandlin: Just to add on to that, I feel like it's kind of, interesting because in, I inter events since it feels like from my impression of my experience that they're considered both within the student and the judge populations as like softer or like less professional as debates.
So it's like more welcome for women to be Emotional and expressive and stuff like that, which I think is equally harmful just because it perpetuates the, the comparative masculine or forceful, positive nature of debate, because I found that oftentimes like outside of rounds or something both in and out of rounds really you would have these comments where they would they would be like, well, at least you're not debating or oh, like good thing, you don't debate.
I'm sure it's, it's too like intense or whatever. And I found that to be incredibly, I mean, offensive and also just to my female counterparts in debate equally. So just cuz I think it undermines both sides and facets of, of the speech and debate world.
Haley Lauze-Reyes: So yeah, there's something about that that's like really patronizing. I just finished a book recently. That's by Cheryll Sandberg. She's the chief operating officer at Facebook now and she wrote in that book and it's all about like women in the work. But there's this expectation for women to be the nurturers, not only in the workplace, but I see this in debate too, that we're expected to be soft kind to other women and our male counterparts too.
So it's offensive that they're saying that in inter events, because that's being perpetuated, like you said, and offensive in debate because we're not meeting that expectation and we get docked a lot for that.
YuYu Yuan: Yeah. I think as a competitor who has competed in both like speech and debate, I've definitely felt more comfortable competing in speech and like being evaluated by judges than I did in like debate.
I felt that like whenever I was competing just in general hearing stories from all of my teammates about like their bad judge experiences and just hearing about it in general, it made me feel like I couldn't be as like aggressive or as passionate about certain debate. Topics that we were discussing or starting arguments, just because it could be viewed as like negative or viewed as something that the judges don't think women should be doing in debate, which is kind of like very ridiculous and something that is still like very much prominent being someone that has like recently left, I guess, like the high school circuit.
But I think it's like being more discussed now, which is like very good. And of course, like we're discussing it now, but I do definitely feel the disparity between like speech and speech events and how you feel in terms of being judged, doing your speech event versus how you feel being judged doing a debate event.
Leila Sandlin: So my senior year I did a, a POI piece on rape culture and I remember feeling like distinctly more uncomfortable competing for male judges. Just because it felt like they would have their own internal, like biases or discomfort that would project onto my performance or their interpretation of my performance.
I remember one time this man gave me a ballot back. That was basically just you're really like this is overkill. I don't think that this is something that you really need to be talking about. I think that this isn't you should just stop. This seems like something that isn't worth talking about.
And I remember at the time being taken aback, because that's the whole point, right. Is that it's so integrated into. And so like you ubiquitous within our community that that was something that, you know, it felt like, and this could just be me projecting, I guess, but it felt like he was taking on that you are too emotional because you're a woman, like you're, you're being too sensitive about these things. Which was something that I thought was interesting and, and just came to mind now actually.
Lyle Wiley: I think I'll move on to the next statement. And this one will direct, we'll start with Layla. So on a scale of one to five, how much do you think this is true or how much is it true to you?
My race affects how my judge evaluates me as a competitor.
Leila Sandlin: Honestly I didn't, I couldn't recall any specific instances where this was very apparent to me or my experience. But it did come to mind that I think having a name that doesn't necessarily look very quote unquote ethnic seemed to, to affect like how the judge introduced themselves to me and also allowed themselves to perceive my performance.
Just because I think that I have peers and stuff that, that have found that. they have different expectations from judges as far as their proficiency in English or any accents, just based on the fact that they have a name that, that doesn't necessarily look like an American name, whatever that may mean.
So as far as that affecting my performance in my assessment, it never really did. I did get the typical comments out from judges like, oh, where are you really from? Or like what brought you to Wyoming or things like that, that kind of aren't necessarily specific to speech, but, but more just like microaggressions against, I think people of color generally speaking.
Haley Lauze-Reyes: So yeah I'd really be interested to see how YuYu has to say on this one in regards to like the name thing, cuz until I left Wyoming, I had, again like a pretty American quote unquote name or at least a, not ethnic. so I'm more interested to see hear what YuYu has to say on that one.
YuYu Yuan: Yeah. I think it's like really interesting. I noticed it more when I was in Wyoming than when I was competing, like outside of the Wyoming circuit in California, where you have more people with like different names and of like D different ethnicities. So, and the judges were also very diverse as well. So it's not oh, I am like recognizing all of these different ethnicities in front of me.
And it's like odd if you're of a different ethnicity or if you weren't white. Right. But in Wyoming, particularly, I felt that. It could have affected my performance, affected the way that I was perceived, at least by the judge. At the time that I was competing, though, it didn't really feel like that my ethnicity really had anything to do with the way that I was competing or with the way that I was interacting with debate.
But I have read and heard stories about where in other schools maybe not in Wyoming, maybe in Wyoming, I'm not sure, but this was like in a different state where. Asian kids were told that they should be doing debate. And if they weren't doing debate and they were doing interf, it would be a waste of their time because of their ethnicity.
And of course, I think these conversations, weren't that, oh, it's cuz you're Asian, you should be doing debate, right? Like it's not that upfront, it's presented in a way where it feels like it's nothing about your race when in reality it has everything to do with your race and the stereotypes like associated with it.
So I've had heard horror stories about that happening and how it is extremely like a problem among certain schools in certain states. I've never personally experienced that either. So I feel very fortunate to have a very positive environment where my race didn't negatively affect the way that I was competing or performing or my perception to the judges.
However, I will say that like on the interp side, I think. it is a little bit more noticeable just because the topics that I was discussing was very much related to like my identity and my race. So like for example, I did a PO about basically hate towards Asian American women and like the sexualization of Asian American women and Asian women just in general.
And that is very much like noticeable, but that's something that I want to be noticed because it is specific to my identity. And also something that I really wanted to get across to the judges. And I think that's when judges really took notice, but I don't think it really had negative effects with some, with most judges.
I think some judges might be like, oh, it's kind of like very specific. I don't really know if I can relate to that. And that would just be more male judges rather than like female judges. But also like with my oratory when I did like my oratory about names and kind of just oh, my name is you, you, because it has this meaningful background to it.
And my parents chose it for this particular reason. I also think people noticed it too. And I think that was probably where I get, you know, the majority of those quotes where it's just oh, you're Asian. What type of Asian, but it was never really like prominent in any of the balance that I got.
The comments that I got on my ballots were really positive and it's really powerful that you're like both uplifting your own identity and your culture when you're performing these pieces. So, yeah, I think it's mixed in conclusion.
Haley Lauze-Reyes: I mean, it's good to know that no one in Wyoming was at least outwardly trying to be racist to us.
That's great. I don't think I ranked this one very high as, as it affected me just because I'm mixed and I know I'm white passing. . So if anything, it was more of a surprise for judges. When I did say something that really I guess like only like other Latinos would know about, because that's not what they usually expect out of me when they see me.
They kind of see like a white person, if anything, like this became even less of an issue, or I guess more of an issue in college when I went to compete at U N L V against people who like a large variety of people from different races and ethnic cultures, because I was even then more white in the face of people who were more ethnic than me.
So I got coded a lot as not having the authority to speak about culture or race because I, I was assumed to be white. So that got frustrating. I got very worked up in a lot of debates because I was being told you're white. When I, I know I'm like, kind of, but I'm not entirely white. That's not a true statement to me, but in Wyoming, it wasn't really that bad, thankfully.
Leila Sandlin: I was gonna say, I think it's interesting because having gone to college with a more diverse racial landscape, I think that something that I noticed or like looking back on it retrospectively is that I personally, like when I think of myself, I don't necessarily characterize, I'm not like, well, I'm a Chinese woman.
Right. But I think that it can be kind of pretty explicitly made apparent by like how people interact with you. Just generally speaking that you're not just a woman, you are like a woman of color. Right. Which is something that I think that a lot of people take for granted, because I was just going to say that like the opposite Haley for you, of having to like, mitigate that kind of facet of your like racial identity happened to me because it was like, when you're around like a, a pretty homogenous landscape racially, and then moving vice versa or back and forth.
It's just kind of an interesting way to really reflect on how previous interactions affected your racial identity then, and also how it's evolved or, or how you feel like you've grown within your, your own racial identity.
Haley Lauze-Reyes: Yeah, it's really wild. I've talked a lot about this, just like among friends and stuff, but being mixed race is such a weird conundrum in its own way because you're neither one or the other, but you're also expected to be both at the same time.
And because like you can't, I guess people expect you to justify it. That you're one or the other or both. So you I've always existed this place where I have to be the most Latinx person as the same time as being the most white person in a room to feel like I fit in and you're never. you never, you never, you're never colored enough to hang out with the other people of color, but you're also not white enough to hang out with the white people.
So it's always a weird place to be at that. I didn't really find peace with until I moved somewhere where there was more people like me and I actually debated with a girl and at university of Nevada, Las Vegas, who was the exact same background as me. She was half Mexican, half French. And it was really something to find that I didn't didn't meet someone like that until I was in my twenties.
But to find someone like that and doing the same speech and debate stuff that I did was really free to know, there's someone else out there that likes that is like me and gets it.
Leila Sandlin: Yeah. I think like what you're saying, like being adopted into a white family is kind of similar, right? Because it's culturally speaking, you, you identify with you know, American, like I would consider myself like fully an American person, but obviously like to the person walking down the street or to a judge walking into a competition room, that's just not the case.
Because. You know, I, I don't, I'm not white. Right. Obviously whatever. And so I think that it's you're saying very validating and, and great to be able to, to meet other people who have similar backgrounds as you, and also being able to talk about what that necessarily means for how you feel about yourself and how you feel about interacting with either culture or groups of people.
YuYu Yuan: Yeah. I think like I've had similar experiences and just kind of been like outside of the debate space in a sense. Just because I, I have a Asian family there, like we're Chinese, we immigrated from China, but at the very same time we were living in a very like white neighborhood.
That's like very American. And so it was like a very like identity shift, like questioning my identity a little bit. And that's why I feel more comfortable identifying as Asian American rather than just like Chinese, because I, I, I know like I am from China and I'm Chinese, but I don't feel that way because that isn't my experience and it's not like what I grew up with.
And so that's like very interesting. I am very curious though, Haley cuz I know that is like very tough just in general, like having to justify your own ID identity to like a group of people. But I also wonder how that made you feel if you've ever been in like a K round where it is like critiquing identity and like critiquing specifically like white identity.
And I wondered if like you've ever been in those rounds or like you heard of anything that has happened that particular situation and how that kind of like interacts with the way that you had felt and like you would deal with it.
Haley Lauze-Reyes: I almost wish I would've had been in a debate like that somewhere in high school or college, like that never did come up, I think because it wasn't until I told people what my background was that kind of by then, the opportunity to pull a K like that is kind of lost.
What, back when I was in high school, there was a topic for a year on the CX circuit where it was about increasing diplomatic engagements with Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela at the time. So kinda Latin American places and where I'm from actually, or where my family's from in Mexico. And that's something we were able to talk about.
And I got very passionate about that topic because I leaned really hard into doing things on Mexico, cuz in a way it made me felt like I could do something for a place where my family is from or that's really important to me. And a lot of com other competitors and judges would get confused by that passion or they expect this justification, like why.
So hard into this topic and then I'd have to explain like, well, this is where my family is from. I'd know this place I've been to these places. And then it would click like, oh, like now I see it now. I it's as soon as you tell 'em that what your background is as a mixed race person, then it clicks, but they don't really doesn't click with them until they're told what the makeup is.
And they're like, oh yeah, I knew that, but they really didn't know that.
Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. That kind of sucks.
Lyle Wiley: So I think we'll shift gears just a little bit. This next statement's gonna be directed back to, to Haley and it's, it's more generally like when you were in your speech debate community specifically, could you be honest or I, you know, on a scale of one to five, I can be honest about how I feel to my teammates and my coaches.
Haley Lauze-Reyes: Yeah. This is in high school. This was a five. I felt really comfortable. I was very lucky in green over. To have the coaches and the teams that I did that were very supportive in a really, really tight-knit community in green, over that changed a lot to almost a tour, a one when I left for college and I had a lot of success, especially at community college, but I didn't have the same tight knit team.
I didn't have the same kind of coaching staff. I had one coach and that was a really problematic situation that I still am working through, dealing with emotionally to this point in my life, and then taking it on to university. I was a walk on senior at university. So I was coming into a team that was already pretty established.
The people I was debating with have known each other for years already. And I had a coaching staff that didn't know me well, and I don't think was gonna take the time to get to know me well, because I was gonna be leaving in six, nine months anyway, so that sucked, but high school, I was very, very lucky and I think that's gonna be the same thing too, as.
This answer is really dependent on where you competed at and who was in that community at the time. Cause even these things can change over time, too, where a team that is a five can be a one later down the line.
Leila Sandlin: Yeah, I think that I had a similar experience in high school. I was really fortunate, like when I was a freshman to have captains who were very welcoming, you took a lot of time to usher us into the team as freshmen and also Londe and Frau you know, they're great.
We love them. You know, they do so much for the Jackson team and also just Wyoming speech and debate generally speaking. So I think that it's always been really easy to talk to them about things, not only concerning speech and debate, but also just life. And it felt like they were really invested in our wellbeing.
And I think that as far as like team members go, I was, I was also really fortunate just to have a lot of friends who I still speak to today. I actually just called one of my former teammates, like earlier today, because I wanted to tell her that I was doing this. And so I think that it's just, it's really fortunate that I was, I was able to have that, I think that speech and debate also just as a community fosters that kind of close, communicative environment, at least in high school, I can't really speak to, to the college situation, but I think that especially from Wyoming, since there's so few of us it was really easy to just be able to make friends across teens and across schools like that.
YuYu Yuan: Yeah. I think like echoing what it's just been said. I was also very fortunate to be in a very friendly community. We were all so like supportive of each other. And I think it just felt like family, like a second family and the shout out to the coaching staff, obviously of ch high school with like vine Pinot prep and like Jeff and Ashley, like all of them were so great at kind of just listening to the kids and really understanding like what exactly it is that was going wrong or what exactly it is that they need to do or want to do.
And like really listening to us and making us feel comfortable in the community that we were in. And I also just think like generally whenever I went to Wyoming tournaments, it also felt the same way where I felt comfortable talking to other team members from other teams and we would still be able to kind of like support each other and have those conversations and become friends and stuff like that.
I think definitely though it did get harder to be more of a community during COVID. And like competing during that, it was just, sometimes it was just really hard to kind of get the team together and to kind of like have those moments where you are all together and are all suffering through the same sleep deprived competition day on the weekends and things like that, where it became more individualized, because we were really just like competing online and staying at home and saying safe. I think it got harder during COVID, but I do very much think that the team now has developed more of a community as we are able to integrate back into in person and have like more of those experience together. Yeah, I don't really know, like on the college circuit, how it really is, I guess it also team to team where you are, what college. But the reason why I kind of wanna get back into speech and debate in college was because of that sense of community where it made me feel safe and empowered and just it's just good to have a group of people that, you know, and can hang out with too.
Haley Lauze-Reyes: I wonder if this sense of community I get. Cause I don't, I don't feel like this answers in any way related to my gender or my back ethnic background, at least in the sense of in high school. And I think that's so because in high school speech and debate, it's a really formative time, like we're like in the throes of becoming adults and that's really weird for anybody, but for all of us to kind of do it together with this similar interest of talking about something that we're passionate about round around with each other, I think gives us kind of that across the board five for all of our teens, I think it's just because we're all weird teenagers and to be hanging out with other weird teenagers, there's like a sense of freeness to that.
I think that's why going into college. It was so different. So I was expecting that community of people who were going through these same changes I were, and it really wasn't the same, cuz like when you go to college, it's not just the same 16 year olds who are dealing with like boys and what am I gonna wear?
And like the kind of like general teenage issues. There's like real adults in college, like people in their thirties, forties, fifties in college who are on the debate circuit. So it can be hard find those same commonalities that we do in high school. So
Lyle Wiley: I'm gonna direct this next statement to YuYu you start it out. So when you were competing if you had a concern or interaction with another competitor, and this could be like, in the context of your coach or the director or the tournament, or whoever, someone who was in charge, would that situation be taken seriously?
YuYu Yuan: I think it like depends on the situation, but I do feel like if it was like a very severe situation in which there was like gross comments being made in the debate space that were like blatantly sexist or racist, it would be taken seriously.
And I think that's just because of the makeup of coaches who are on the higher end administrative side who do care and don't want those comments to be spread and passed around and they will take that claim seriously. But in terms of just like other circuits, I'm not necessarily sure if it would be taken seriously, because I've had heard stories about where there was gross misconduct on the judge's side or on the competitor's side where like they weren't being adequately addressed or nothing even happened at all.
And it was like very horrible environment for those competitors and was something that kind of made those competitors quit. So I feel like very fortunate to be in the Wyoming circuit with coaches who do actually care about the safety and the emotions of their kids and the amount of comfort that they feel when they're competing as well.
Cuz I think they very much care about the way that we are feeling when we are competing and have like very set values in how they want that experience to be for these kids.
Haley Lauze-Reyes: This answer for me in high school, would've been a five, like shouts out to Dan Parson and the lake Karina white, like there, I don't think were any other better coaches I could have had in those kind of, in that part of my life than them.
They cared so much about every person on the team that they had. And every person in the whole circuit for them was a big deal. So I feel like anything I could've told them would've been taken seriously. And for that, I'm like really, really grateful, to have those kind of people in my life. In college, I, this can go past a one like negatives into zeros.
That's where it would've been, which is really unfortunate. Like my experience debating college was pretty poor because the places I was having problems with was from the people I should have been able to trust the most. And I think that comes from my position as a woman and as a woman coming from Wyoming.
And there's this. Sensitive like naiveness that comes with being from like a small town and that got taken advantage of from the people that I should have been felt should have been made to make me feel safe. So that was like really, really hard and really challenged. A lot of the ways I saw myself as a competitor am I like worthy to compete as a person?
Or am I here as a woman? And just to be looked at. And sometimes even my coach was in the room when some of these comments were being made from other coaches or competitors or judges and nothing was done about it. So, I mean, ouch, that was not fun. Zero. I'm so sorry to hear that.
Leila Sandlin: Yeah, I, I can't imagine. I was going to say there, you know, I, I, I feel like my experience in, in high school debate was, or speech was. Fairly positive that, you know, any, I was fortunate enough not to have any, any serious altercation with another competitor that would've needed to be addressed with any kind of higher administration.
Which is nice. But I think that sometimes it, felt like if someone were to make a passive comment that could be more implicitly interpreted as like sexist or racist, et cetera, that people would just be like, well, well, you know, I'm sure it's not, it's not that bad or, or, or whatever. And obviously they don't intend to undermine the severity of, of whatever it was or invalidate anybody's feelings, but it's just kind of baked into the, the culture and environment that I think Wyoming at large kind of just has around gender and racial diversity.
As far as like conduct of, of, of people, of competitors, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I, I also kind of think that the standards at which people are being held for conduct are different based on their, their sex and gender. Just because, you know, as you guys were saying earlier, as far as debate rounds go males can, can get away with being much more overtly aggressive towards their competitors, both in and out of the round and be even praised for that.
Which shouldn't necessarily be the case, obviously. And so that's something that I think should be more explicitly addressed within administration and, and coaching staffs and stuff.
YuYu Yuan: Yeah, I think it's really interesting how, like our Wyoming experiences have been like fairly positive and coaches like really show that they care and they put in a lot of effort.
And I don't know, I think this is not real data, but I think statistically, it feels like Wyoming is like better. Most places. I remember like coaching last year for Redwood middle school and the kids are kind of just oh, we've never really had a coach that like cared as much as you, or like we've felt so comfortable being around as much as you.
And I was like, oh, like this isn't normal to have like supportive coaches dealing with kids. Cuz I feel like when you are dealing with kids and you're a coach of speech and debate with kids who are like still figuring out their own identity and like figuring out their place in the world, you almost necessarily need to have someone who is going to be compassionate and who will care about your needs and how you are feeling when you are competing.
Because just of the general way that, speech and debate is set up and structured where we are talking about a lot of sensitive topics with people. But I think is really unfortunate that on the college circuit, like you've had such bad experiences, Haley and I think it just maybe turns into something a little bit more different, I guess, is what it sounds like when you're in college.
Cuz it just sounds like these things like the things that you're experiencing in high school just kind of disappear when you're in college.
Haley Lauze-Reyes: I think I would agree with that, like the college circuit and not to say like my college experience was bad. That's not to say that every college team is bad.
There are amazing college teams. And I got to know some really awesome people from those places. I had a pretty poor draw of the hand when it came to what I was Dell in college. But I think the expectation of what happens in college does change from what's in high school, there from, it goes from being like doing this because you want to, or trying to do this for a scholarship or to get into a different school to people are doing this to get into like prestigious law schools.
There's a higher sense of. Of, I guess, pressure in the college circuit to perform because a lot, it feels like a lot more is writing on that. It's less, more, it's less for the sake of doing this because you want to, or you wanna get outta your shell. And people are here in college to really try to tear something up and make something for themselves.
This is where it starts for a lot of like really serious lawyers in college. And they're getting ready for that. I wanted to talk though about like, why I think again, like Wyoming is great and like why we have this awesome sense of community here. And I think it's because our coaching staff in Wyoming stay in Wyoming, they're around forever.
If you think of coaches like even yours, like Londe's been around forever, Prev's been around forever. Even Lyle has been in this, in this circuit longer than I've been out of it, or before I got into it we have a lot of coaches who come into Wyoming and then stay in Wyoming. So you really get to know your teams and you care a lot about them because you've been so attached to this school and the people who are on.
And what I'm seeing now is we're getting a lot of people who graduate from a Wyoming, the debate program, go to college and then come back to coach a Wyoming debate program after college. So we just kind of have this continuous cycle of people who really, really, really care about this sport and the people on their teams.
And that's why I think, like we had this awesome sense of community here where we can say things and they are taken seriously.
Lyle Wiley: I think we'll go to our next statement and this one I'm gonna direct at Layla, and then we can take off from there, but Layla, are there specific barriers and challenges that you've encountered as a racial minority and woman in the speech and debate world? Would you like to explain and describe those kinds of barriers and challenges?
Leila Sandlin: So the most prevalent that I could think of, and I think the one that most. Greatly affected. My experience was the one of dress. Just because I like, from the very beginning, I remember doing like a practice tournament at Jackson hole, high school as a 14 year old and getting a ballot back from who would be my peer in a couple weeks saying your skirt's too short.
That's really distracting. Like maybe you wanna check that next time. Like you wanna make sure you're dressing more appropriately for, for competition. And at, at the time I was like pretty ashamed of what had happened. Like I was just not really sure of what was going on, but, but that ended up being a theme throughout my whole high school experience of just having to overcome, looking on professional for some reason, as arbitrary as like my shoulders being shown when I'm not wearing a blazer when I'm competing or having my hair down and having those things obstruct, what I was trying to say and convey with my performance.
And that came from judges and coaches sometimes even where they would, you know, and it's always well intending, right? Like they always want to make sure that you succeed and, and oftentimes in their mind that typically has to do with how you're dressing. But I remember I had a teammate when I was a sophomore who got in really big trouble with her coach because she was wearing red lipstick and that shouldn't necessarily be something that, that makes or breaks around for anyone just because it's, first of all, personal expression also has nothing to do with the content of anybody's performance or debate at all.
And it shouldn't undermine those things. So that was something that, that really came to mind as far as a barrier that I think is specific towards like female presenting people in speech and debate.
Haley Lauze-Reyes: I think a barrier I had was something in myself about, especially having like female judges where I, there were judges I had problems with and I would ask them to be struck from the major competitions, like net quals and state, because I thought they had a problem with me. And that's because like they had judged me what I thought was harshly, or I thought they didn't like me when that probably wasn't the case.
It was probably because I just wasn't debating the way I should have been debating for them. But I had overcome a lot of my own, I guess, biases. Like I was expecting from these judges to nurture and coddle me as a woman. Like I wanted them to be like, I wanted to think that we were allies cause we're both women and that's not the case.
Like they're here to judge me, I'm here to compete. And then I had my feelings hurt because they weren't meeting that expectation that I had set up for them in my own mind. , which is also weird because I would get frustrated when I would be competing and someone would be like, I like your shoes.
And I would think to myself on the ballot don't comment about my shoes. Tell me if I told a link story. Right. I mean, so it's just hard. I guess my own barrier is myself in deconstructing, like who I was as a person, as a woman debating and who my judges were and separating the fact that they're women and I shouldn't be placing this expectation that they need to be nice to me because if I'm here to be aggressive, I should, I guess, allow them the, the freedom to also judge me aggressively.
YuYu Yuan: Yeah. I think like a barrier that I would say is kind of how I mean, this is not in any negative way or shape or form. I think this is just because of how debate is structured and set up. We kind of have to adapt in that way, but coaches. peers. Judges tell you what you can and can't do.
Because of the fact that you're a woman, because of the fact that you're female presenting or because of the fact of like other identity based issues. And. I think like recently I've had qualms about it just with the way that we are dealing with these barriers that present themselves in the speech and debate community is that we're saying, oh, there's barriers that just change the way you're doing something and then it'll be fixed.
But that's not how things get fixed or that's not how things get addressed, right. Because if you adapt to the way that it is set up where it is like sexist, or it's not like as open as it should be, then it's going to stay that way because we're not really changing anything about it. We're actually just doing the thing that makes it what it is.
And I think like recently that's been a big qual of mind in terms of the speech and debate community is how we tell each other, like what we should do, what we shouldn't do in competitions so that we can get the win or we can get the one or we can win the ballot. Wow. You shouldn't wear that skirt or you shouldn't really do your makeup this way because it's a little too intense or maybe you shouldn't dye your hair because that might be very off putting towards judges and could give them different ways to view you as a competitor.
And like you're not serious at all, which are all like appearance based, but also I've had comments where there, with where like coaches and peers are like, okay, maybe you should calm down. Or maybe you shouldn't have said that in the round because of your background and because of like how the judges viewed you as a competitor.
Leila Sandlin: I also think, I think this has to do with earlier what you was saying about like stereotypes having to do with associating with like women and also various, ethnic groups. But having to subvert those, or almost like using the language haley said earlier, like validate. My ability to suffer these stereotypes in a performance as far as how well I'm doing or how I present myself or, or the way that you carry yourself. Like I remember you know, I was in a, a female male duo team, and I think that oftentimes we would carry ourselves the exact same way into a competition or into a round. And then we would get different feedback based on the fact that like he he's male presenting and UN female presenting, you know, it's just like one of those things that kind of, is just, it's just really baked in. Yeah.
Lyle Wiley: I think we gonna move on to the next question and we're gonna talk about. Aggressiveness in debate specifically, I wanna read you a quick quote from a study that you probably saw in the questions, but this was from Alan George Abbott. He did a study using PF public forum debate data, and this is what he found.
So he says these results indicate that when counting only the ballots containing criticisms, males are told to be more aggressive or are praised for their dominance. On 57% of the ballots, they were critiqued for their demeanor on only 43% of the ballots when evaluating the amount of times aggressive or dominant were written by the judges and on the whole males were encouraged to be more aggressive, but conversely females were told to be less aggressive on 94% of the ballots and were told to be more dominant on 6% of the ballots that were analyzed.
So we're gonna start with you on this one, Hailey. What are your thoughts on this study's results? Have you experienced anything similar on your own ballots or in your experience as a female speech and debate competitor?
Haley Lauze-Reyes: That's interesting. I can't speak to PF. I didn't do that, but 94, that's a shocking number to be told.
And I mean, I, I, it's almost a, not that judges should be writing that you should be less aggressive, but there is some comfort knowing that like 94% of these girls are at least seemingly to be fighting for their spot in the round. And they're not conforming to this expectation of being nice, I guess. So there's like some comfort in that.
I hope those girls are not listening to those ballots, but it does suck to get a ballot back that says to be less aggressive, especially when you think you're not being aggressive in that round. My thing in high school is I always would track down my judges after every round and ask them for their feedback.
Like I couldn't wait until I got the balance back on the bus. Like I wanted to know right now, what can I do better? So I can take that immediately into the next round instead of, instead of having to wait to take it to the next tournament. and I had a judge once, and this is when I was debating with my sister.
The one I said was very aggressive and he called her a rotweiler like, that was the words he used. He's you should maybe consider speaking last, cuz I was the first speaker, both on both the, on the affirmative and the negative. He said, you should consider speaking last because right now she's speaking last and she leaves this really bad taste in your mouth because she's coming in like a Rottweiler.
And I thought that is, I mean, it's not first off. It's not good to be comparing women to dogs in any capacity, but also that's such an a bold statement to make and to my face too, which was really wild. We did not take his advice and we did qualify for nationals, but yeah yikes, that was something to hear as like a 17, 18 year old kid.
YuYu Yuan: I think like that stat doesn't surprise me. Just like knowing how everything is structured in debate and like ourselves, like experiencing those statistics, like really like in our debate careers. But like personally I feel that every time I've gone to a round or every time that I was like doing debate, I've had to pull myself back or I've had to like mentally tell myself.
And I remember like mentally telling myself, okay, I can't be aggressive. I can't be like super loud or like super expressive because it's gonna look bad. And that was something like I told myself because it was something that I heard or just learned or knew as like a debater throughout my whole career was that like, you shouldn't be loud and aggressive.
You shouldn't be Like super, super duper I guess, excited or emotional, because it would be perceived poorly by the judges and the judges would vote you down for that or would dock your speaks for that. And that was just something that I like carried personally. And I think it's also something that I'm still trying to get over in terms of no, I can be aggressive in the way that I debate.
I can be like emotional and loud in just like normal conversations, but also in the way that I can debate generally. And that's not something that should be punished and that's not something that like, should be told to be like restrained or like something you shouldn't do. And things like that. I've also had like teammates who've experienced similar comments from judges where they're like, okay, you're being too aggressive here.
Or like when I was in a. Female female partnership. Like we would just talk to each other and be like, are we being too aggressive? And have this conversation sometimes mid round if like we were being too aggressive and kind of be a check on each other. So that the judges wouldn't perceive us as too aggressive of a team or doc our speaks or give us the loss because we were being too loud, too aggressive or too mean in terms of like how we were debat.
Lyle Wiley: I'm gonna read you a quote from Cynthia Timmons who wrote this in a victory brief blog that was about perspectives on women debate sort of a history column. She wrote she's a coach and a debater for, for many years, but she wrote that I believe the real change resides in opening of shared dialogue and use of social media to let women know that they do not have to suffer in silence, nor are they isolated.
I believe that there is now more awareness, more publicity and higher expectation of appropriate behavior toward all participants in the activity. So this is directed at YuYu to start the conversation. What are your thoughts on this quote? And then how can a community of support be built for female and racially diverse debaters?
And what about the speech and debate community members who are in a racial minority? Do you think a community's like being built now? What are your thoughts on this.
YuYu Yuan: I definitely think it varies like where you are in which state that you're in, but I do very much like resonate with a quote that I do think there's more awareness about these issues and about the way that it's making competitors feel on the circuit that like about the way that it affects the circuit in general.
And so I think because of the awareness and because that people are speaking out on social media and are sharing stories with each other, there is generally a community that is built around that. Whether that be close knit in proximity, or just like by communication because of like social media and like all the tools available to us to connect with each other, I think community is being built.
However, I do think that within debate itself, or like within speech and debate itself, there could be things done that are like more things could be done to kind of advance. Just more inclusivity and like equity.
Haley Lauze-Reyes: I think we're onto something building a community in Wyoming. Like even the existence of this podcast is proof that we're working on building a community and that's something really awesome about there's still this part of it. That's not quite there. I mean, that's why we're having this discussion on this because there is an issue. And I think the quote is right.
Like we're aware that there's an issue. It it's such a difficult issue to tackle because there's so many moving parts to the issue. I almost think it be like they have the Wyoming coaches association and they have all the coaches go to the summit every year before the season starts. And they can have really cool conversations about what they're gonna see and what the culture of the season should be.
They would almost be neat if we had that same kind of opportunity for students as well, to be able to meet with each other before the season and talk about issues that we saw last season, how can we overcome them this season and what are kind of strides we wanna make in this upcoming season? Now, something like that would be really neat, especially if we can get like a group of women and the racial minority women in Wyoming together to talk about those things outside of the regular competition.
Yeah. I think it'd be important for this kind of this, this image I have in my mind of Wyoming students getting together and talking about how we can be better. I think it's really important for that to exist outside of a competition space, because it's not that we can't have these competition or conversations at a, at a to.
but the nature of the tournament is so different. And so many people are doing so many things that people who really should be in those conversations, maybe can't be because they are doing multiple rounds per pattern or multiple events per pattern. And I think it takes the pressure off of them outside of a tournament space to have these conversations where the whole purpose is that here we are here to be allies, instead of we're here to be competitors.
So that later we can be competitors and allies at the same time after having these kind of discussions with each other.
Lyle Wiley: I wanna direct this one at Haley to start, but what are some of your ideas of ways that male coaches and competitors can be allies for women in the speech and debate community?
Haley Lauze-Reyes: Yeah, I think first off, like you need to listen to the girls on your team. That's a huge thing. And take their issues very seriously. I think it's really easy for us to discount the things that high school girls say, because we're equating that to they're in high school, they're young, they're immature, but like a lot of, lot of women in high school and especially women in speech and debate, like there's a lot of thought and thoughtfulness of the things that they're saying.
And a lot of these things don't really come from a place of like irrationality. Like these people have thought about these things and why they're feeling this way. So I think it's really important for coaches, especially male coaches to take a step back and listen and like really listen and not think about what the response is gonna be to like what these girls think are issues, how we can come about solving those issues and the ideas they have to improve on the infrastructure of the community that we already have.
I think that's gonna be really huge is we, I think these male coaches need to take a step back and hear us. I think it's gonna be a game changer. For girls across the state and across the entire speech and debate community.
YuYu Yuan: Yeah. I hundred percent agree with that. I think like listening is really powerful because not only does it, make us feel heard and make us feel like we are like being heard and also like just not being ignored.
And because like you've listened, like there is understanding and there is like connection between like male competitors and female competitors to create conversations and create like more inviting atmospheres and environments in the speech and debate community. I also think like another thing that we could start doing and to be allies is to maybe.
No, like not saying comments like, oh, I think maybe this judge just didn't vote for you because of the way that you were acting in the round. Right. Because those comments can also make us feel small and ignored because it feels like it's something that we are doing that we have absolutely no control over because it's just the way that we are like debating and talking in the ground.
I think there's obviously sometimes it's very hard because there's a delicate balance between when you are very, very rude and out of line versus when you are just, you know, debating. But I do think a good step to start is to listen and to make comments afterwards about oh, maybe it is actually just that you are being rude and you are presenting yourself in a very bad fashion, versus if it's.
Not your fault. It's something that the judge perceived and it's not like those judges' comments should be ignored because they are not correct. And they're not in the right, in the way that they should affect you as a debater, as a competitor in speech and debate. And I think that could be also very helpful in terms of being my allies.
Yeah. I think it's also important for these coaches to involve themselves in literature about gender and queer studies and like where women exist in different spaces, competitively, professionally, what have you? I think those are really, I think those are really important. I think they should be involved in themselves more in reading female authors, like hearing the female perspective, not just from their competitors too, but like people who have been there done that and done more too past the speech and debate community, I think it's gonna be really important.
Yeah. I think I would agree with that and I feel if we are more open to reading like K literature and teaching K literature, that's a really great way of exposing coaches and exposing competitors to this type of literature that talks about this in a like well rounded, interdisciplinary way that gives you more understanding about how these things are interacting with one another and creating such spaces that are inherently sexist or inherently racist.
And I think it would be like good just to expose coaches and competitors into a lot of the critical literature that I've been exposed to in college. I remember like reading these authors and being like, oh my gosh, that makes a lot of sense and is I can relate to it. And I can like, see how, what they're writing about and how they're like writing about race and gender and how that interacts with each other manifests in the real world.
And I feel like that's. Also very powerful and a good way to start informing yourself. That is more than just general awareness of all of the issues that female competitors or female identifying competitors are
Lyle Wiley: facing. I'll let you start this one. If you were talking to a younger racial minority girl who was interested in speech and debate, what are some things that you might tell them?
What are some pieces of advice you might give them?
YuYu Yuan: Yeah, I think I would tell her debate like, hell, you know, because I think that this is just an experience that you should make for yourself and something that you should feel very empowered in doing, when you're doing speech and debate. And so.
I would tell them to debate to your heart's content. Don't listen to any of the judges that are like, you are being too loud and you're not doing what women should be doing in debate, or like what you should be doing in debate because of your background and your race and ethnicity. And you shouldn't let coaches or peers pressure you into doing certain things that kind of hinder your ability to express yourself and to feel empowered in a community that is supposed to be empowering. So I definitely would encourage that younger competitor.
Haley Lauze-Reyes: So I, I agree with that. Like I think people, especially a woman and a minority should really hold on to their identity and really speak that kind of truth in the rounds that they're in. And don't really let people decide, especially as a mixed race person, decide what your ethnic background is like if they think you're one and you're not that thing.
Tell them. I am not that. And I am actually this and command that respect. And I think another thing is I wouldn't, I would tell a young woman to not allow a judge's words to feel like law. Like just because a judge says you're being aggressive, you're being catty. You're being this way or another, that it's not necessarily true.
And you probably shouldn't have to change for that judge, because there's a chance you're never gonna get that judge. Again, sometimes judges are just wrong. Like a judge who told me that my partner was a Rottweiler is wrong and it showed because we ended up qualifying for nationals that year and don't take everything to heart with them.
Like they're people too.
YuYu Yuan: Yeah. A hundred percent. And I also think because this is high school and you're still trying to figure yourself and you obviously don't know who you are yet. Or if you do what's good for you. But I think just remember that other people. At that time. And at that age, do you have the ability to kind of shape you?
And that's something that you should definitely be aware about, but also remember that you are powerful in the way that you can shape yourself and be perceived just by your own actions, by your own choice of who you wanna be and what you want to do in the debate space or outside of the debate space too.
Haley Lauze-Reyes: Yeah. I think comments about the way you conduct yourself or the way that you dress are just opinions and they don't need to be given anymore weight, then they deserve which generally, especially if they're about like, if your skirt is too short or your hair is down your lipstick's red, or if you're being too mean to the other competitor, like the weight that those carry is very, very.
Lyle Wiley: I have another question for you this one, and we'll start with Hailey. So what are some ideas that you have for making the activity more inclusive?
Haley Lauze-Reyes: That's a good question. I mean, speech and debate about making that ex inclusive is a difficult question to answer because it's so broad and a lot of speech and debate circuits operate pretty independently of each other.
I mean, speaking from the one I know how to speak from, which is just Wyoming, I think to make it more inclusive, we just have to get the message out there more. I don't think we are I guess spreading the message of this is something that anybody can do as good as we can in a lot of schools.
I think a lot about this when I was coaching at Torrington high school and how we had Aaron Loya who was a walk on senior who was doing speech and debate because he due to injuries, he couldn't do the sports. He, he normally could during that time, And he was a real rock star for the year that he was able to do it.
I wish he would've done it more years than that, but that's someone we never would've got, had he not been injured and had he not heard the message that this is something he's able to do. I think getting more perspectives from people, more people from different backgrounds, even like different activities.
Like they all bring something really, really valuable to that. So I think we just need to encourage that speech and debate is for everybody.
YuYu Yuan: Yeah. And I would agree with that. I think getting that message out is also really important, but I also think I feel like Wyoming does a pretty good job already of like meeting with each other and having these conversations.
But I would also like more conversations between coaching staff and like their competitors, because I think like sometimes these conversations are had one on one, but they're not really had in like a big community group where you have like other people who. Are of similar backgrounds and have similar experiences talking about this very issue.
And I think like having more of those discussions is like really important for making Wyoming like more inclusive. I also think like just generally to make circuits more inclusive, there needs to be more connection and dialogue between schools and like between competitors who compete at different schools or do just like different things, because that is where you get the most knowledge.
And that's where you get the most I guess just experiences to really tell you what it's really and how it has affected them. And I think that's really important in making the space more inclusive is to know how it's not inclusive.
Haley Lauze-Reyes: I'm telling you student summit once a year. It's I think it would be so fun for everybody.
I think we'd get a lot of things out of it. And to that. The student government association of Wyoming already does that, like every kind of student body, or like the leaders of the student body, of every single school in Wyoming, get together once a year to talk about what they're doing and get feedback and ideas from others.
I don't see why speech and debate should be any different.
Lyle Wiley: So this question is for Layla, should the, NSDA do more to address concerns about inequality and speech and debate. And also, what, what about Wyoming do you think they're doing okay. Is there anything that we can do in Wyoming to improve as well?
Leila Sandlin: So I think that, you know, there's always things that can be done. As far as addressing inequities and inequality within a community as far as the NSDA goes and speech and debate, I think that, you know, it takes for granted a lot of its framework when it considers, who is able to succeed as far as operating within this kind of circuit.
Like I remember competing in nationals, it felt like as a person of color and as a woman, if you weren't speaking about a problem that didn't directly affect either of those facets of your identity, then you would be considered like a, not a serious competitor or your piece would not be considered as legitimate for whatever reason.
And I think that that kind of speaks towards the attitude of like judges and also I, I can't necessarily say like the administration or, or, or whomever with an NSDA as far as like their attitudes towards that. But I think that it's, it's something to notice that as far as if we want to talk about equality and equity within the community that, that you shouldn't pigeonhole people into their respective identity facets, or project your own assumptions on how they feel or how they should feel or interpret their own.
identity within Wyoming, I think it's kind of the same thing, but on a smaller scale, like I think we've spoken about this before, but Wyoming has an exceptionally tight knit and communicative environment that I think is not necessarily seen, unfortunately, within other states that have larger populations.
And I think that's, you know, having to do with the fact like Haley was saying that, that we have coaches that are around forever and students who decide to come back after graduating to coach. And that's just like really fantastic because you can pass down experiences and knowledge about these things to better address it. But you know, similarly
I think that something concrete is that judges typically I think it's great that our community members from various cities are willing and able to, to come and help us, but that sometimes they're inexperience I guess for lack of a better word, just inexperience, sometimes having to do with dealing with confronting the issues that that students are bringing up in their pieces can, can lead to some repercussions that shouldn't necessarily be fair and is not the fault of the student at all. And so those are just some general, I guess, like comments about, about the attitude of the speech and debate community. And also like what I think may be something to like address.
Lyle Wiley: So what is like one thing that you hope that the audience could kind of take away from this discussion?
Something that you hope that people that are listening to would hang onto after listening to this discussion?
YuYu Yuan: Yeah. I think one takeaway I would want listeners to have is to just remember that this is still an issue like women and women of color in debate. And in like just the speech of debate community have barriers that you need to combat.
And these issues still very much exist within the structure. And also within the people who are both judging coaching and competing. And I think realizing that this is still an issue that is ingrained within the way that we have done speech and debate is very important. Moving forward into what we can do to kind of combat that structure and make speech and debate more inclusive and more comfortable for competitors who are women and like women of color.
And just everybody in general, who competes in speech and debate.
Haley Lauze-Reyes: I hope anyone hearing this and especially young women and young women of color, hold on to that aggressiveness that these judges are telling you to let go of. I think that's really important to keep for the rest of your life. As you move into a college or a professional setting, That assertiveness, that kind of fight that you have is gonna be more important than ever.
It's it's really hard to get back. If you ever let it go. That's something I'm continuously working on is trying to get the same fight back that I had in high school. And it's really hard if I would've just kept it the whole time. I would probably be further at a, in a place than where I'm at now. So don't listen to your judges when they say to stop being aggressive, lean into it more, and it'll take you further than you can imagine.
Leila Sandlin: I think that, like having heard what Haley and you have had to say and how, you know, our experiences are well similar and, and different. I don't have the, that kind of echo you know, other teammates that I've had and, and previous students and stuff, is that you, you shouldn't take for granted the comments that you're making as far as what you're assuming about a person's experience or abilities or identity, because like comments that you may think are totally harmless you know, won't be, and they, they can have some pretty damaging effects on, on future women and racial minorities, et cetera. And marginalized peoples who decide to participate in speech and debate. And so I guess just working actively to dismantle your own preconceptions about yourself and your own performance, and also being able to, to think about, and be empathetic about other people involved in the community.
Lyle Wiley: Thank you all so much for coming out and talking on the one, clap speech and debate podcast about equality in the speech and debate community. Thank you for your courage and your advocacy and your voice. It's really important that we have these conversations and I appreciate you being here.
YuYu Yuan: Yeah, thank you for having us.
Leila Sandlin: Thank you so much for having me. This was really great. Thank you, Hailey. And YuYu it was great hearing what y'all had to say too. It's always really great to be able to have a safe and open space to, to talk about things that, that are often just left under, under the radar, or articul for granted.
Haley Lauze-Reyes: Thank you for having us, like these are really important conversations to have, and it's really an honor to be someone who's getting to talk about this and hopefully other people get to hear it and take something away from it.
Be on the lookout for these upcoming episodes too: Riverton competitor Carolyn Benn-Thornton talks about the importance of Humor and her semifinalist run at NSDA Nationals, our third panel made up of Pétra Van Court, Kinlee Whitney, Carly Jo Huff, and Morgan Russell discusses Gender Bias and Seeking Equality in Speech and Debate, Zoey Pickett, Natrona County HS superstar and 2022 WHSFA Ambassador joined me to discuss Extemp and female leadership, and more.
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