In light of the recent events in the debate community, we, the members of the Facebook
group “Debate Girls 2014” would like to share our story. We began the group a few months ago
to encourage bonding within the junior class of girls. We have become close friends through
facebook chats, Google+ video hangouts, and talking about debate as well as life in general.

Many of us come from teams with few or no other female members, and some of us are
even lone wolves and wanted to become better friends with others who shared our experiences
as women in debate. The group has been a massive success, currently with 30 members from 10
states. However, we feel our group could be useful as a forum for other junior girls to share their stories and experiences, as well as meet new friends as we have done.

We strongly believe in a discussion space where girls can feel comfortable without the potential for confrontation. While we appreciate the support of males, we feel there are certain issues that are unique to the female experience that require a more feminine atmosphere. If you have an objection to the statements we are making, we encourage constructive discussion in the comments, however we request that people refrain from starting flame wars in these comments as we are trying to create a respectful, safe environment as opposed to a potentially hostile one.

We would like to encourage all other junior debate girls to join our community,
regardless of what school you attend, your participation on the national circuit, and level
of competitive success. We want to be another space for all girls to feel safe, welcome, and
accepted.

Sincerely,
Sarah Barr Engel, Mia Berman, Charlie Blatt, Dana Councilman, Amanda Drummond, Julie
Engel, Kate Garrett, Shelby Heitner, Shania Hunt, Annie Kors, Claire Kueffner, Shruti Kumar,
Charlotte Lawrence, Jessica Levy, Sabina Manzini, Chloe Naguib, Emily Portuguese, Leah
Shapiro, and Shayne Walton