In less than a week, the story of the launch of the Standing in Our Power (SiOP) network has reached thousands. We created an online community on Facebook that already has engaged over 550 women of color. The outpouring of interest and support affirms the need for this network, which is comprised of women of color leaders building community with each other to transform self and society. We have heard from several women that they are ready to explore and live into new paradigms of leadership that are reflective of their vision and values. Several women proclaimed that “SiOP is right on time” for them and their organizations. One particular response that stands out is from Loretta Ross, Executive Director of Sister Song: Women of Color Reproductive Justice Center
Loretta tells us:
“I am honored to join this group. I first became an Executive Director at age 25, at the first rape crisis center in the country in Washington, DC. As the third director of the center I had many successes but also made many mistakes because I did not have the mentors I needed, did not know how to build trust, and did not seek to intentionally build a network like SiOP. The most we built then in the 1970s was a Women of Color Executive Directors’ monthly lunch at which we could talk about things we couldn’t share with our staffs. But our organizations came and went so quickly because of the lack of funding it was hard to keep that momentum up. So now 33 years later, thank you for your vision and clearly seeing the needs of both younger and older sisters of color in leadership positions.”A core committee of eight women is working in collaboration with our network weaver, Taij Kumarie Moteelall, to design and plan the inaugural SiOP gathering to be held in March 2012. After an intentional research and development phase, followed by the launch of the network, we are beginning a Deep Listening phase. Over the next few months, women of color will share their stories through writing, video and social media, as well as through one-on-one and small group meetings. These stories of struggle and triumph will lay the foundation for SiOP’s future work. If you have a story to share or would like to be involved with SiOP, please contact us.