On Saturday, March 2nd, the Salem Keizer Coalition for Equality’s Mock Trial team will be competing in a regional competition. The team composed of 16 Latino High School youth from the Salem Keizer School district is being led by an all star coaching staff that include to former chief justices, a current oregon supreme court justice, a Marion County Municipal Judge, an attorney, and a law clerk.
Background on SKCE’s Mock Trial Team
SKCE’s Debate Program
Before there was a mock trial team, SKCE had jump-started a Speech and Debate team in February of 2012. The premise of the team was to recruit students from each of the high schools in Salem and Keizer. The goal was to have an after school program that not only got students excited about speech and debate, but would bring together students from different neighborhoods and experiences to share and debate ideas.
A Chance Encounter: And A Challenge
In what became a chance encounter, SKCE’s Speech and Debate Coach Paty Guzman and Shamir Cervantez, executive director Eduardo Angulo, and Ranfis Villatoro; had an opportunity to meet with Justice Paul De Muniz and Former Justice Edwin Peterson in June 2012.
At the time, Justice De Muniz was preparing to step down from his position as Chief Justice, and stepping down from the Supreme Court entirely by the end of the year. We agreed to get him and former Justice Peterson to judge a speech and debate competition we were organizing for our students.
Following the speech and debate competition, we met again in August of 2012. Impressed with the recruitment process, the Justice’s gave us an offer we couldn’t refuse: coach a team of our students in mock trial.