Making an activist event to be held, Weaver to speak


Elizabeth Wood

tions major and president of the Black Student Union as well as a general member of NAACP, and Nyla Douglas (right), a junior majoring in political science and political action chair of the NAACP, wait outside the food court in the Martian Luther King Jr. University Student Union to ask students passing by to join NAACP or attend their event, Making an Activist.

Hannah Shillo, Associate News Editor

Eastern alum and Congressional candidate Erika Weaver will be the keynote speaker at the “Making an Activist” event in the Coleman Auditorium at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

The NAACP is hosting the event as part of African American Heritage Month.

Lubowa Shimonde, NAACP president and junior psychology major, said Weaver will teach those in attendance how to build their own definition of activism and how to be leaders for their own causes.

As an activist, attorney, influencer and speaker, Shimonde said she was excited to host Weaver as the keynote speaker because Weaver is active in the community and will show students that there is life after graduation.

“She’s a lot of things that encompass what we’re looking for,” Shimonde said. “I really feel like her goals and her direction really aligns with the common people. She’s achieving goals that I would’ve thought were unattainable.”

Another reason Shimonde said she was excited to host Weaver because she is showing the world that African American women can run for Congress.

“Representation is one of the most important things ever,” she said. “If you don’t see people who look like you, who are from where you’re from, who act like you (or) who encompass who you are … it’s hard to envision yourself in spaces where there’s nobody that’s like you.

Shimonde encouraged students to attend the event because not only is it an opportunity to learn about activism, but also an opportunity for those who are interested in politics to network.

The word “activist” does not necessarily mean that someone is always protesting publicly about something, Shimonde said.

“I feel like there’s ways to protest that don’t always encompass just being out in the streets and protesting,” she said. “There’s other ways to be an activist like being an advocate for people’s rights.”

Donating money to a cause or lending a helping hand are other ways to be activists, Shimonde said. 

Learning how to be an activist and advocate, Shimonde said, is important because it helps the people who cannot help themselves.

She said she understands that not everyone wants to be an activist, so those who just wish to be an ally are also encouraged to attend to learn about how to help in other ways.

Letting people know they are being supported is the best way an ally can help, she said.

“Everyone’s entitled to their own opinions at the end of the day and I do believe that nobody owes anybody anything,” Shimonde said. “I want to appeal to people’s sense of empathy and I feel like when I know that I have the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s day or even their hour by just simply speaking up, that impact can mean the world to somebody else.”

She also said that just because this event is targeted toward African Americans as part of African American Heritage Month, that does not mean that others from different races and cultures cannot attend and learn something new. 

“I want to see the white political science kids come and ask questions,” Shimonde said. “I want to see the Hispanic community come and ask questions. I want to see every group possible. Just because it’s our month technically doesn’t mean that it’s going to be excluding other people.”

Hannah Shillo can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]