Open Letter to Mizzou Tiger Brothers

a black college student on his laptop on campus.
a black college student on his laptop on campus.

To the Brothers-in-Arms at Mizzou,

You don't know me and we've never met. I applaud everything you're standing for in Missouri. I know you've deliberated long and hard about the consequences and sacrifices it would take to make a stand for righteousness. The fact that you still chose to move forward is a testament to your character and strength. You are making us, all of us, we who believe in freedom, extremely proud. This includes the ancestors as well. The ancestors who just like you, were college aged and courageous spirits led many of the movements we read about in books. They took stances that were unpopular with their parents and their friends, but they knew they had to move forward on purpose, just like you!

Yet I am writing you an open letter for more reasons than to just shower you with accolades and encouragement in your current struggle. I am writing to implore you to consider transferring to any of the FCS Division HBCUs. I am imploring you to do such a thing for several reasons.

HBCUs are rest havens for raw black boy souls facing the requirement of shedding the shell of adolescence for the tougher skin of manhood. For young black men with the world against them, who write songs that celebrate living past the age of 25 as a great accomplishment, who learn rules as to how not to intimidate or the consequence can be your life, where your temperament is usually always put to task and test alike, HBCUs serve as a Never Never Land where you really don't want to age out of the experience. Most colleges are fun (maybe not yours right now), but HBCUs are heaven on earth for our kind. Brothers, the resistance and struggle you're in the midst of is valiant and honorable, but it really doesn't have to all. Like AT ALL. There is a promised land where your greatest sacrifice may be the outdated workout and training facilities you would likely have to deal with. But the positive trade-offs are endless.

Your actions show your high character traits and leanings for social consciousness and justice all together. If you're into revolutionary acts, choose black schools (schools where everyone will celebrate you for being you, and not just being someone they can be comfortable with) over the pretty pathetic white school you attend now. You will NEVER EVER have to worry about being seen as a human being on the campus of any HBCU. You will always know that you're loved and important way past football from all who attend. You will still be seen on TV. The scouts will still come. The combine sends invites to those addresses as well. You will have access to even more beautiful and simply better women! The brightest and best women are still choosing HBCUs and you're missing out on all of that fun while you're no longer even having fun at your white school.

Take up your own bucket and cast it down where you ought to be, as Booker Taliaferro Washington once proselytized. After all, do you really have a better college experience if you deal with the constant cloud of unconsciousness around race and social constructs that are so prevalent at white universities? These things just don't happen at HBCUs. What does happen at HBCUs is an extreme source of pride that is taught through text and trials in cultural participation and, well, partying! Yes, the parties are worth noting.

Culture is not supplemental, it's elemental. It guides our value systems and ethos; it allows us to reach up to heights unseen for those of us who couldn't see. It provides us with the refreshing water that Booker T. anecdotally described in his famed aforementioned speech. Just ask Kellen Winslow, Sr., a Mizzou Tiger himself, a HOF TE, and an athletic director at two HBCUs! He's gone on record discussing the types of problems you all are facing. The problem can often morph into pent up frustration, anger, and resentment because one can feel out of place, and sometimes, as in the case at Mizzou, not welcomed. If the problem is potentially feeling inept, inadequate, in a minority, unwelcome, distraught, frustrated, angry, resentful, or in any way less than during your coming-of-age years, there is a cure for all of these ailments.

One day we will wake up and realize that our own is not only good enough for us, but most times, the best for us. It was the best for all of those who had to go prior to integration. The list of names is long and ranges from heads of state to hall of famers. The idea that you cannot have an environment that will truly love the athlete and get them exposure is just not true. The entire point of me writing this is to strongly suggest to you all, that a HBCU is also right and best for you! Wouldn't it be great to thrive in an environment where you know, beyond a shadow of doubt, that race is not an issue; a place where your cultural growth and understanding is not supplemented but an important part of your natural environment, where you will be embraced with a pride much greater than in how well you jump, run, throw, or hit??? It's time to come home. You've certainly won a battle with the resignation of your president. You can win the war by empowering yourselves and HBCUs by taking your talents to a place where you won't have to fight for human dignity, but be completely lauded, loved and appreciated by your own!

Sincerely, lovingly, and earnestly,

Javonte Anyabwele
Two time HBCU graduate
P.S. don't forget about the women!!