Throughout October, the ladies of the Theta Nu chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity (SAI) brought Domestic Violence Awareness Month to the attention of FAMU students. The fraternity hosted its 8th annual “Saving Our Sisters” concert Thursday night in the Foster-Tanner music building recital hall. The ladies host the event every year to assist in uplifting victims and bringing awareness to domestic abuse.
SAI performed both group and solo acts of songs, sketches and spoken word poems. Some acts were heart-wrenching, others were inspiring, but they all surrounded one common theme: survival.
Ashley Beauford, FAMU senior and SAI member, wants women to embody resilience and celebrate the beauty of womanhood.
“Take time out to figure out who you are and what you’re worth. It starts with yourself … love yourself,” Beauford said.
Throughout the month of October, SAI also collected new and gently used women’s clothing to donate to The Chelsea House of Tallahassee, a safe haven for homeless women who have fallen victim to domestic abuse.
Zuri Montgomery, the SAI member who spearheaded this year’s clothing drive, happily announced that the fraternity collected a substantial amount of clothing to donate to the shelter.
“We were able to donate over 150 articles of clothing, about 15 pairs of shoes, self-help books, purses and other items,” Montgomery said.
Also in attendance were members of Men of Strength Tallahassee (MOST). MOST is a violence prevention program for mobilizing young men to sexual and dating violence. The organization provides men with a supportive space to build individualized definitions of masculinity that promote healthy relationships.
Jeffrey Dixon, member of MOST, spoke on behalf of the organization. He said the men of MOST don’t feed into the stereotypes surrounding college-aged men of today.
“We focus on bystander intervention and preventing violence against women,” Dixon said. “A lot of times, society puts men into a box. You have to act a certain way around women and around other guys. With Men of Strength, we go through a process where we unlearn all of that.”
The concert was arranged by the ladies of the fraternity in just a few weeks, and the turn out of the event was extremely gratifying for the group.
Beauford was overcome by emotion as she reflected on the performance and the past month’s clothing drive.
“A lot has gone in to this,” Beauford said. “We have been working almost every night to come up with this show to spread the word that we (women) do not have to stand for domestic violence.”
The women of SAI are focused on one common goal: making sisterhood a priority.
“We’re women. At the end of the day, we want to look out for women. We’re sisters. That’s the root of all of this,” Beauford said.