“It was inspired by a pretty weird conversation I had with some African American brothers and sisters about 15mins before an English101 class.” I am Ghanaian, I attended Florida A&M University matriculating in 1998; I had made it into Dr. Stallworth’s English 101 classrooms about 15mins before class begun. Two (2) African American brothers and three(3) African American sisters also showed up with some time to spare. I smiled at them with a receptive demeanor and said "hello!" They picked up on my accent and made the most of an opportunity to examine me.
They asked me where my accent was from. I said Ghana, they heard Guyana, I corrected them on "Ghaana.. not Guyana" and they asked me where it was and how to get there. I shared with them.
Before long they continued the conversation amongst themselves.. it was like I had walked out but I was still there ..right before their eyes. One of the ladies said I was smart...”these Africans hardly ever go back”when they come here"...one of the guys said “he is going to take our jobs.."
With some shocking lessons I was learning in the mandatory African American History class at the back of my mind...I interjected: “Are you talking about me?” “I am here to be a bridge to explore your African option and for Africa to understand you” ; words which resonated deeper than I would ever have imagined when I voiced it. That moment was one of many I had at FAMU which progressively solidified an intrinsic motivation to bridge Africa and its diaspora. 20 years later, 400 years since the arrival of the first enslaved Africans in English America and a year after partnering with firelight media to screen “Tell Them We Are Rising” the story of Historically Black Colleges and universities in Ghana.. after some disappointment, rejection, seeming failures and political snafoos, You and I on this page are on the brink of institutionalizing that bridge in the form of the HBCU Africa Homecoming Platform.
For me it is a calling to fulfill.. a calling to be “True to God, True to HBCUs and True to the Native land.”
Here is to a new beginning of a journey to lay a bridge which creates access to value creation opportunities for Africa and America’s opportunity students. I can say I am sold out and all in on the call to be True to God, True to HBCUs and True to the Native land.