Standing in Our Power (SiOP) was founded in 2011 by Taij Kumarie Moteelall with the vision of transforming leadership paradigms, especially for women of color on the frontlines of social movements. Over the last seven years, SiOP has been rebirthed, time and again, through collective and iterative processes.
Nineteen dynamic facilitators/coaches, healers, entrepreneurs, artists, and activists have joined forces to evolve and expand this vision. They co-created a transformative leadership development and capacity building model, impacted the lives and leadership of hundreds of leaders, and built a national network of trans and cisgender women of color, and gender non-conforming people of color, leading change in social movements and social entrepreneurship.
Seven years after SiOP’s founding, we are living in a moment where women of color, particularly Black women, are leading the way— from founding two of the boldest movements of our time, #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo, to running cutting-edge non-profit organizations and excelling in entrepreneurship. Women of color are running for office in force, flexing political muscle at the ballot box, embodying equitable practices and trailblazing an intersectional analysis.
Yet, our leadership and success have a shadow side. Women of Color are often overworked, in crisis and burning out. We receive the lowest pay and live in asset poverty. Unresolved trauma and internalized oppression limit our confidence at times. We benefit from living and leading in healthier ways, and doing so in greater solidarity. Still, there is little support for our wellness, empowerment, and sustainability. And, we get the least amount of philanthropic and capital investment funding.
SiOP addresses this by creating liberating spaces for deep, personal and interpersonal healing and transformation so that leaders can be powerful within themselves and with each other. From a place of personal power and agency, leaders thrive and innovate. We build connective tissue between leaders to foster interdependence and mobilize increased resources collaboratively. We tap into the power of our spirituality and our indigenous cultures and leverage art and creativity to catalyze radical imagination. In so doing, we transcend our conditioned tendencies and limiting beliefs to co-create fearless, audacious and bold visions and take empowered action.