Wednesday, June 10, 2015

OU-C student speaks on body-positive movement at recent conference in San Francisco


By student public relations writer Madison Corbin

This past April, Ohio University-Chillicothe student Samantha Newman spoke at the Youth + Tech + Health Live Sessions in San Francisco, Calif.  The YTH Sessions invites entrepreneurs, innovators and social leaders to convene and consider some of the most prevalent topics in modern society.  Newman’s presence was requested on a panel that discussed online harassment, the effect it can have upon its victims and the positive action that can be taken to prevent damaging consequences.  

Newman is a dedicated activist in the fight against body-shaming.  She maintains a strong online presence, encouraging body-positive proactivity and respect for bodies of all shapes and sizes.  Following controversy over an Instagram photo during the summer of 2014, about which more information is available here, Newman has been awarded the public attention and social platforms necessary to promote her self-respect-centered message. 

“My overall experience was incredible,” said Newman. “Being surrounded by people who were as motivated to change the world as I am was an incredibly inspiring and moving experience.”
Newman was welcomed warmly to California, her insight into overcoming online harassment highly sought from audiences.  After speaking with fellow panelists whose work she admired and having the opportunity to provide input from her own experiences, Newman began to fully understand her impact.   

“To be able to feel like I was doing something right . . . like every choice and decision I had made to stand up for myself and speak out had lead me here . . . I knew I did the right thing.”
Newman works avidly to offer encouragement to her peers by participating in student organizations and by living a proud example.  She hopes to one day weave the specific lessons she has learned into influential curriculum, as a professor.  Her primary goal is to inspire those around her to love themselves and invite happiness into their everyday lives. 

“When you experience things like online harassment the way that I did, you wonder if you should have just left things unsaid. You feel afraid and alone,” said Newman.  The conference ignited a different emotion in her.  “I felt like no one could stop me from spreading my message and speaking my mind, and that was so empowering . . . I am so grateful.”

More information about the YTH Sessions can be found at http://yth.org/ythlive/about/sessions-2015/.

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