SASS 1

Patience Billing cuts out materials for a storyboard Jan. 29.

Since 2014, black women at the UofA have found mentorship and a space for open discussion through Students Advocating for Stronger Sisterhood, a Registered Student Organization.

Almost six years after the RSO’s founding, SASS executive board members announced that the University of Memphis will soon establish its own chapter.

“What we’re about is bringing college women together and allowing them to have a safe place on campus to discuss what we go through as women,” said Jakayla Storey, a UA senior and SASS president. “We really try to focus on relationships among minority women.”

The UA chapter has 54 members. Women of all races may attend the organization’s monthly meetings.

Addison Jones, a junior at the University of Memphis, reached out to Storey after she saw social media posts about SASS and wanted to do something similar on her own campus, she said.

“I loved how there was something there, how girls had an opportunity to have somewhere to go,” Jones said. “I know that girls feel like they don’t have anyone to talk to, or a safe environment to talk about anything and everything.”

The first general body meeting for the University of Memphis chapter will be Feb. 10. Jones said she is excited to see the sisterhood that SASS will bring to her campus.

“You have all these girls surrounding you with good energy, positive energy,” Jones said. “They just uplift you.”

Storey joined SASS during her freshman year and said that SASS has given her a place to be herself and create an open dialogue with other black women.

The quick bond and relationships she formed with other girls helped her realize that SASS was the place for her, Storey said.

“If someone told me this is what I would be doing a couple of years ago, I would have been like ‘That is insane, power to her,’ but here I am now,” Storey said. “It means the world to me and really is something that I will leave college truly missing, but also truly feeling like I left my legacy here.”

SASS members have always had the dream of making the group larger but never thought it would happen so fast, Skkye Robinson, a junior and SASS outreach chair, said.

“For us as this small organization, to be able to spread out to another campus that’s not even in our state, it is huge for us,” Robinson said.

SASS gave Robinson the chance to connect with other black women on campus and make friends, she said.

“It’s such a beautiful moment to share for ladies who are of like mind and who are my people,” Robinson said. “They are my sisters, they are truly my sisters.”

The first SASS week on the UA campus will be at the beginning of March. Members will work to share the purpose of the group. Attendees can participate in activities like karaoke and a paint and chat event, Storey said. SASS will collect feminine products and toiletries to give to a women’s shelter throughout the week.

At the end of the week, members will learn more about black women in dance, and have a dance instructor come and teach, Storey said.

“It’s really special I think to have an organization that plays such a big role in someone’s life,” Storey said. “It’s how I met so many of my friends and I do see a lot of them as sisters.”

Abbi Ross is a staff reporter for the Arkansas Traveler, where she has been a staff reporter since March 2019.

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