African students, including the football team, fight colonialism at Missouri University

 
COLUMBIA, MO–The University of Missouri-Columbia (UM-Columbia) is facing a crisis as African students have risen to take a stand against colonialism within the university system. 
 
Concerned Student 1950 spearheads the movement to push the university administration to address the concerns of African students.
 
Concerned Student 1950 is a collective of 11 African student organizers who came together through shared experiences to formulate a set of eight demands.
 
They organized and mobilized students around those demands, in effort to reform UM-Columbia in such a way that African lives, issues and concerns are affirmed.
 
They submitted their demands to UM-Columbia on October 20, 2015, in the form of a letter. The letter gave the administration eight days to respond.
 
The administration did not meet the deadline.
 
The letter notes that Concerned Student 1950 “represents every Black student” and that it is their “job to ensure that the policies and practices of the University of Missouri work to maintain a safe, secure and unbiased campus climate for all of its students.”
 
Their demands are as follows: (1) that the university president, Tim Wolfe, write a letter of apology to Concerned Student 1950 demonstrators and hold a press conference; (2) that Tim Wolfe resign from his post; (3) that the university meets with the Legion of Black Collegians’ (the university’s Black student government) demands that were presented in 1969;
 
(4) that the university creates and enforces a comprehensive racial awareness and inclusion curriculum; (5) that the university increases its percentage of Black faculty and staff campus-wide to 10% by the 2017-2018 academic year; (6) that the university composes a 10-year plan by May 1, 2016 that will increase retention rates for “marginalized students”;
 
(7) that the university increase funding and resources for the university counseling center as to better serve students, and particularly students of color; and (8) that the university increase funding, resources, and personnel for the university’s social justice centers.
 
Organizers call for economic boycott, athletes answer call
 
Concerned Student 1950 organizers, realizing their demands were not taken seriously by the administration, set out to increase pressure on the university.
 
A video circulated on social media of a demonstrator stating that they are working to “break the system.”
 
These African students organized a hunger strike, led by graduate student Jonathan Butler, on November 2. Jonathan Butler said he would not end his hunger strike until president Wolfe resigned.
 
They organized an economic boycott of food and other items on campus.
They protested a university fundraising event, in Kansas City, that president Tim Wolfe attended.
 
They also camped out near the center of campus to raise awareness about African students’ issues and concerns, which as a result, disrupted some campus tours for prospective students.
 
African players on the University of Missouri football team joined in solidarity with Concerned Student 1950 on November 7, 2015.
 
They, feeling the spirit of protest, anger and frustration from their fellow African students, announced that they would not participate in any games or team activities until Wolfe stepped down.
 
Echoing the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the players released this statement: “The athletes of color on the University of Missouri football team truly believe ‘Injustice Anywhere is a threat to Justice Everywhere.”
 
The African football players standing in solidarity coupled with the hunger strike drew massive national attention, as expected.
 
In addition to the bad publicity, it was estimated that the “players’ strike” could cost the university at least one million dollars.
 
Two days later on Monday, November 9,2015, Wolfe resigned and the hunger strike ended.
 
Chaos erupts
 
On Tuesday, November 10th an anonymous message was sent out on Yik Yak, a social media app, which read: “I’m going to stand my ground tomorrow and shoot every black person I see.”
 
Hours later, reports from students surfaced on social media that someone in a blue pickup truck was driving around campus and harassing black students and that a group of white students began chanting “white power!”
 
A video posted on twitter shows a white male walking near the center of campus screaming: “You think not eating for eight days is hard? Fucking take a walk to Africa where there’s famine and corruption all over the fucking continent! You stupid pieces of shit!”
 
The university’s student body president, who is African, posted on social media that it was “confirmed” that the Ku Klux Klan was on campus and that he was working with State troopers and the national guard to address the threat.
 
He later issued a statement recanting his remarks and apologized for giving out misinformation that he received from “multiple incorrect sources.”
 
Many faculty and staff members emailed students urging them to leave campus immediately and to go home to a safe place.
 
The university, referring to the Yik Yak post, released an alert acknowledging that a threatening message was posted on social media.
 
No campus-wide email was sent out to students.
 
Many Africans decided not to attend classes the next day, due to the threats.
 
Black Power Matters!
 
The efforts of African students should be celebrated.
 
These Africans have acknowledged, in their campus forums, that the uprising in Ferguson inspired them to address issues that Africans face on campus.
 
Concerned Student 1950 is working to bring other Africans into a political consciousness that centers African experiences and calls on African students to speak out and act.
 
What is needed, however, is a call for black power and revolutionary action.
 
It is necessary to go beyond a fight against racism, which concerns attitudes and prejudices in the main, and that speaks to the issue of colonialism and parasitic capitalism as the greatest threats against Africans globally.
 
The reforms for which they call in their set of demands are only useful if they are used as platforms for total liberation of African people.
 
Africans need to move beyond the “black lives matter” mantra and agenda and declare that Black Power Matters!
 
African revolution is the only means by which we can achieve total African liberation.
 
Organize to win!
Join InPDUM!
Build black power for African students!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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