As the daughter of an undocumented immigrant serving 30-to-life in a New Jersey prison, Tanisha “Wakumi” Douglas has dedicated her life to building leadership among youth most impacted by mass incarceration and other oppressive systems. She is the Co-founder and Executive Director of S.O.U.L. Sisters Leadership Collective, a leadership program for girls facing incarceration, homelessness and truancy. Prior to that, she was the Clinical Supervisor for the alternative-to-incarceration program for youth at the Center for Community Alternatives in Brooklyn, NY. She has worked as social worker, community organizer, trainer and popular educator for organizations including Miami Children’s Initiative, Sadie Nash Leadership Project, the Harlem Children’s Zone and Children’s Defense Fund, among others. She is a graduate of Columbia University School of Social Work where she focused on clinical practice, criminal justice, law and African-centered healing models. She did her undergraduate studies in culture and politics, with a minor in justice and peace and a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa at Georgetown University. She has also studied with renowned African-centered holistic healer Queen Afua and earned the Womb Wellness practitioner certification, holding womb wellness circles, soul sweats and spiritual ceremony. Wakumi believes strongly in the healing power of connection to Mother Earth and ancestors, telling stories, raising voices and taking action.
S.O.U.L (Sisters Organizing for Understanding & Leadership)
S.O.U.L (Sisters Organizing for Understanding & Leadership) Sisters Leadership Collective (SSLC) is a groundbreaking leadership development program that mobilizes our most vulnerable young women of color in NYC and Miami to interrupt cycles of poverty and violence. SSLC empowers those who have lived and breathed social inequality to become agents of personal and community transformation. Our model has 4 pillars: leadership, social justice, healing, and the arts. S.O.U.L Sisters also works on a macro level to interrupt cycles of criminalization and violence along racial lines through 1) engagement of all SSLC participants in social action projects, and 2) professional development on the implementation of restorative justice and trauma-informed practices for staff in schools and community-based organizations.