Standing in Our Power (SiOP)

After nearly a decade as a project invested in and nurtured by Spirit in Action with $100,000’s of dollars and 1000’s of hours of staff time, Standing in Our Power (SiOP) launched a new chapter in 2019 by seeking its own strategic path.   SiOP began as part of SIA’s network building program in 2011, which enabled activists, organizations and communities to connect with their own spirit and then with others through powerful networks.  “Creating space and programs like SiOP has—to heal trauma, build trust and authentic communication, cultivate shared vision and analysis, and exchange resources—is vital to building broad, action-oriented movements in the long term,” says Linda Stout, SIA’s executive director. “SIOP is a project we have been proud to foster and work hard to help succeed and grow.”

SiOP Mission Statement:  “We envision a world where all who identify as women and girls of color co-create a new story of holistic transformation, sustainability and wellness for all across the gender spectrum.”

SiOP Vision Statement:  “Standing in Our Power is an intergenerational network of social justice movement leaders and social entrepreneurs who identify as trans and cisgender women of color, and gender non-conforming people of color. Through our transformative leadership development and capacity building model, we radically redefine the status quo to ignite personal, structural and cultural liberation.”

SiOP History:

Throughout Spirit in Action’s history, we as an organization have felt that it was important to catalyze broad-based movement building. Our vision is a world in which people live sustainably, power is shared collectively, and peace and justice flourish.  In 2010, Spirit in Action decided to invest resources to further its goal of catalyzing movement building by bringing in Taij Kumarie Moteelall to assist in the development and creation of what would become Standing in Our Power. 

In 2011, SiOP became more defined and in 2012 was launched as a full time project of Spirit in Action with Taij Kumarie Moteelall hired as Program Director to oversee the further growth and development of the program.

SiOP’s purpose was to leverage the healing and catalyzing power of the arts, culture and spirituality and to amplify the voices and visions of women of color social justice leaders and social entrepreneurs. Collectively, they sought to co-create new leadership paradigms and practices for our social movements and beyond.  Through a leadership development and capacity building model, SiOP sought to radically redefine the status quo to ignite personal, structural and cultural liberation.

SiOP developed a collective model to practice and implement transformative change personally and collectively. By fostering strong communities of practice, SiOP sought to redefine the “norm” and intentionally forge new paths.

SiOP created programs focusing on women of color movement-makers through a series of national retreats, workshops, webinars and coaching.  SiOP held such workshops and retreats as:

  • Women of Color in Philanthropy Retreat
  • Transformational Leadership Institute (TLI) (an ongoing program focus)
  • Train the Trainers (T3) (an ongoing program focus)
  • Empowerment Workshops
  • Activist Women of Color Self-Care Retreat

Over its history under Spirit in Action, SiOP grew into a network of more than 1,000 members working across a multitude of identities, classes, issues, sectors and geography to eliminate disparities for women of color and gender nonconforming people. SiOP offered programs that:

  • Foster transformative leadership development among social justice movement-makers.
  • Cultivate individual and organizational wellness.
  • Leverage the power of creativity for inspiration, growth and action.
  • Integrate spirituality/contemplative practice into social justice movements.
  • Connect social entrepreneurship with non-profit work to ensure increased sustainability.
  • Develop mastery in organizing, advocacy, resource development, fiscal management and communications.

While programs initially focused on women of color leading in nonprofits, SiOP learned that at least one-third of its program participants were interested in exploring entrepreneurship as a viable career pathway.  SiOP’s Women of Color Business Incubator emerged as a program area and was in direct response to the group’s recommendation to expand the SiOP model and launch an incubator where members who are aspiring and active entrepreneurs can access support year-round. The early work in this area resulted in women of color transitioning from working full-time to launching 10 new businesses and strengthening an additional 20 small businesses.

SiOP has had many successes over the years as a project of Spirit in Action.  As the program transitions away from Spirit in Action in 2019, its current/ongoing programs include:

Train-the-Trainers (T3)

Are you ready to step up and become stewards of the work within your organizations, businesses and networks? Participate in our T3 and learn how to align the Standing in Our Power methodology with your skills, talents, experiences and vision! The SiOP community of practice provides participants with continual guidance, coaching and support to facilitate spaces that center wellness, empowerment and sustainability. The entrepreneurial component of the T3 prepares participants to generate income individually and/or organizationally as an SiOP trainer-partner.

Transformational Leadership Institute (TLI)

Are you eager to center your own wellness, empowerment and sustainability to thrive in life and your leadership? The TLI is an opportunity for trans and cisgender women of color, and gender nonconforming people of color, to experience our breakdown to breakthrough model. This institute is for social justice leaders and social entrepreneurs who want to build trust and community with others who share a commitment to shifting the status quo to ignite personal, structural and cultural liberation. The TLI consists of a 3-5 day residential retreat, followed by coaching from certified SiOP coaches and peer support. Our TLI has been customized annually for various cohorts, ranging from women of color in philanthropy, folks who are part of the Movement for Black Lives, leaders working to end violence against women and girls of color, and more. If you want to further develop your leadership within a supportive community that prioritizes and integrates multiple forms of healing, and leverages the power of creativity and spirituality, contact us today.

Transformative Entrepreneurship Program (TEP)

Are you interested in exploring entrepreneurship as a viable pathway to joyfully live your purpose and foster self-determination? Then our new Transformative Entrepreneurship Program (TEP) is for you! SiOP will train 20 trans and cisgender women of color, and gender non-conforming people of color entrepreneurs to build or strengthen a sustainable business. TEP training will encompass leadership retreats, webinars, skills-building activities and coaching/mentoring. Upon completion, they will have launched or scaled a small business; raised funding and/or venture capital; developed a library of knowledge and peer-support network; and increased their access to business mentors, funders and investors. This program will support you as an entrepreneur to do your social transformation work in a way that fuels economic recovery and builds sustainable wealth within your household and the disadvantaged communities you serve.

In Solidarity, We Trust

This political moment beckons us to stretch our imagination around what is possible and build inner/outer power to transform movements to be in greater solidarity across identities, issues and power/privilege. In so doing, we create the possibility for greater solidarity among polarized groups. To move from a world of domination/exploitation to one of collaboration/partnership, SiOP believes it is essential to be in the deep practice of a “power with” rather than a “power over” paradigm. In the next five years, SiOP seeks to strengthen solidarity within our network and build power with allies. In Solidarity, We Trust, a new program that we are launching in 2018-19, begins with women of color building solidarity among ourselves and will work outward through a process of cultivating solidarity with white women, men of color and beyond in aligned gender, racial and economic justice movements. Through a listening phase, curricula and tools development, retreats, coaching and capacity building services, we will build collective power in a time of crisis. Resisting the dominant, individualistic tendency that pushes us to go inward and contract, we will heal across divides, build authentic connections and be expansive.  In Solidarity, We Trust will support us to honor our oneness and practice being in right relation to each other.

Consulting Projects and Services

Standing in Our Power offers a range of coaching and consulting services, and also partners with movement leaders, philanthropic institutions and governmental agencies to co-design and facilitate transformational leadership programs for trans and cisgender women of color, and gender nonconforming people of color.  For instance, we have worked with the New York City Capacity Building Collaborative to provide an Empowerment Workshop Series for their grantees; we’ve worked with Access Strategies Fund to provide a healing retreat for their women of color grantee leaders; and we co-design and facilitate the Colorado Transformative Leaders for Change (TLC) Fellowship, a year-long transformative leadership development program in Colorado is for social justice leaders of color.