Providence, RI — The world's greatest Black lacrosse players will come together at Brown University under the banner of the Sankofa Lacrosse Alliance to promote academic, professional and social achievement for the next generation of lacrosse players. More than 200 former and present-day African-American players and lacrosse enthusiasts of all ages – both men and women – have pledged support of the Alliance, a group that seeks to unite the African-American lacrosse community in order to grow the sport, and expand its reach by utilizing the collective resources of the lacrosse network.
"We have all been in the situation where we were the only black player on a team," notes Alliance organizer Kyle Harrison. "It's about celebrating how far the sport has come, and to show young Black players that there are other players that look just like them playing this sport at a very high level."
The Alliance will debut the first tangible piece of the project on October 25. The Ambassadors – an unparalleled cast of African American professional and recent college players – will compete in fall ball scrimmages against Brown University and Team England in Providence, RI.
"We've each been approached about the idea of starting an all-Black team numerous times," said co-organizer and former Brown lacrosse standout Chazz Woodson '05. "We decided that we were in a position to really bring it together the right way and with something bigger in mind." Instead of focusing solely on competing, their plan is to equally emphasize what the players on that team can do to encourage academic, social, and professional achievement among young people.
Harrison and Woodson, formerly teammates on the Los Angeles and the LXM Pro Tour, will be joined by some of the brightest stars of lacrosse. Jovan Miller, John Christmas, Sam Bradman, and a host of former All-Americans, National Champions, and professionals will don Ambassador uniforms – donated by John Christmas' Encore Brand - for the games against Brown and England. The tentative schedule for the 3-way scrimmage is: Sankofa v Team England, 2 p.m. Sankofa v Brown, 3 p.m. Brown v Team England, 4 p.m.
The scrimmages will be held on Meister-Kavan field on the Brown campus. "This project has been in the works for at least 3 years now," notes Harrison. "We have had a number of different ideas and visions for where we want this to go, so I'm proud to see it finally come together." The Sankofa concept is derived from King Adinkera of the Akan people of West Africa. Literally translated it means "it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot."
As Woodson explains it, networking, outreach, and exposure are the three major objectives of the SLA. "Since the beginning, the consistent focus has been to connect the African American lacrosse community geographically and generationally, and to utilize the collective experiences and resources of that network to promote academic, professional, and social achievement among all populations."