Payton Head is the student body president at the University of Missouri. As a black man and a homosexual, Payton knows better than most how cruel people can be. He had experienced racism and bigotry so severe that he almost left school, before deciding to join the student council and make a difference.
A difference is an understatement. After being harassed while walking down the street in Columbia, Missouri by a bunch of haters in the back of a pickup truck (go figure), Payton decided that enough was enough and drafted an open letter to the campus and the town.
The letter approaches the subject of racism, but doesn’t stop there. Payton takes on a world of social stigmas, proving that he is exactly the man to lead the students of Mizzou to a brighter tomorrow.
Here is the full text of Payton’s letter:
WARNING: EXPLICIT LANGUAGE: I just want to say how extremely hurt and disappointed I am. Last night as I walking through campus, some guys riding on the back of a pickup truck decided that it would be okay to continuously scream NIGGER at me. I really just want to know why my simple existence is such a threat to society. For those of you who wonder why I’m always talking about the importance of inclusion and respect, it’s because I’ve experienced moments like this multiple times at THIS university, making me not feel included here. Many of you are so privileged that you’ll never know what it feels like to be a hijab-wearing Muslim woman and be called a terrorist or a towel head. You don’t have to think about being transgender and worrying about finding a restroom where you can go and not be targeted for violence because you don’t fit into the gender binary. You’ll never know what it feels like to see Memorial Union every day and enter the side like a second class citizen because after 90 years, there’s still no accessible way to enter the tower. You’ve never been spit on walking down 9th street or mis-gendered at Pizza Tree because they called out your birth name. You’ve never had to experience people throwing drinks on you and yelling FAGGOT at you from the patio at Big 12 as you walk past on the street holding hands with your partner. You might never had to think twice about what you’re wearing walking around campus at night so that someone won’t think it’s okay to take ownership of your body because your outfit was “asking for it.” If your simple existence is not a political statement I’m really going to need for you to check your privilege. These are some of my experiences and the experiences of the ones closest to me. This is what I’m fighting against every day in boardrooms, conferences, meetings, classrooms, the Capitol, and in my daily life. This is my reality. Is it weird that I think that I have the right to feel safe here too? If you see violence like this and don’t say anything, you, yes YOU, are a part of the problem. It’s the reason why It’s On Us, Black Lives Matter, Trans Rights are Human Rights, and love is fucking love. If you want to fight for social change at Mizzou there are so many different outlets. Apply to be a Diversity Peer Educator, stop by any of our wonderful centers of social justice. Educate yourselves and others. Hold your family, friends, fraternity brothers and sorority sisters accountable. And if this post made you feel uncomfortable, GOOD! That means I’m doing my job. It’s time to wake up Mizzou.
Your Nigger/Faggot Missouri Students Association President,
Featured image: Twitter