Shamir Cervantes lives in Salem Oregon, though he is from Mexico, where he visits every summer. He started debating this past April during IDEA’s Youth Leadership Project, hosted at Willamette Academy, Shamir’s high school.
iDebate: You’ve just entered the debate world. What have been your impressions?
Shamir: I've been surprised by debate; it opens your mind a lot.
iDebate: And what about at the Youth Forum in particular?
Shamir: In the USA, there's this whole clash of cultures, but here it's cool because everybody clashes in debates, but not as friends. It's a really great chance to get to know people from all of these different places, without the tension that we have in the US.
iDebate: What did you think of the themes of climate change and juvenile justice?
Shamir: "I liked the environmental topics. It was easy to find evidence, but hard to debate about them, because the issues were really complicated. This one [A just society prioritizes rehabilitation over retribution in its juvenile justice system] is reversed. Now it's about constructing a case."
iDebate: Is there anything you would like to add?
Shamir: "I think it's cool that I'm the first ever Mexican citizen to participate in the youth forum. As Robert Trapp said, with me here, we complete North America."