created by a woman of colour, for BIWOC

warriors for embodied liberation

WEL is an invitation only offering of Universal Partnership (UP) and led by master trainer, coach, and facilitator, rusia mohiuddin. a 2-year teacher training program, WEL centers the leadership of BIWOC to lead, teach, and heal in our communities and movements.

our work is funded & supported by Robert Sterling Clark Foundation.

embodied coaching creator & teacher

rusia n. mohiuddin is a master trainer, facilitator, coach, and strategist who pioneered the integration of somatics into an organizing framework. drawing from her experiences in life and in movement work, she has developed a coaching and training model specifically designed to serve women of colour.

embodied coaching™

this model of coaching centers humanity & is driven by practices of change that acutely align with who & how we want to be in the world. embodied coaching integrates both how unique experiences shape individual as well as integrating a model of how we tend to change, intentionally & unintentionally.

embodied training & facilitation

WEL students engage in, practice, & then learn to facilitate & train on a growing number of core methodologies, specifically created for the WEL community. this works serves a grounding first, then a springboard for folks to take their learned experiences to create models & methodologies of their own.

Warriors for Embodied Liberation (WEL) is a 2-year teacher training program for individuals looking to cultivate skills and certification on embodied coaching™ and training, specific to the developed model of embodied leadership and embodied organizing™ as innovated by its creator, Rusia Mohiuddin, the principal of universal partnership.

the WEL program includes 24 daylong trainings and 24 (50 minute) coaching sessions. all sessions will be virtual until further notice and run from April 2021 to February 2022.

the cost of the yearlong program is as follows:

  • $2400.00 per year, for self-pay; or
  • $2700.00 per year, for institutional support.
everything you need to know to…

make a grounded decision.

WEL is a rigorous cohort-based teacher training program. to complete the program and certification process requires a grounded understanding of the expectations and requirements.

this is a practice-driven program.

this application processes are designed by teacher-students entering their 2nd year of the program.

interested? email us


  • complete application
  • schedule interview
  • complete interview
  • applicant notification
  • cohort 5 sessions begin in April 2021

decision-making process

  • WEL cohort 4 (C4) invites & reviews applicants/applications
  • C4 will determine which applicants to interview based on application
  • Paired C4 teams interview applicants
  • C4, based on interview teams’ recommendations, make a collective decision on applicants to invite into C5
  • C4 makes final recommendation to teacher & facilitator, rusia, to determine cohort 5 participants


  • Application available December 11, 2020
  • Application due by January 6, 2020
  • Interview period: January 25- February 9, 2021
  • Finalists selected and notified: February 25, 2021

things to consider

  • applicant understands requirements & expectations
  • organization (if applicable) is aware of & supports applicant’s participation in WEL
  • applicant plans & creates availability for the full application process & all sessions
  • timely availability of applicant to complete & engage in process & to cohort 4

during and after the program, participants will…

  • Formally be certified as an Embodied Coach™ and Embodied Trainer/Facilitator;
  • Cultivate a client base to coach using UP’s Embodied Coaching methodology, principles and values;
  • Develop sharp skills in:
    • Supervisory and managerial excellence;
    • Authentic embodied leadership skills that inspire others to bring their best selves forward in their life and work;
    • Focus on generative problem-solving;
    • Develop effective collective and group work; and
    • Increase effectiveness and efficiency with acuteness that honors their work and their humanity.
    • Design and facilitate embodied leadership retreats, such as #practicingJUSTICE 1.0 (daylong versions);
    • Integrate embodied leadership practices into their work using innovative and personal styles; and
    • Develop grounding relationships, throughout the program, to serve as a support community moving forward.
certification requirements
grounded practice
accrued coaching hours
accrued training hours


Jaritza Geigel

Cohort 1

As a young black womyn growing up in a quickly gentrifying community, experiencing systemic and institutional oppression, like so many of my peers, I found myself drowning. I was lucky enough to find a home in the Youth Power Project (YPP) of MRNY where I was able to begin my re-education and reintegration into my community that I had been living in, but also felt hidden from. YPP was and still remains my family where I learned key principles and values essential to any leader – trust, compassion, honesty, accountability, self-love and sustainability. All exactly in that order.

As a member of MRNY, I found myself working collaboratively with my peers and organizers to coordinate local, citywide, and national youth organizing events through the Urban Youth Collaborative (UYC) and the Alliance for Educational Justice (AEJ). A few years later, I had the amazing opportunity to become part of the YPP team as an organizer on staff. MRNY at the time was the coordinating anchor organization of AEJ. I took on the role of event planning and logistics for AEJ national convenings at 19 years old. MRNY saw leadership and skills that I didn’t even realize were being cultivated in myself at the time. With each convening wanting to meet the needs of all the communities that I would be serving I was committed to making sure that each convening, meeting, training, action, youth networking event was better than the last and it was. This was one of the many moments during my organizing career where I remember feeling, seeing, and embracing joy from a job well done. While wearing my coordinating and logistics hat, I also still had to show up as an organizer and support the young people.

The extension of trust, compassion, honesty, and accountability that was given to me as a youth leader was critical to my successful experience as an organizer. I also realized the importance of cultivating self love and learning to be more sustainable if I was going to continue to want to serve my community for the long haul. I had the opportunity to further my professional development by participating in an 11 week intensive training: Leaders for Embodied Organizing (LEO), with Rusia Mohiuddin from Universal Partnership. LEO was the integration of somatics & organizing skills. It was exactly what I needed. I came back from the training ready, grounded, and understanding just exactly how I wanted to continue to work with young people from various socio economic and health backgrounds within in my community.

2017, I spent it assisting a new local organization in the South Bronx build out their youth program, bring on a permanent staff for the Youth Team, assist in their year long development plan, and assisted in the creation and facilitation of their first ever youth summer program where stipends were raised through a grassroots effort. Even as I have since transitioned out of my role the relationship with the leaders & staff brought on continue to live on.

During this time I was also a student-apprentice of Warrior’s for Embodied Liberation (WEL). WEL is an apprenticeship program developed and lead by Universal Partnership's principle, Rusia Mohiuddin. WEL is a 2-year training program in which the students learn and practice the core methodologies for embodied training and coaching. as a part of their studies, students explore, learn, and develop pieces on our understanding of many things related to change work. One of the first points of entry, into understand the work UP does, is human nature. what is human behavior and how does change happen? It has been and continues to be a privilege to share space with mentors & peers that seek to change the world with integrity, resilience, humor, & love at the center. It is the breath of fresh air & understanding that I have been seeking.

Organizing is a small world and I have had the honor to meet & share space with former Picture the Homeless members (PTH) during my leadership as young organizer. After taking a much needed break and through intentional reflection I felt ready to come back into the organizing movement and I feel lucky to have found another home with Picture the Homeless (PTH). There is already so much richness and authenticity! I am looking forward to sitting, listening, building & creating lasting impactful change with PTH members and staff.

Mo George

Cohort 1

Monique “Mo” George or Mo (as she is often called) joined Picture The Homeless (PTH) as the Executive Director in January 2017. Mo formally worked with Community Voices Heard (CVH), as the NYC Chapter Director of Organizing. Mo worked to advance CVH’s NYC Chapter work, which ranges from the preservation of public housing, supporting the need for low-income housing and participatory budgeting.

Mo's over 25 years of organizing experience begun in college where she worked locally with NYPIRG on varies environmental issues. Upon graduation, Mo began working with SEIU Local 1199 and was there for close to 10 years. After leaving 1199, Mo moved on to become the Lead Organizer at the Empire State Pride Agenda, where she fought for the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. At Pride Agenda, Mo worked on various statewide campaigns including being on the lead team that developed the organizing strategies to win Marriage Equality across New York State. She also furthered the annual statewide lobby day, as it expanded from 400 to over 1000 participants. After moved on from Pride Agenda, Mo joined CVH to work on something near and dear to her, public housing.

As a proud product of public housing, she feels that her past work at CVH has help to preserve public housing, and the campaign has won over $700 million towards that preservation. Mo organizing work has led her from meetings at the White House, to becoming a Professional Fellow with the U.S. Department of State through their work with the Greater Lakes Consortium out of Toledo Ohio. This work has allowed her to travel across Eastern Europe to places such as Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria, to teach community organizing as well as learn about challenges facing varies Eastern European communities.

Mo dedicated her leadership skills to her growth while working with various organizations such as Heritage of Pride (HOP) and FIERCE. Mo is honored to be one of the Co-Chairs and Festival Director Queens Pride. She holds her Bachelor’s degree in Black Studies and her Master’s in Public Administration (MPA) from Metropolitan College.

Simone Devi

Cohort 1

soon come

Natalia Aristazabal

Cohort 1

soon come

Lucia Gomez

Cohort 1

soon come

Elena Conte

Cohort 1

soon come

Rae Leiner

Executive Director, Newburgh LGBTQ Center (Cohort 2)

soon come

Manuela Arciniegas LaSalle

Executive Director, Andrus Family Fund (Cohort 2)

Manuela Arciniegas is the Director of the Andrus Family Fund, a small family foundation with a grantmaking portfolio of $4 million supporting organizing, advocacy, and direct service work dedicated to serving youth ages 16-24 impacted by the juvenile justice, foster care, and other disruptive systems. Manuela manages AFF’s overall grantmaking portfolio of 65+ organizations addressing AFF’s grantmaking gun violence reduction, trauma-informed care, divesting from prisons, and the intersection between immigration and justice systems. She designed and managed the S.O.A.R. capacity building initiative at the Andrus Family Fund and launched the AFF Webinar Learning Sessions, which highlight our nation’s most innovative leaders promoting highly effective strategies that support youth impacted by the youth justice system, including African-American, Latinx, Native and LBGTQ youth. She is a the co-chair of the Funders for Justice/Neighborhood Funders’ Group, the Fund for Women and Girls of Color, the Youth First State Advocacy Fund, the Youth Engagement Fund Advisory Board, the Funder’s Collaborative on Youth Organizing Advisory Board, the New York City Youth Funders, and the New York City Capacity Building Funder’s Collaborative, and the Steering Committee for Funders for Criminal Justice Reform at Philanthropy New York.

Monika Son

Cohort 2

soon come

Mustafa Sullivan

Executive Director, FIERCE! (Cohort 3)

Mustafa was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York as a black Muslim. He moved to the Bronx in 2003 where he has lived for over fifteen years. He started his work in the Bronx leading environmental justice work with black and latinx youth in Van Cortlandt park. He then joined Sistas and Brothas United (SBU) as a youth organizer in 2001. There he was a lead organizer for multiple community and school based campaigns and eventually became the director; he stayed in SBU for a total of nine years. At SBU he worked with seven high schools in the Bronx, fought for greater student voice, challenged the NYPD to hold school safety accountable for creating prison like environments in our high schools, pushed for more guidance counselors, fought for student metrocards, organized alongside students throughout the Bronx and across NYC to stand up and be counted.

In April 2010, he joined the Alliance for Educational Justice (AEJ) as the National Campaign Organizer but was also a founding organizer and member of the leadership council that formed AEJ in 2008. There he worked on federal legislation to end the school to prison pipeline and worked with black and latinx youth in over 30 states across the country. In 2014, he joined the staff of the Gay Straight Alliance Network as the Director of National programs based in Oakland, California. He continues to work tirelessly to build an ongoing national movement of Trans, Queer, and Gender non conforming youth leaders to reinvent America's schools in multiple states across the US. He uses the tools he's learned from movement building with youth and communities of color who face multiple intersections of oppression through building intentional disciplined movements. He was excited to join FIERCE in 2016 first as the board co chair then in his current role as the Executive Director. FIERCE builds the collective power of LGBTQ youth of color who fight to end youth homelessness, to end state violence from the police and prison system, and create safe and supportive learning environments that are free from bullying and stigma. FIERCE is an organization he looked up to when he came out in the late 1990's and works with their membership to build the next generation of our movement's leaders. He builds and inspires powerful community led solutions through a combo of political education, radical vision, direct organizing tactics, compassionate agitation, creative cultural expression, and the warrior wisdom gifted him by his ancestors.

Mayra Hildago Salazar

Director of Development, United We Dream (Cohort 3)

soon come

Julieta Garibay

Co-Founder, United We Dream (Cohort 3)

soon come

Dr. Dana Dunwoody

Cohort 3

soon come

Ericka Echavarria

Cohort 3

soon come

Nadia Bourne

Cohort 3

soon come

Marcia Olivo

(Cohort 4)

soon come

Simran Noor

(Cohort 4)

Simran Noor is an interdependent consultant and coach focused on strategy development, institutional change/organizational development and movement building with a focus on developing processes and setting clear outcomes to achieve racial justice. She brings over ten years of experience working directly with impacted communities, developing policy and strategy, leading organizational change processes and serving as staff within the philanthropic sector.

Since starting NOOR Consulting in February of 2018, she has supported several women of color coaching clients from organizations like Center for Community Change and the Surdna Foundation. She has led equity and justice organizational change efforts for organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Fund and Enterprise Community Partners and facilitated numerous meetings for coalitions like It Takes Roots, EMPLOY Youth Collaborative in New Orleans, Career Rise in Atlanta. She has supported the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Atlanta Civic Site and various foundations through grantee convening and strategy support (including Community Food Funders, Doris Duke, Jessie Smith Noyes, Kresge, MS, Nathan Cummings and the Neighborhood Funders’ Group). She has facilitated events for business social impact programs including Sir Kensington’s and Adidas.

Prior to launching her own operation, Simran was Senior Fellow at the new Race Forward. The new Race Forward is the union of two leading racial justice non-profit organizations: Race Forward and Center for Social Inclusion (CSI).

Previously, Simran served as CSI’s Vice President of Policy & Programs, a key senior level manager who worked directly with the President and Senior Vice President, providing programmatic leadership through the management and coordination of all program staff, strategy development, program management, organizational networking, alliance building, and relationship management. In this role, Simran’s primary responsibilities included programmatic strategy, planning, implementation, staffing, and evaluation. During her tenor as Vice President, she also served as a Deputy Director of the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE) where she supported the team in developing strategies and tactics to support local and regional government to achieve racial equity.

Simran also led CSI’s program team who, in turn, ensure the delivery and impact of CSI’s programs. In her past work at CSI as Coordinator of Advocacy and Director of Policy & Strategy, Simran designed and facilitated dozens of workshops in collaboration with national and local community and government groups focused on applying a structural race analysis as well as specific policy issues including transparency and accountability, transportation, food and health equity. During her time at CSI, Simran worked directly with local and national advocates across the country including in Detroit, New York City, and Seattle.

Prior to joining CSI, Simran served as Program Manager at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation where she worked with the Food, Health & Well-being, Racial Equity, and Civic & Community Engagement portfolios. She also served as Program Assistant at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, where she supported the Policy Research and KIDS COUNT teams. Simran is deeply committed to youth development, having worked in organizational development and as frontline staff for the Holistic Life Foundation, a Baltimore-based yoga and mindfulness program, and as a language arts and community engagement teacher for middle school students through the Middle Grades Partnership.

Simran has written and commented for a variety of media including the Detroit Free Press, The Times-Picayune, The Hill, Aljazeera America and City Limits Magazine. She also has been a featured panelist on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry. Simran is also a regular speaker on issues of racial equity—frequently featured at conferences and public meetings.

Simran holds a dual bachelor’s degree in American Studies and Political Science from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a dual master’s degree in Public Administration and Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania. She currently also serves as a board member for Building Movement Project and South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT).

Julissa Bisono, Associate Director of Organizing, Make the Road New York

(Cohort 4)

Associate Director of Organizing at Make the Road New York, Julissa Bisono has more than 15 years of experience in supporting immigrant communities through community organizing and delivery of essential survival services. At Make the Road New York, she began her trajectory supporting community members in search of adult educational opportunities and often supported their kids as a social justice mentor and tutor. Soon after, Julissa helped to coordinate civic engagement efforts to register and activate thousands of first-generation immigrant voters in Queens. Next, Julissa transitioned into Senior Workplace Justice Organizer and used her talents to build a broad low-wage worker base committed to protecting worker wages and ending wage theft. Than Ms Bisono serve as Lead Organizer at Make the Road New York and providing organizing and technical support to BASTA! and Padres en Accion, the housing rights and education rights committees focused on protecting people’s homes and creating equitable schools. Ms. Bisono also coordinates their non-partisan voter registration voter campaigns. Julissa is a graduate of the Activate! A Community Organizing Fellowship and the recipient of the 2008 Mario Savio Activist Award. She is very proud to have spent half her life working in the community and borough that she calls home.

Queens Coordinator for Make the Road Action Ms. Bisono for the last 5 years has been electoral and grassroots organizing to advance progressive political and policy changes to build black and brown community power.