CEVO chat talks intersectionality

Brysen Carr, Staff Reporter

The Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteerism ended the month of February, with a chat focused on intersectionality and activism.

The first guest speaker was Ly’Jerrick Ward, a graduate student studying College Student Affairs and pastor of Eastern’s Acts Campus Ministry. Ward gave a rundown on his life starting with his insecurities. 

“…insecurities that I’ve faced, I come from a poverty-stricken area. So, I’ve always had insecurity of my intellectual ability because the school district I grew up in, the reading comprehension was very low. And I never really saw myself excelling actually in academics,” said Ward.

He also talked about his religion and how it connects to his life as a whole. “I also identify as a Christian as well in which really plays a prominent role in my development as a college student and being a part of a campus ministry,” said Ward. “I was also a track athlete at one point; I ran track from seventh grade all the way up to my sophomore year at EIU. So, I can identify with being the student athlete and the challenges that can come from that too and try to balance academics as well as being an athlete,” said Ward.

He touched on his academic background and how his academics is a privilege that he had and still currently has as he is finishing up his master’s degree. 

“I became an ordained minister… I received my undergrad degree at EIU in 2015 in exercise science and then I took three in a half years off and then here I am now finishing my master’s degree in college student affairs,” said Ward. “Already having a degree represents how I am educated and finishing up on my master’s degree which is a privilege in itself.”

Ward also spoke about how he wants to help people by continuing to be a mentor to people especially for young African American students so that they will have someone to be inspired by and to help them.

“…someone helping somebody, that’s how I view myself, I’ve always wanted to have a mentor relationship with others because I notice in my life as an African American male, that is something that I am really true to,” said Ward. “I noticed that I would search and seek for male examples, or African American male examples that would help to give me some good motivation to at least show me that I can be successful,” said Ward.

He also discussed spirituality and how it has helped him get through times where he did not feel confident like in his academics.

“I think my experience is unique in the fact that I’ve noticed my spirituality really does shape how I cope with challenges in my life. Really does shape how I view myself and really does shape my inner confidence in who I am”, said Ward. “For example, through a master’s program, I never thought I could get a master’s degree, but the fact that my faith in god has helped me to go for it and be optimistic,” said Ward.

The next guest speakers were all representatives of Eastern’s NAACP. The representatives were Kayla Crowder, sophomore majoring in political science and Proletarian of Eastern NAACP, Tykyla Crockett, senior majoring in Human Services and Vice President of Eastern NAACP, and Danielle Allen junior majoring in Elementary education and French and community service chair of Eastern NAACP.

They focused on the history of oppression and how those throughout the history of the NAACP went about overcoming oppression. As well as why it is important for people to use their voice as a powerful tool to attempt to make a change. 

They also discussed NAACP’s overall purpose as a national organization. In which Crockett touched on their purpose saying how the organization wants to end racial discrimination.

“We want to make strides to make a better improvement for society as a whole and I think that the way in which NAACP has done this upon Eastern’s campus is that we want to make sure that we have open discussions in which its okay to be uncomfortable and okay to voice how your originality and differences allow you to generate an opinion to express yourself. We don’t need to hear each other, we need to understand each other and acknowledge the power in which we have in our words and our presence,” said Crockett.   

Allen and Crockett also touched on ways of how people at Eastern’s campus can make things easier for one another when we are going about our days on campus.

“A lot of times people are going through things they feel alone, so I feel like even if it’s just a ‘I hear you’, a pat on the shoulder, a hug, that kind of stuff goes a long way,” said Allen.

“Just being a listening ear, you are just letting someone know that you are there for them can really be a big difference in someone’s everyday life.”

 

Brysen Carr can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]