Water Justice: Youth future

Date(s) - Saturday 12/12/2020
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Register for either/both days of this event here!

On Day 2 of the Water Justice Confluence, meet Water Justice Lab’s environmental mentor Sachem HawkStorm, hereditary sachem (chief) of the Schaghticoke People.  Learn about youth water justice actions along the Hudson with Water Justice Lab (Troy, NY), Kingston YMCA Farm Project (Kingston, NY) and Groundwork Hudson Valley (Yonkers, NY).  Join in break-out groups and a facilitated open dialogue with participating youth advocates to inspire future actions!

The Confluence supports dialogue and engagement around water justice with upcoming generations of youth, people of color and Indigenous people.  The goal of the Water Justice Confluence is to build alliances for water justice, environmental justice and youth justice along the Hudson River and beyond… and to inspire concrete future action!

For more information, contact Amanda Cabanillas at  cabanillasamanda@gmail.com or visit https://www.mediasanctuary.org/event/water-justice-confluence/


Sachem HawkStorm, hereditary sachem (chief) of the Schaghticoke People, is a fierce advocate for the rights of his people as well as other indigenous peoples in the New York region and beyond.

His work focuses on cultural heritage, education, and tribal sovereignty. 

Sachem HawkStorm has participated in the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, focusing on economic and social development, cultural preservation, water and food sovereignty, self-determination, human rights and environmental justice.

He has worked in close partnership with the United Confederation of Taino People, Ramapough Lenape Tribal Nation of New Jersey, and the Golden Hill Paugussett Tribe to strengthen unity among East Coast indigenous relations. In 2018, he attended the International Indian Treaty Conference in Bear Butte, South Dakota. 

Sachem HawkStorm is an advocate for environmental justice and the preservation of indigenous land and waters. He helped lead People’s Climate marches in 2014 and 2017 as well as the Native Nations Rise March in 2017. 


Heather Bruegl is the Director of Cultural Affairs for the Stockbridge Munsee Community. The mission of the Cultural Affairs Department is to protect, preserve and tell the history of the Stockbridge Munsee Band of the Mohican Indians. 

She is a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, is a graduate of Madonna University in Michigan and holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in U.S. History. Inspired by a trip to Wounded Knee, South Dakota, a passion for Native American History was born. She speaks to different groups about intergenerational racism and trauma and helps to bring awareness to our environment, the fight for clean water and other issues in the Native community. A curiosity of her own heritage lead her to Wisconsin, where she has researched the history of the Native American tribes in the area. In addition to that she also currently travels and speaks on Native American history, including policy and activism.


Water Justice Lab

In 2020, Media Sanctuary in partnership with Riverkeeper launched the “Water Justice Lab”, a three-year project based in North Troy, NY that will establish a water quality sampling lab and train students in both laboratory science and media arts skills in order to focus on environmental justice issues in the Hudson River Watershed. Three Youth Scientist Fellows from Lansingburgh High School, Genesis Cooper, Gabby Espada and Shansanique Pollack were selected and worked as Water Justice Lab Scientist Mentors to learn laboratory and media skills, with guidance from Media Sanctuary and Riverkeeper staff.

Genesis Cooper, a student at Lansingburgh High School, is in advanced math and science programs, and has been a high honors student since elementary school. Genesis is in various school clubs, and works to help other organizations in her community.Working in WJL, Genesis hopes to help her community understand more things about their own home that they don’t really know about, like local economics, environmental racism, and local politics.

Genesis Cooper’s main focus is to help and educate those around her by volunteering her time. She helps run the Justice4Dahmeek organization that was started by her father, Massiah Cooper. They go around the city and hold events to educate the community on police brutality and inequality in America. Genesis has also volunteered her time at The Sanctuary for Independent Media, and has been an Uptown Summer leader for the summers of 2019 and 2020. In 2019, she ran the face painting table at the Spirit of the Suffragettes concert series and community resource fair  at Freedom Square.  She is thinking about attending Howard University and possibly becoming a teacher. Genesis has interests in many subjects including science and hope to educate the youth on many different topics about the world around them.

Gabby Espada is a ninth grader at Lansingburgh High School. She is in advanced science and top of her math class as well. Gabby enjoys hands-on activities in science, and she’s a very social and outgoing person. She strives for the best and is an extremely determined teen. Gabby likes having her voice heard and making a change. She does as much as possible in school such as: drama club, soccer, volleyball, track and field, basketball, student council, and tutoring. Gabby is a determined teen ready to take on anything that comes her way.  

Gabby Espada has been involved in many movements including: Justice for Dahmeek, suicide prevention movements, and Dance for Donations, She’s also worked with kids and animals. Gabby attends the STEP program at R.P.I and takes architecture and coding there. In Dance for Donations she danced and taught others dances for donations for leukemia. She has experience working with people of all ages.

Shansanique Pollack is currently attending Lansingburgh High School and just graduated 9th grade year with high honors. She is also involved in her school’s advanced programs including advanced science, advanced math, and both Pre AP history and ELA.  As a WJL Fellow, Shansanique is excited to deal with science that could also help the community learn more about what’s around them and help educate the community on what it can do to improve.

Throughout her life, Shansanique has always tried to improve the lives around me in any way possible and to help spread useful information. When she’s older Shansanique wants to be able to use her career to help people in any way possible. She’s hoping to attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology for college and go into computer science, hopefully using computers in new and exciting ways to change communities and people for the better.

Kingston YMCA Farm Crew

We are an urban, educational farm located at the YMCA in Midtown Kingston, New York. We use organic growing methods to grow food for our immediate community. We sell our hyper local fruits and vegetables at farm stands in the lobby of the Y. We work with pre-schoolers through high-schoolers, bringing young people to the farm to get their hands dirty as they learn, work, explore and play on the farm. Our youth development program offers 14-18 year olds the opportunity to work on our farm, help run our farm stands and gain valuable employment experience while earning an hourly wage. 

Groundwork Hudson Valley
Groundwork Hudson Valley creates sustainable environmental change in urban neighborhoods through community-based partnerships that promote equity, youth leadership, and economic opportunity.

The Green Team program hires local teenagers enrolled in the Yonkers Public School system for environmental jobs – for many, their first real job. The program focuses on leadership, group dynamics, and a variety of conservation and construction skills. This hard work is tempered with amazing adventures, like hiking, camping, and swimming

Tagged with: