Eastern student advocates for change


Rob Le Cates

Jerimiah Boyd-Johnson, a senior political science major, walks down the aisle at the Homecoming Coronation Oct. 18 in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union Grand Ballroom. Boyd-Johnson is a part of several campus organizations such as the Black Student Union, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the Student Police Advisory Board, and the search committee for the Chief of Police.

Rege'nte Myers, Contributing Writer

The 2021 Homecoming King Jeremiah Boyd-Johnson, a senior from Chicago, Ill., is majoring in political science with a minor in pre-law studies. Boyd-Johnson is involved in many organizations on campus. 

“These organizations have built me up to be strong, so when I see something wrong, I know I have the power to change them,” Boyd-Johnson said. 

One of them is Eastern’s speech team. Boyd-Johnson competes in communication analysis, impromptu speaking and poetry interpretation. 

“Public speaking helps me get everything out. My performances allow me not only to connect with the audience but to tell a story that I believe in, but also for me to get all those feelings out. It really helps soothe me, it’s like my sport,” Boyd-Johnson said.

Boyd-Johnson is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc., and previously served as the vice president of the Zeta Nu chapter. 

Boyd-Johnson also holds the secretary position in Eastern’s Black Student Union. His specific role is public relations, and he’s in charge of social justice events. 

Boyd-Johnson was able to hold a forum on criminal justice this semester. 

“We had an open conversation about just policing, how police are doing and we actually got great notice from the university police department. That’s what felt really good, also involving with public relations, anything that has an Alpha event, I’m responsible for communicating that to students,” Boyd-Johnson said. 

Another organization that he is a part of is the search committee for the new chief of university police. At Eastern’s Board of Trustees meeting, vice chair Phillip Thompson announced that Marisol Gamboa has been chosen for the position. 

“The best thing was after serving on that search committee, I was able to facilitate the forum where students came in, and it was a Q and A with that candidate,” Boyd-Johnson said. “That felt, like, really good, especially because I hadn’t really been active in speaking out when the Black Lives Matter protests were occurring. So I was able to really have an impact on policing.”

Boyd-Johnson is also an active member of the Black Student Union. 

“That was the first thing that brought me to campus. Actually, my freshman year, when I was going to another university, I was denied creating a Black Student Union,” Boyd-Johnson said. “When I came to Eastern and they already had one, it was established. I was like, okay, this is where I need to be.” 

Boyd-Johnson served as the parliamentarian. His job was to make sure people were doing their office hours and that the meetings were orderly and conducted right. He was in charge of running agendas and other parliamentary procedures.

While he was vice president of BSU last year, Boyd-Johnson hosted a mental health awareness forum. 

This forum gave students the opportunity to have conversational event where they brought up scenarios about microaggressions. They talked about how it made minorities feel in those situations.

“I’m also a member of the NAACP here on campus, so I do attend their meetings and that’s mostly what I’m involved in, especially when they have their socials, I’m very involved. They hosted Jeopardy the other day, and I was able to answer questions. It was about black history, so that felt really good, going to their meetings. They always have cool game nights and stuff for the community,” Boyd-Johnson said. 

Boyd-Johnson joined these organizations because he wanted to make an impact on Eastern’s community. He feels all these organizations he’s a part of are different extensions of himself.

“I would say I love being on campus. Like, doing things for campus takes nothing for me because I’m a public servant. Our motto in Alpha is ‘First of all, servants of all, we shall transcend all.’ We are supposed to always serve the community, especially when we see that there’s a lack. I feel like my existence is to help people. I feel like so much, not only in the black community, but just people in general, don’t seek to uplift others, and you have to give to be able to receive. I definitely believe that that’s what was instilled in me,” Boyd-Johnson said. 

Boyd-Johnson said he’s willing to help students who feel like they don’t belong here. 

“Come talk to me. You belong here, get out of your rooms and please get involved. It takes a village,” Boyd-Johnson said. 

Rege’nte Myers can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].