Founded in the fall of 1985 at Tennessee State University by Dr. Amiri AI-Hadid, The Great Debate is an intellectual and cultural forum that debates current issues and social problems from the perspectives of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz and a Synthesis of these two perspectives.
The Great Debate echoes traditional debates between African American leaders such as the Frederick Douglass and Henry H Garnet debates (1840's), Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Dubois debates (1890's-1910's), as well as the historical debates on Slavery such as the Abraham Lincoln and Steven Douglas debates of 1858.
The Great Debate is designed to develop intellectual skills and increase cultural awareness as an integral part of Academic Support Classes at universities such as Xavier University, Kentucky State University and The Ohio State University as well as other institutions seeking to catapult students into leadership positions in student government associations, greek-lettered organizations, social and professional organizations and in the community at-large.
The Great Debate has inevitably developed into a noble society with honor known as The Great Debate Honor Society which is rooted in the cultural principles of the Nguzo Saba or Seven Principles of the Traditional African Value System and the ancient Egyptian concept of Ma'at - Truth, Balance, Order, Law, Morality and Justice.
Zulu Ali is a practicing trial attorney and activist. A former police officer and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, he earned a juris doctorate in law (J.D.) from Trinity International University; a masters in administration of justice (M.S.) and business (M.B.A.) from University of Phoenix; an undergraduate degree from Regents College; and is currently a doctoral scholar of business researching pan-African business and trade at California Southern University.
Attorney Ali is the founder and principal attorney at the Law Offices of Zulu Ali and Associates, LLP based in Riverside, California, which is the largest Black-owned law firm in California’s Inland Empire. Ali is on the list of counsel at the African Court of Justice and Human Rights in Tanzania and the International Criminal Court at The Hague, Netherlands.
Attorney Ali is the Director of the Stop and Frisk Youth Leadership Academy, which mentors and trains at-risk youth to deal with police encounters; Director of the Southern California Veterans Legal Clinic; and a member of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. serving on the international governing body (Grand Council) as General Legal Counsel.
Jamila H. Tyrrell
Jamila Hadiya Tyrrell born and raised in Chicago, IL. A graduate of Whitney M. Young Magnet HS and alumnae of Tennessee State University (B.S. Africana Studies) and University of Phoenix (MBA Global Management). As an undergraduate student Jamila attended postgraduate studies at Maryknoll Institute for African Studies which is affiliated with St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and Tangaza College in Nairobi, Kenya.
Jamila is a First Generation Specialist at TSU with the You First Project and an entrepreneur. As J & J Planning Network, Jamila and her husband Jamal Hutchinson are on a mission to close the wealth gap in our community. As a “Financial Doula,” Jamila provides support and education to pregnant and parenting families as a Doula and licensed financial professional.
Jamila is the current President of the Great Debate Honor Society where through debate, dialogue and creative performances, members work to solve social problems to build the beloved community envisioned by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Jamila lives in East Nashville, with her husband Jamal and their 5 children, twins Hadiyah and Saidia, Aqeel, Kamaria, and Nailah.