FAMU fraternity holds domestic violence showcase

 Poster from What's Love Got To Do With It: Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Concert | Photo Credit: Theta Nu Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota

The Theta Nu Chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity hosted the “What’s Love Got To Do With It” showcase, to raise awareness about domestic violence, in Foster Tanner Recital Hall on Friday night.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an average of 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than ten million women and men.

The purpose of the musical showcase was not only to entertain the crowd, but also highlight the impact of domestic violence in the community. The showcase featured singers, poets and musicians whose performances dealt with themes of tragedy and triumph.

Florida A&M University alumna, Akeen Gervin, was among the many performances of the night. Gervin sang the Keith Urban hit, “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” and hoped the audience took away the message from the song.

“The song basically talks about how blue looks goods on the wall, it looks good in the sky, but on your eye, it doesn’t work,” Gervin said. “I hope that it brought light to the situation. Even if you kind of feel a certain way about it, it’s not something you can look at lightly.”

Throughout the month of October, the women of Sigma Alpha Iota have been collecting donations of clothing and feminine hygiene products to donate to the Refuge House. The Refuge House provides shelter and resources to those who are affected by sexual and physical violence in all eight counties of the Big Bend Area.

Pre-physical therapy student, Jazzmyne Stephenson, took a different approach to the message she was to share with the audience. As a member of Voices Poetry Group, she used her spoken word piece as an opportunity to reinforce self-love.

“I hope they took away that even though it feels like love it may not be love,” Stephenson said. “…you just have to really start focusing more on yourself in order to better yourself, so you can recognize the signs.”

With the help of live musicians, the women of Sigma Alpha Iota used their voices for an issue that may keep many silent. As each member of Sigma Alpha Iota took to the stage, there was an immediate energy exchange from the audience. When each performer sang, the crowd sang along with them. When they gave powerful performances, they were given standing ovations.

During the intermission, the audience was encouraged to recognize the signs of domestic violence. Senior theater and performance student, Tyeshia Anderson, was in charge of helping the crowd identify the various ways they could get help if they were in an abusive relationship and ways to help a friend that is in an abusive relationship. She hoped attendees left the event more educated.

“Ultimately, I wanted everyone to leave being entertained and informed as well,” Anderson said. “Because it is Domestic Violence Awareness month, our number one goal as Sigma Alpha Iota was to get everyone to know the signs of domestic violence, what to do to help a friend that’s in a domestic violent dispute and how you can donate to our local refuge housing.”

To learn more about domestic violence in the Big Bend area, visit http://www.refugehouse.com/index.php/learn.