The first Black female duo to win Harvard University’s summer debate competition hails from Atlanta

ATLANTA — Jayla Jackson and Emani Stanton are trailblazers. They are the first Black female duo to win the prestigious annual summer debate competition at Harvard University.

“It’s not just a victory for myself, but it’s a victory for the Harvard Diversity project, for my partner Jayla, for Mr. Fleming,” said Stanton.

Stanton and Jackson are students at North Atlanta High and Holy Innocents Episcopal.

In the international contest, the duo went 10 and 0. They were undefeated. The girls faced increasing challenges as they progressed round after round.

“We saw it more as a blessing and not a burden, and having that mindset allowed us to do so well,” said Stanton.

The girls are expert debaters and even jokingly participated in one about popular breakfast items during a recent interview.

Stanton makes a case for why pancakes are superior.

“Choosing pancakes over waffles is a vote for the prioritization of health contingent to accessibility,” said Stanton.


In response, Jackson made an argument for why waffles are superior.

“Waffles have been feeding humans since the 9th century, before our high-tech devices,” said Jackson.

The girls say that debate has been life-changing and a confidence builder.

“I question everything, and doing that has allowed me to create unique and diverse perspectives about the world,” said Jackson.

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