With my sisters, I am best.
While these words are the last words in the Affirmation for my sorority, Tau Beta Sigma National Honorary Band Sorority, INcorporated, these six words resonate on a level that extends beyond music and band life. These words have almost become a mantra for existing and thriving through this world as a Black Woman.
Going back to the beginning of this journey, I am a member of the Iota Lambda Chapter of Tau Beta Sigma at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (GO HEELS!). I am the 14th member of my chapter, meaning I came into my chapter at a VERY young stage. When I was initiated into this sisTAUhood almost 10 years ago, I don’t even think that I was prepared to find myself and develop culturally from an organization that has no Black founders. Starting with my chartering mothers, over half of the line consisted of Black Women. They were section leaders attempting what was seemingly impossible to bring about at UNC, while also being exceptional students in the classroom. As a sophomore, I had these six women began to shape me and they had no idea. I wanted to have the determination and unrelenting Blackness of Christina, the faith and unshakable foundation of Yvette, the caring nature of Kellie, the strength and fortitude of Sharita, the “no-nonsense” persona of Ronae, and the silent power of Lamesha. They were, and still are, walking example of #BlackGirlMagic.
Then, as I worked my way around to other chapters, the examples only grew and helped me to become more comfortable with being Black and a woman. Two of the best examples are two of my sorors from the chapter at North Carolina A&T State University. In the history of the band there, there had been two female drum majors. The first is currently a medical doctor. The unspoken lesson I received from her is loyalty and confidence, as she is faithful in returning to her alma mater and her chapter to both be present and to serve. She also does not mind jumping back into the tunnel to march with the other drum majors and remind people why she was the FIRST female drum major. The second female drum major gave me the lesson of being who you are and owning it. She helps me constantly to be okay with being blerdy (Black and nerdy, if you did not know) and not fitting all the “stereotypical Black girl” boxes. Both probably do not know I feel this way; however, at the end of the day, I see you, Sorors. I see you.
I said all of this to say that when I sing those last six words of the Affirmation, it almost always leaves me with this warm place in my heart. With my sisters of my organization, I am best. But, just as I have adopted this for my personal mantra, think about this from time to time: I am also best with my sistas of color. When we are lifting each other up through sites like Cite A Sista or conversing through GroupMe or in person, we are at our best. When we compliment one of us for finishing our degrees, for looking very nice today or just because one of us looks like we need the uplift, we are at our best.
Sistas, I see you.
And with all of you in my network, I am best.