In the beginning…
On December 3, 1992, on the campus of Florida State University, the Vice-President of Student Affairs Dr. Jon Dalton issued a Memorandum that declared, “in accordance with the provisions of the Board of Regents Rule 6C-6/011 and applicable Florida State rules, the following named student organization is (SISTUHS) hereby registered at Florida State University.
On December 3, 1992, Dr. Dalton, authorized the founding of SISTUHS on the campus of Florida State University in North Florida, by the commissioning of the aforementioned memorandum, which entitled the members to convene and execute business under the title of SISTUHS. The purpose of SISTUHS was and is, to foster an environment conducive to learning about the history and role women of color have in this society; develop local leadership to respond to the community needs, particularly those of women. The organization thrived on the idea that individuals would not be discriminated against when applying for membership into SISTUHS. SISTUHS aimed to be an organized open to all students attending Florida State University, particularly those who are interested in acquiring knowledge about women of color, their history, and enhancing the survival and well being of women of color.
The founders of SISTUHS are Akiba Jackson and Germaine Smith-Baugh. They were under the advising of Joann Clark a faculty member in the Office of Financial Aid. The first officers of the Chapter were:
President, Akiba Jackson
Vice-President, Germaine Smith
Co-Vice President, Audrey Y. Luccio
Secretary, Kami Berry
Treasurer, Stephanie Crosskey
The organization began with 15 faithful members; Assata, Kami Berry, Tammi Berry, Latrelle Bright, Stephanie Crosskey, Stacy Drisdom, Kamara Garrett, Milcah Henry, Akiba Jackson, Tara Jones, Kristie Kennedy, Shannon Lett, Audry Y. Luccio, Taranda Ross, and Germaine Smith. Dues were a mere $2.00 per semester.
And then there were two…
The University of Florida (UF) Chapter, the second chapter of SISTUHS, Inc., was established in the spring of 1998, in Gainesville, Florida. The UF chapter was established by Shantè Collins, Myrland Etienne, Edelyne Guerrier, Evelyn Harocopos, Shakisha Harris, Evelyn Hernandez, Jessica Montalvo, Litza Rivera, and Kimberly Snelling, who was also the first president of the chapter. The UF Chapter was the first chapter of SISTUHS, Inc. to induct a substantial number of Latin-American women.
The Florida A&M University (FAMU) Chapter of SISTUHS, Inc. was the third chartered chapter. The chapter was chartered at the sister-univerity of the founding chapter, Florida State University, which is also located in Tallahassee. The charter was significant because this became the first chapter of SISTUHS, Inc. that was chartered on the campus of a Historically Black College or University (HBCU).
On Sunday, March 21, 1999, the Florida A&M University Chapter began with an Executive Board composed of 16 outstanding women. The following young ladies who founded the chapter and served on the first Executive Board upheld each of our acronyms to the highest possible caliber: Sarrena (Williams) Bennett, Novia Knight, Renee Lemonier, TaVona Boggs, Keturah Lee, Kanika Frazier, Medesa Garrett, Amber Butler, Tamara Gordon, Kezmiche Atterbury, Alexis Smalls, Paulina Bolton, Melinda
Wylie, Diana Lee, Genè Means, and Bridgette Evans. On April 3, 1999, the FAMU chapter then inducted 29 general body members, leading to a total of 45 members. On Sunday, November 7, 1999, the FAMU chapter also inducted 81 innovative and glorious new SISTUHS.
The fourth chapter of SISTUHS, Inc. was organized at the University of South Florida (USF) in 1998. This chapter located in Tampa, Florida became an official organization of USF in October 1999, with the successful completion of the chapter’s first Rights of Passage. A young woman of color, by the name of Lashan A. King, chartered the University of South Florida’s chapter of SISTUHS, Inc. and was accompanied by 18 charter members. On average the chapter successfully inducts approximately fifty women of color every year into the University of South Florida’s chapter of SISTUHS, Inc.
SISTUHS on the move…
The first professional chapter of SISTUHS, Inc. was officially chartered as the Leon County Professional Chapter of SISTUHS, Inc. This chapter in North Florida was chartered in 2001. Carla Whitfield served as the first President for this chapter. In 2003, the chapter then became the North Florida Professional chapter.
Back in business…
After a period of activity, the UF chapter became inactive, but in January of 2003, a new group of determined young ladies set out to get SISTUHS, Inc. back on the UF campus. With their hard work and dedication, the University of Florida Chapter of SISTUHS, Inc. was reestablished on March 13, 2003. The new members of this chapter were: Jazmyn Alston, Susan Ban, Tarena Franks, Thea Hammond, Andrea Hayes, Jasmine Jones, Kenyetta Mullins, Sherika Murray, Monique Payton, Philiane Phang, Modoline Pierre, Raeloni Richards, Lauren Taylor, Kamika Walsh, and Robyn Waterman, with Monique Payton being the new president.
Strength in numbers…
Four former collegiate chapter members from the FSU, USF, and FAMU chapters of SISTUHS, Inc. began to brainstorm in March 2003, the possibility of starting the second professional chapter in their hometown of Tampa, Florida. Tommietta Green, Keneitha Monroe, Amelia Howard, and Cilicia Prince organized and executed several Informational Meetings and sought out SISTUHS who had graduated from their respective chapters.
By June 7, 2003, the individuals were pleased to realize that they had acquired 15 former collegiate members and were well on the way to be an official chapter.
The Rites of Passage began on July 26, 2003. The chapter installed its first five elected Executive Board members on August 3, 2003, the official charter date. National Directress, Debra Wright, and the National Board members assisted. The first Executive Board for the Tampa, Florida Professional Chapter consisted of: Tommietta Green, President; Keneitha Monroe, Vice President; Samantha Holmes, Secretary; Amber Lamar, Treasurer; and Hazel Medford, Parliamentarian.