Welcome to The Self-Care Club.

Healing, Restoration, and Self-Care for Students of Color at UWM


The Self-Care Club, born of two professors’ interest in (and the University’s support for) providing a space for our students of color to heal, commune, learn vital self-care practices and care for one another, is a group dedicated to YOU. To thrive in these tough times we must attend to our mental, physical, psychological, and social wellbeing. Doing so together is all the more beneficial.

Spring 2021: Looking Back

In Spring 2021, we focused on programming that taught various ways in which we can care for ourselves and one another, and then provided a safe space for to practice that self-care. We engaged with overall self-care techniques both through GG Hill’s Self-Care Check-In and through the able leadership of Shaquita Glenn and Lauren Mascari; the healing power of expression via the written word with Wisconsin Poet Laureate Dasha Kelly Hamilton; release of emotion and healing through the visual arts with artist Celeste Contreras; and the nurturing feel of hands in the dirt at the Victory Garden Initiative, where we planted a plot and learned from Joya Wade.

Fall 2021: Looking Ahead

In Fall 2021, we have plans to bring self-care through COMMUNITY. We are planning an evening with Bembe Drum and Dance; an evening with the Electa Quinney Institute at their new Fire Circle; and we are co-sponsoring an evening of writing and poetry at UWM’s Lyrical Sanctuary, organized by UWM’s Student Involvement Sociocultural Programming Office and featuring Adisa Simone and DJ Bizzon. These fabulous opportunities to engage with one another and with our multicultural campus community are perfect experiences for self-care. We encourage you to believe that you deserve these breaks and that you do, in fact, have time for YOU.

Like Spring 2021, enrolled students in the Fall 2021 series will receive The SCC Care Package, which contains everything you’ll need to join us in our self-care journey. In Spring, that included meditation supplies, art supplies, gardening gloves, calming teas, and writing implements for our workshops that included meditation and yoga; poetry; visual art; and gardening. Our Fall SCC Care Package will include some favorites from Spring for our new students, but also, for both new and returning students, some great locally-sourced treats to make your semester a little more centered. (And there’s a t-shirt, too!)

Join us to experience what these students experienced in Spring!


 “Just a quick note letting you know that I received my self-care package in the mail today and all I can say was, “WOW.” What a beautiful gift to receive especially to those of us who are not as connected with others on a daily basis. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for these beautiful self-care gifts to use along our journey together.”

 “I am so blown away and thankful for all of the items in the Self-Care Club Care Package. Please send my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to everyone involved. I truly, truly appreciate it and it 100% made my day.”

 “I loved the open conversation and the safe space that was created for BIPOC. I really appreciate everyone who shared their stories and discussed the boundaries of practicing self-care as a minority. Especially being honest about many of the racial/social issues that affect students of color.”

self-care through community.

(All in-person events are subject to change depending on COVID-19.)

We’ll begin our journey to self-care through community with a BANG – on the drums! Join us and get ready to MOVE on Wednesday, October 20th, as Bembé Drum and Dance comes to campus, bringing its Afro-Latino Music to our outdoor space (weather permitting)! Wear your SCC t-shirt and come dance it out!

On Friday, November 19th, the full moon will bring us to our campus Fire Circle for a meaningful evening celebrating and reflecting on our connection. Fire circles take place under the full moon, and at UWM, they are facilitated by the Electa Quinney Institute and will take place at a newly installed site designed by Studio:Indigenous. Before you come, set your mood with our Essentially Mint products, Swaye tea, and SCC mug.

On December 8th, we’ll join Sociocultural Programming for Lyrical Sanctuary, UWM’s unique open-mic experience. Members of the SCC will be special guests for a creative writing session with Adisa Simone, artist, mother, writer, teacher, producer, which will then be followed by an open mic where you can express yourself! DJ Bizzon will end the evening with some great music, and the SCC has your snacking needs covered. Bring your journals, colored pencils, and SCC pens and prepare to be inspired!

join us.

Doesn’t this sound energizing, affirming, and generally wonderful? Please join us, by signing up below. We’ll hope to see you at each of the sessions (though you needn’t commit to attending them all), and, in fact, would appreciate your RSVP for each as we plan for necessary materials and space! (You’ll be asked about whether or not you’ll attend each session within the registration form. It’s okay if your plans change – we’re just looking for estimates right now!) The SCC Care Package will be ready for pickup in late September or early October, from the POL SCI and AADS offices. (More detail to come!) Welcome to the SCC!

PLEASE NOTE:  Registration with The SCC Care Package closed on October 1st!

Registrations after October 1 are still welcome (but won’t come with the Care Package)!

We’d love to include you in the Club for all of our Fall events!

Were you in the SCC last year?

Select the events below that you plan to attend. (All in-person events are subject to change depending on COVID-19.)

2 + 14 =

community events.

(All in-person events are subject to change depending on COVID-19.)

Community Event #1:
Proyecto Bembe Afro-Latino Drum & Dance

  • When: Wednesday, October 20, 6p – 8p
  • Where: Spaights Plaza (Union Ballroom if weather is inclement)
  • What: Wear your SCC t-shirt and come ready to make some noise!


Community Event #2:
Full Moon at the EQI Fire Circle with UWM’s Electa Quinney Institute

  • When: Friday, November 19th, time TBA
  • Where: EQI Fire Circle, Merrill Hall
  • What: Set your mood at home with Essentially Mint products and Swaye tea and then come experience something larger than you.


Community Event #3:
Lyrical Sanctuary with Adisa Simone

  • When & Where: Wednesday, December 8th, 7 – 7:45p Writing Workshop, Inclusive Excellence Center (Union 119);
    8p – 10p Open Mic @ Performance, Union Fireside Lounge
  • What: Bring your journals, pens, colored pencils, whatever you need to create and then get ready to perform!



Meet all of our amazing MKE-based facilitators.

Imani Jalil

Imani Jalil

Bembé Program Director and Dance Director

Imani Jalil was born in Milwaukee. She began her dance training at the age of eleven and received her B.F.A in African Dance and the Diaspora from UW-Milwaukee in 2015. Imani has been a teaching artist with Bembé since 2016 and Program Director since 2019, and currently teaches at several Milwaukee area schools. 

Bony Plog-Benavides

Bony Plog-Benavides

Bembé Musical Director and Percussion Instructor

Bony Plog-Benavides is a native of Bogotá, Colombia. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Music with a concentration on Percussion Performance from UW-Parkside. In 2008, she finished her Master’s in Ethnomusicology at Arizona State University. In addition to Bembé, Bony teaches for MPS as a Traveling Music Teacher, as well as Concordia University.


Adisa Simone

Adisa Simone


Adisa is an artist. Amongst many other things, including being a mother of two children, 15-year-old Nasier and 10-year-old Zaria. Adisa started writing at a very young age as a form of release of emotions, dreams, and thoughts. Over time she developed a desire to release her thoughts, stories, and emotions on stage, in classrooms, and in organizations in hopes that others will hear and be inspired to create and share their own stories. 

After years of youth work Adisa stepped into her calling and started The Ankh Project Arts and Ent. A production company that focuses on social and self-development through Art and where she teaches multiple forms of dance, theater, and creative writing. Adisa’s goal is to encourage others to walk in their truth and purpose to create and allow their gifts to make room for their life’s mission. 

More about Adisa

Alberto "Beto" Torrens

Alberto "Beto" Torrens

Master Percussionist and Cultural Artist

Alberto “Beto” Torrens, of Santurce, Puerto Rico, is a widely renowned musician and cultural educator throughout Latin America and the United States. Beto Torrens is a founding member of the groundbreaking group ÌFÉ and is very active in the folklore scene in Puerto Rico.

Anika Wilson and Sara Benesh

Anika Wilson and Sara Benesh

Co-Organizers of The SCC

(Pronouns: she/her)

Professor Anika Wilson is an Associate Professor in the Africa and African Diaspora Studies Department at UWM. She is a scholar of folktales and health in Africa and earned her PhD in 2008 from the University of Pennsylvania after studying Sociology at Duke.

Professor Sara Benesh is Chair of the Political Science Department at UWM.  She is a scholar of judicial decision making and legitimacy and earned her PhD in 1999 from Michigan State University after studying English and Political Science at St. Norbert College. 

Professors Wilson and Benesh are ably assisted by Jackline Kirungi, a third-year PhD student in AADS studying the history of people of African descent in the context of gender and marriage and Taraleigh Davis, a third-year PhD student in POL SCI studying the Supreme Court’s shadow docket.

The SCC is made possible by a generous grant from the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.and the Office of Research at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. The Co-Organizers thank Raoul Deal, all of the wonderful directors and advisors in the various Multicultural Student Centers on campus, and our fabulous Milwaukee-based facilitators for their time and enthusiasm as we developed the programming. We could not have done it without them, and any success we have will be largely due to their brainstorming, advertising, and thoughtfulness.

UWM students are extraordinarily lucky to be so well-served.

garden montage