In 2021, The Children’s Partnership and the National Black Women’s Justice Institute launched the Hope, Healing & Health Collective. This youth-led initiative focuses on improving and informing policies that affect the mental health and well-being of young people.
The Sanctuary, along with mentor Luz Marquez Benbow and youth mentor Genesis Cooper, was one of fifteen organizations across the country selected to take part in this project.
Adult Mentor: Luz Marquez Benbow
Luz Marquez-Benbow is a Black Boricua survivor and national leader in the anti-sexual violence movement Most recently, as a Just Beginings Collaborative Fellow 2016- 2019, her project IamNegrx, has allowed her to hold Afrodescendant Survivor Listening circles, leading to the first research paper on Afrolatinas and Child Sexual Abuse. During this fellowship, Luz also curated and hosted an annual healing space for Afrolatinx survivors of child sexual abuse and sexual violence during the International Day of Mujeres Afro (July 25th) at Howard University in 2017, 2018 and virtually in 2019. Locally, Luz is the lead co-founder of Aya Rising: A People of Color-led Truth Telling project focused on a reconciliation process towards transformative justice processes to address violence.
Luz has been an anti-rape advocate since 1998, where she worked on statewide anti-sexual assault issues across NYS. In 2003, Luz co-founded the National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault (SCESA). In her capacity as co-founder and Associate Director of SCESA, Luz led the national policy efforts for the development of the historical Culturally Specific (Communities of Color) Grant program within the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization in 2005 and 2012. Additionally, Luz spearheaded the policy efforts regarding the equitable distribution of violence against women resources in the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act of 2010, throughout the U.S occupied Territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Northern Mariana Islands. Luz was raised in East Harlem, and has lived in Troy, New York, since 1985.
Youth Mentor: Genesis Cooper
Genesis Cooper is a Black 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. Awarded a Water Justice Fellowship through the Sanctuary, Genesis hopes to help her community learn about economics, environmental racism, and politics.
Genesis Cooper’s focus is to help and educate those around her by volunteering her time. She is a founder of Troy4BlackLives (T4BL), an organization that was started by her father, Messiah Cooper. T4BL organizes Black August Teach-in, rallies, marches, and events to educate the community on police brutality, racial, gender & gender-expansive inequities, and disability rights. Genesis has volunteered her time at the Sanctuary and has been an Uptown Summer leader for the summers of 2019 and 2020. She is thinking about possibly attending Howard University or NYU to have a career in the arts. Genesis has interests in many subjects including science and hopes to educate the youth on many different topics about the world around them.
Youth Leadership Council
Angelo Domingo is a Senior graduating in June 2021 from Lansingburgh High School. He takes multiple advanced classes and has been on high honor roll for all of high school. Angelo participates in various school clubs and other programs outside of school. Angelo is very passionate about social justice and works frequently on projects with The Sanctuary For Independent Media to spread awareness about social issues. Ever since Angelo was in the Uptown Summer youth program in summer of 2018, he’s been passionate about raising issues in social awareness. Angelo made a 3 part radio series on slumlords to raise awareness in his community. He even made a survey to hear personal experiences from the community. His time as an Uptown Summer youth member inspired him to keep pursuing activism and making his voice heard to help improve the lives of others.
Angelo Domingo is currently working with the NYCLU Student Ambassador Program tackling issues for youth including comprehensive sex education and the school to prison pipeline. Angelo Is currently planning on going to college to pursue a degree in musical theater with hopes to minor in a field where he can work on tackling the social issues that he so deeply cares about.
This fall, Angelo Domingo begins his higher education career as a student in the class of 2024 at Molloy College.