BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Across the country, strong opinions have been voiced about the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case. Such debates, as painful as they may be, shape our democracy.
Now, as Mike Schuh reports, students have come to a historic conference in Baltimore to be better prepared to voice their opinions.
Debate instructor Toya Green is somewhat of a rock star. High school audiences across the country are captivated as they listen to the most successful black woman in the history of college debate.
“You don’t need pen and paper to understand sympathy,” Green said.
Green is at Morgan State University to teach kids how to debate and think.
“My goal is to impart in them the ability to be persuasive, whatever it is in your mind that you want to talk to someone about, whatever it is that you feel is of value and want someone else around you to know, finding a way to deliver that in a way that inspires and changes behavior,” Green said.
For instance, take the Trayvon Martin case.
By the end of the camp, the students should be able to defend the position opposite of what they personally believe.
“It may not be a murder trial. A Trayvon Martin in particular may have not gotten murdered, but you will have the opportunity to defend what it is you have to say and what it is you believe about an issue and base it on the facts,” Green said.
“It helps me learn more about myself, gain confidence as a young woman,” Ayaay, a student, said.
Three of the students are from Minnesota.
“If you get those skills and learn how to analyze things and learn how to connect certain things and critically think, I think you can do whatever you want to be,” Ayaay said.
This is the first camp of its kind at a historically black college.
It’s something the president at Morgan State University supports.
“Because we know at the end of the day they are going to emerge with greater critical thinking skills,” Dr. David Wilson, Morgan State University president, said.
Morgan State is trying to raise money to become the first historically black college since the 1950s to field a college debate team.