SIU holds memorial service for Keeshanna “Shanna” Jackson


Chris Bishop | @quippedmediallc

Father Joseph Brown joins virtually to speak at Keeshanna Jackson’s memorial Aug. 25, 2021.

The SIU community came together in a moment of grief at the SIU student center ballroom at 6:30pm for the campus’s first official vigil to celebrate the life of Saluki Keeshanna Jackson.

Multiple community pastors came to speak on behalf of Jackson accompanied by music from Larry Lee III and Roshanda Lee.

Chancellor Austin Lane began the memorial with how sad SIU is as a whole and the toll it’s taken on him and the rest of the faculty and staff.


“The most frequently asked questions that I have received while serving as an administrator throughout my career is ‘what keeps you up at night’, my response is  never the budget, believe it or not, it’s never student enrollment,” Lane said. “My answer to this question has always been my students. My students keep me up at night.”

Lane said nothing  could prepare hime or faculty and staff for something like this and staff work countless hours getting ready for students to come and begin their semester knowing that they would be safe on campus.

“I received a call from our chief of police at 3:47 am,” Lane said. “As soon as I saw his name, I knew something was wrong.”

Chancellor Lanes spoke about the stories he heard from family and friends about how she came here to better her future and the joy she bring to people’s lives.

“We are grieving the death of Keeshanna but also asking ourselves why? Why did this happen to such a bright young lady?” Lane said. “It’s just not fair.”

Father Joseph Brown spoke via zoom to show his sorrow for the loss of such a young student.

“I know that children have been used, murdered, neglected, abandoned,” Brown said. “ But here we are once again saying how did we get here?”


Brown asks how we have come to a young woman celebrating her first week of school being gunned down in the street.

“The people who feel terminally hopeless and powerless carry guns and feed some kind of narcotic element to bring them temporary peace,” Brown said. “That’s not an excuse, it’s an explanation, but they are still responsible for one another, and we have children carrying guns because they are hopeless, we have got to intervene.”

Dean of Students Jennifer Jones-Hall talked about her experience since she got the information from Jackson. 

Hall concluded her speech with the announcement of the Keeshanna Jackson memorial scholarship that will be available to students coming from the Chicagoland area. 

Staff reporter Jamilah Lewis can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @jamilahlewis. To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.