‘You Are My Sista’ movement empowers women on campus

Sarah Minkewicz, Associate News Editor

SUNY Buffalo State has a new movement on campus called “You Are My Sista,” which is a mental movement to get women to think positively about themselves and their peers.

The movement was formed by a group of students on campus who noticed a recent trend of negativity between their classmates and people around Buffalo State. The main members of the movement are Yasmine Payton, Netroya Bazilio, Ashura Simon, Kaicherise McRae and Tamika Casey.

The principles of the movement are: “compliment, don’t compete,” “bond, don’t bash,” “help, don’t hate” and “be pretty, not petty.”

Payton, a public communications major and sociology minor, said in order for women on campus to think in a positive light, they need to bring attention to the problems that separate women, such as competition and jealousy, and then present ways to solve them.

The movement has reached other colleges across the states such as Binghamton, Fayetteville and North Carolina. Payton said that social media has played a factor in the outreach of the movement.

“It has received a lot of attention and support via social media,” Payton said.

You Are My Sista held its first event to address these issues last month.

The event was titled You Are My Sista Confabulation, and it was held on Nov. 4 in the Student Union’s Social Hall. Almost 150 students attended.

The event was a way for the women at Buffalo State to get together and interact and also highlight women empowerment.

Payton was the main organizer for the event and said she came up with the idea after having a conversation with a friend of hers about her attitude.

“I realized how hard it was for women to get along and simply compliment each other and say hello,” Payton said. “Whereas for guys, it’s a piece of cake.”

It was a women-only event in order for those attending to feel more comfortable and willing to express themselves without the added pressure that having men present might cause.

“We agreed to not have men in attendance because, whether we are aware of it or not, we as women tend to change the way we talk and what we say if there are men in the room, regardless if we are attracted to them or not,” Payton said.

The event began with an icebreaker. People were asked to write down their insecurities on a piece of paper to spark conversation between groups sitting at a table together. Then, one by one, they brought them up to the stage to drop in a box.

There was then a slide show of photos that were submitted via Instagram, using the hashtag #youaremysista, of the women at the event as a way to get those who attended to have more confidence. Each photo that was shown was accompanied by a caption with a positive message and several compliments about the individual being photographed. Each caption was sent in anonymously and was a way for the students to realize that they’ve affected other people in an inspiring way.

“Even though people aren’t saying it, there are people watching you and admiring you,” Payton said at the event. “As women, that’s okay. It’s okay to say you admire someone.“

Payton also said they don’t intend for this to be a trend, but an idea to inspire a personal change and to help give motivation to break the ice amongst women.

“It all starts with a compliment,” Payton said.

Students can get involved in the movement by simply smiling at other females on campus, and if you see someone on campus that’s dressed nice don’t be afraid to tell them. Payton and the other organizers hope to slowly rid Buffalo State’s community of hostility between women.

“We aren’t expecting immediate change, but if you can inspire at least one person, you’ve made a difference,” Payton said.

The movement plans to have more events in the future and to continue inspiring women on campus to appreciate their peers without judgment.

“We definitely expect to have more programs bigger and better,” Tamika Casey, another member of the movement, said. “We just want to inspire and encourage change, no matter how small.”


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