MATT HAMPTON | Reporter
Activist and freelance videographer LaShell Eikerenkoetter spoke during an event sponsored by the Black Student Union and the Gender Sexualities Alliance Tuesday afternoon.
Eikerenkoetter, who is from the North County suburb of Jennings, earned a master’s degree in digital and multimedia studies at Lindenwood.
She said she is developing a project to support the branding of Black businesses and engages in activism against police brutality and other issues. In December 2016, she was listed as one of the 100 most influential African-American professionals in St. Louis by Delux Magazine. During the event, titled “We Will Win,” the activist had a heartfelt talk with the audience in Dunseth Auditorium about her activism and the Black community.
Eikerenkoetter said during undergraduate school at Southeast Missouri State University, she played intramural sports and was a member of BSU and other groups, but only found a sense of purpose from telling stories.
“From a very young age, I felt like we all have such powerful stories that connect us, more than we have that are different, so if we just heard each other’s stories, if we just understood each other a little bit more, maybe we would be able to tolerate each other,” she said.
She said her Black sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, started her passion for activism. While cleaning up West Florissant Avenue during the Michael Brown protests in August 2014, Eikerenkoetter witnessed an arrest by riot police.
“I remember the sound of the batons tapping the ground as they antagonized the crowd, moving through the crowd,” she said. “But we were told on Fox2 and CNN a totally different story, so I knew at that moment that I had to use my platform as media to continue to tell the story the right way.”
Eikerenkoetter also organized protests after the 2017 acquittal of the St. Louis policeman who killed Anthony Lamar Smith.
“Activism is not just protest […] It’s literally embedding what that means and breaking down social structures and institutions that were made for White men in everything that we do,” she said near the end of the speech. “When we see something wrong we have to speak out about it.”
The event featured refreshments and Eikerenkoetter took questions from the audience at the end. BSU president Allen Mitchell, a senior, said We Will Win was their last official Black History Month event this year and the GSA proposed bringing Eikerenkoetter to campus last semester.