The mission of The P.O.W.E.R. Collective (People Of Wisdom Eternally Revolutionizing) is to produce, support, and disseminate community action projects and critical scholarship led by Black and nonblack students, community members and professionals of color at UW–Madison and throughout the state of Wisconsin.
Each year, the P.O.W.E.R. Collective hosts an annual Community Culture Cypher, a gathering to ground participants in a collective conversation about the role of scholar-activism, arts activism, and liberation practices. Through these and other events, the P.O.W.E.R. Collective helps to develop the next iteration of critically engaged scholars (scholar-activists) and community practitioners and ensure that this work centers and is led by communities of color, with an intentional approach and generative outcomes. View highlights from past Cyphers in the videos above.
- To engage in culturally appropriate and liberatory research, direct action, and community-based work that is centered around most impacted students and community members of color
- To establish the long-term sustainability of the research center that includes, but is not limited to, funded positions for students and community members of color in Madison
- To create a community–academic partnership that foregrounds community members and students of color as expert practitioners and producers of knowledge with a focus on channeling culturally diverse knowledge production and research throughout Madison, Wisconsin
- To ground all work in and operate from a social-justice and intersectional framework that uplifts and supports our most impacted communities of color, such as women of color, queer, gender nonconforming, and differently abled individuals
The P.O.W.E.R. Collective serves as a Black graduate student-led collective space at UW–Madison, housed in the School of Human Ecology (SoHE) Civil Society and Community Research (CSCR) department, to support research, political, and community action programs, as well as professional development for and by communities of color. In response to the long-term and increasingly visible violence against Black people and communities of color, P.O.W.E.R.—a collective of scholar-activists/organizers and community leaders—works to develop a common agenda and take on mutually reinforcing activities within the areas of research, direct political and community action, and professional development toward our collective liberation.
“Very rarely are there spaces designated for folks of color to exist, explore, and network unapologetically inside and outside of the academy.”Troy Williams, Core member of the P.O.W.E.R. Collective