TSU debate team to be featured in virtual Inauguration Day event

HOUSTON, Texas -- Houston's own Texas Southern University will be among the several HBCUs to be featured in a virtual event on the eve of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.



According to TSU's debate team director, Dr. Gloria Batiste-Roberts, four students will virtually perform at a pre-inauguration event about the culture and resiliency of Black Americans at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The debate team students will perform what is known as Readers Theatre. The two minute speeches were filmed and submitted to the inaugural committee and will be featured in the virtual event.

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The students include president of the TSU debate team Nahab Fahnbulleh, Maya Williams, Gloria Ekezie and Trevor Mouton.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is slated to speak at the event, "We Are One," which will also honor the historic nature of her being the first Black and South Asian woman to become U.S. vice president.

Tony Allen, CEO of the inaugural committee, said the programming will "honor acts of resilience, heroism, and commitment to unity" from Black, Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander communities "as the coalitions that make up our nation come together to celebrate a new chapter in our history."

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FULL INTERVIEW: Hear from TSU's debate team director about how the team got the opportunity to participate in the pre-inauguration event.



Several of the nation's top Black leaders will deliver remarks, including House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, a close ally of Biden whose endorsement in South Carolina widened Biden's winning margin and started his avalanche of March primary victories.

Among other speakers: Stacey Abrams, whose voter registration and education efforts helped flip Georgia blue for Biden, Rep. Cedric Richmond, Congressional Black Caucus Chair Rep. Joyce Beatty, Sen. Cory Booker, and the incoming senator from Georgia, Rev. Raphael Warnock.

The event will pay homage to the legacy of the nation's historically Black colleges and universities, as well as Black sororities and fraternities. Harris is the first HBCU graduate and Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority member to be vice president.

The sorority's international president and CEO, Dr. Glenda Glover, and Howard University President Dr. Wayne Frederick will deliver remarks.

The event will feature musical performances and appearances from activists and celebrities. It'll be hosted by Terrence J and feature Leslie Jones, DJ D-Nice, and Black cultural icons such as Frankie Beverly, The O'Jays, and Rapsody.

The celebration also includes a Battle of the Bands and features several other HBCUs, including: Delaware State University, Howard University, Florida A&M University Marching 100, Grambling State University World Famed Marching Band, Jackson State University Sonic Boom of the South, Louisiana Leadership Institute All-Star Marching Band, South Carolina State University Marching 101, Southern University Human Jukebox Marching Band, and the Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands.

Kat Stafford, an investigative reporter on The Associated Press' Race and Ethnicity team, contributed to this report.
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