Transformational Leadership Institute

Our next TLI will be offered in 2017. If you are interested in this program, please contact taij(at)spiritinaction(dot)net for more information or sign up via our website to join our mailing list. Below is information about the 2015-16 TLI. 

Movements against state sanctioned violence and for liberation, centered on the experiences of Black people, are galvanizing people across the country. Women of color, trans and cis gender, lead these movements, using our voices, creativity, healing modalities, tactical skills, and power to draw attention to the breadth of violence our communities face. This moment warrants us to be bold and powerful, and collectively call the question: why is violence against all who identify as women and girls of color so normalized and pervasive in society?

SiOP’s 2015-16 TLI honors and supports individuals, organizations and networks working to end violence against women and girls of color by creating a space to strengthen and build community through deep healing, visioning and birthing a new reality.  SiOP is an intergenerational network of social justice movement makers who identify as women of color. Our leadership development and capacity building model radically redefines the status quo and ignites personal, structural and cultural liberation. Read more about SiOP or check out these Frequently Asked Questions about the TLI.

Women of color organizations contribute to #SayHerName as evidenced by the brief entitled, Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women, by the African American Policy Forum, the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies at Columbia University, and Andrea Ritchie, a Soros Justice Fellow. Black Youth Project 100 and #BlackLivesMatter helped organize vigils in 17 cities. The BlackOut Collective and #BlackLivesMatter in San Francisco used African, ancestral models of protest to reclaim their bodies and work. The Trans Women of Color Collective highlights the silencing of the stories of Trans women of color being murdered by the police. Girls for Gender Equity, Black Women’s Blueprint, Streetwise and Safe, INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, Women with a Vision, Af3irm, and Malcolm X Grassroots Movement have routinely named the intersectional nature of state violence and organized against it. These groups and so many others point out the reality that women of color face at the hands of the state: sexual assault by police and state sanctioned officials; physical, sexual, and spiritual abuse in jails, prisons, and detention centers; reproductive abuse’ profiling of lesbian and bisexual women; utilization of the child welfare state as punishment’ racist, sexist, and classist “war on drugs” policies; and gender policing of trans and gender nonconforming people.

There are so many individuals, organizations and networks that inspire SiOP to focus our 2015-16 Transformational Leadership Institute on convening organizers, cultural workers, activists, healers, non-profit leaders and artists working to end violence against women and girls of color.


The first step in becoming part of the Standing in Our Power TLI Cohort is to attend the upcoming retreat this fall (September 24-27, 2015) at Bailey Farms in Ossining, New York. The retreat is a time for cis and transgender women and gender nonconforming social justice movement makers to build a powerful, interdependent network to collectively address what we can do to construct a new reality where violence against cis and transgender women of color is no longer tolerated in society.

We believe we are in a moment that is ripe for change, a moment that beckons us to be our most empowered selves. Yet, at the same time as the movement builds momentum, burnout, depression, anxiety, and an overarching sense of pain and exhaustion also flows through movement spaces. The violence is relentless and overwhelming, targeting our babies, our elders, and our peers. Oppression hurts and disconnects, it drives apart and destroys, especially impacting those on the front lines. Women of color leaders sit with the trauma of those impacted, not naming the trauma of witnessing, and simultaneously experiencing the traumas that occur in the communities we struggle with.

Healing and justice are deeply intertwined.  It is time for us to heal, vision and create together, knowing our whole selves — emotional, spiritual, physical, and intellectual — matter. It is a political act to claim our healing, our happiness, and our personal and communal sustainability in movements. We must be bold and  powerful, showing up as leaders no matter what position we hold. We must commit to transformation, for ourselves, as well as our organizations and communities, while centering healing, personally and with community, and in the context of leadership.

If you are ready to build trust and community with others who share a history of work and commitment to shifting the status quo for women and girls of color…if you are ready to examine what we can do together to amplify this issue and strengthen the movement from the inside out with personal/collective healing and by building personal/collective power…If you identify as a woman of color movement maker, regardless of position or role, working to create a just, equitable and sustainable world…if you want to further develop your leadership within a supportive community that prioritizes and integrates multiple forms of healing, join us as part of the SiOP 2015-16 TLI to engage in transformational leadership development while building power, practice, relationships, and strategy.

siop presentation 2014-3

Participation in the 2015-2016 SiOP Transformational Leadership Institute is an opportunity to learn more about the SiOP model of transformational leadership development, engage in healing from internalized and institutional oppression and trauma in a safe space, practice culturally-based ways to create healthier working environments, and bring forth your most powerful self.

Objective: For leaders and healing justice practitioners who are intentionally supporting women and girls of color on the frontlines to evolve a collective vision and strategic action and resource development plan that expands influence and impact within their networks, to address violence taking place against women and girls of color on three levels:

  1. state sanctioned violence;
  2. gender and sexual violence in our communities; and
  3. gender and sexual violence in our social justice movements.

Retreat Goal: For participants to gain and share personal awareness, practices and connections which builds collective power for greater results from their efforts to end violence against women and girls of color without sacrificing individual happiness, sustainability and well-being.

Desired Impact:  As a result of the retreat and post-retreat offerings, women of color lead with a powerful collective vision and strategic action plan to move an agenda that liberates all across the gender spectrum.

How will we know impact is taking place? Women of color movement leaders and healing justice practitioners are intentionally supporting women and girls of color to:

  • Cultivate ongoing personal and collective transformation and sustainability by engaging in healing and experiencing the power of connecting creativity, spirituality and social justice.
  • Articulate a shared political framework and ideology which link intersecting oppressions such as race, gender, and class, and how to shift the political, social, cultural and economic landscape as it relates to all who identify as women and girls of color.
  • Reshape views on leadership by publicly sharing new models and practices and creating a new vocabulary for leadership success.

If you identify as a woman of color organizer, cultural worker, activist or healer working on the frontlines to end violence against women and girls of color, we invite you to apply today. The deadline for applications is July 17.  If you have more questions, after checking out these Frequently Asked Questions, please email taij(at)spiritinaction(dot)net.


Program Funding, Costs and Fees: Standing in Our Power is a program of Spirit in Action, a national movement building organization, and is currently supported by generous individual donors, program registration fees and sponsorships. The cost per participant for the retreat is $2,500, which includes retreat expenses (lodging/food/materials), and staff/consultant time. Based on your organizational budget or income (as applicable), please review the sliding scale on the application to determine your registration fee. We do not want to turn anyone away due to funds and have a limited amount of scholarships available based on request and need. We encourage you to seek sponsorship from your organization or to launch your own crowdfunding campaign to support you to take part in this unique opportunity. If you are able, we invite you to consider supporting another participant by making a donation or sponsoring the retreat. More details are on the application form and FAQ.

Application Review Process:

    1. Submit your completed application by July 17.
    2. Take part in a 45-60 minute one-on-one interview with a member of our team. The interview process supports both SiOP and the applicant to confirm that this opportunity is coming at the right time for optimal engagement of the applicant in the retreat and the post-retreat offerings. Responses will also help to shape a retreat agenda that is reflective of and speaks to participants’ current situation and hopes for the retreat.
    3. All applicants will be informed of SiOP’s decision no later than August 10.

After the National Retreat:

At the end of the retreat, participants will create a roadmap forward and work with our leadership team to determine what supports they need. This may include individual or group coaching, collaborative projects, organizational development consulting, webinars, workshops, etc.  We will work together to identify what is most needed to support you in deepening your practice as transformational leaders.