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Equity Commitments

Since 2017, annual equity commitments have served as specific immediate steps the NSDA will take to better reflect our core value of equity. Like previous annual commitments, this list represents work that will occur during one school year. 

These equity commitments were inspired by recommendations from our coaches’ caucuses, by feedback from our teacher and student members, and from our own lived experiences. As our Equity Statement says, the NSDA is committed to modeling and fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion for all speech and debate communities. We are proud of the strides we have made in this area, but we know there is much work left for us to do. 

We remain committed to working conscientiously to model and foster an inclusive and equitable speech and debate experience for all. Thank you for engaging with and joining us in this work.

  1. The NSDA will reflect equity in its organizational core documents. 
    1. The NSDA will continue to utilize an equity-centered framework for making organizational decisions.
    2. The NSDA will continue to promote its updated Code of Honor to all student and coach members. 
  1. The NSDA will highlight and promote best practices for diversity, equity, and inclusion in speech and debate activities. 
    1. The NSDA will continue its work on intentionally infusing equity into the speech and debate topic selection process. 
    2. The NSDA will continue to encourage the posting and use of a harassment and discrimination policy at speech and debate tournaments. 
    3. The NSDA will update and increase promotion of our inclusive and equitable tournament checklist. The NSDA will also provide resources to implement key initiatives from the checklist. 
    4. The NSDA will review and update NSDA-produced ballot instructions to reflect equity. 
    5. The NSDA will promote and support the Black Coach Mentor program and seek to facilitate other mentoring opportunities through the NSDA coach accreditation and coach emeritus programs. The NSDA will seek funding to support mentor programs. 
    6. The NSDA will use its communication channels to offer additional training tips and best practices on making speech and debate more accessible. 
  1. The NSDA will strive for leadership that represents the diversity of our speech and debate communities.
    1. The Board of Directors will continue to consider diversity when vetting and selecting appointed board members. 
    2. The NSDA will encourage its district leadership to enhance the diversity of their committees through the 6th appointed seat. 
    3. The NSDA will continue to utilize a staff recruiting process that emphasizes taking the steps necessary to generate  a diverse hiring pool. 
    4. The National Speech & Debate Tournament process for selecting tournament officials will continue to emphasize representation. 
    5. The NSDA will provide additional training for to prepare more coaches for serving in tab rooms. 
    6. The NSDA will increase the involvement of students and young alumni in decision making. 
  1. The NSDA will celebrate diversity, equity, and inclusion within speech and debate communities. 
    1. The NSDA will use video to showcase the success of Hispanic/Latinx students and coaches. 
    2. The NSDA will use video to highlight the experiences of persons with disabilities in the activity. 
    3. The NSDA will create resources to celebrate Native American Heritage Month. 
    4. The NSDA will continue to ensure diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in promotional content. 
  1. The NSDA will continue to provide and promote safe spaces for teachers/coaches from traditionally underrepresented or marginalized communities to meet. 
    1. The NSDA will continue to provide space and time for coaches’ caucuses to meet, proactively promoting awareness and attendance of these discussions leading up to the tournament. 
    2. The NSDA will continue to support ongoing connections between these communities during the school year. 
  1. The NSDA will continue to strive for an equitable and representative judging pool at the National Tournament. 
    1. The NSDA will continue ongoing work to provide judge training that incorporates implicit bias and cultural competency training for speech and debate judges.
    2. The NSDA will continue to recruit and to offer the opportunity for National Tournament judges to self-identify as diversity enhancing. 
  1. The NSDA will continue a committee-based effort to develop a judge accreditation program. Last year, core elements for the accreditation were established. This year, the effort will focus on the technological requirements of implementing the accreditation. 
  1. The NSDA will conscientiously work to increase meaningful access to speech and debate for all schools.
    1. The NSDA will offer free online speech and debate events through the Springboard Series
    2. The NSDA will continue to fundraise for and offer direct program support through initiatives like the Keith West Memorial Fund School grant, The Tate Fund for National Tournament support, Big Questions Debate grants, and NSDA membership grants