Sanctuary Story: The Philosophy of Partnerships

Our history of events, workshops and community gatherings has been structured with a grassroots up organizing style, situating partnerships with community organizations to build networks and actions into the future. Community members come together to forge meaningful connections with each other, exchanging ideas and perspectives.

At our foundation, Media Sanctuary is based upon Participatory Action Research (or PAR). PAR is an approach to inquiry that has been around since the 1940s, where researchers work together with participants to understand a problematic situation and work together to make positive change. In other words, co-developing research programs and community projects with people rather than for people. Participatory design intentionally includes people and groups most affected by an inquiry into the design and execution of the process — striving to balance research and reflection with action.  

Community-based participatory research focuses on social change and democracy, and challenges inequality. Inspired by the ideas ranging from the writing about “barefoot scientists” and “organic intellectuals” of Gramsci (Italian journalist and intellectual of the early 1900s), to the formulation of critical pedagogy by Paolo Friere (Brazilian philosopher/educator who wrote “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” in 1986) and the struggles of the Civil Rights movement, the goal is often on “liberation.” Focusing on the needs of identified groups, their cultures, perspectives and priorities, participants achieve greater awareness as stakeholders and take on active roles of engagement.

3 people by Hudson River in North Central Troy Pose After Testing Water
Water Justice Lab fellows Shansaniuqe Pollack and Genesis Cooper with Riverkeeper Scientist/ Mentor
Sebastian Pilliterri
Debra Garrett and Jerry Ford

Community Stories: Hope and Justice

Deacon Jerry Ford

Deacon Jerry Ford, continuing the tradition of lighting the first light of the candle-lighting Holiday Justice and Peace Circle at Freedom Square ’22, sharing: “I light this candle for the light that shines in the midst of the darkness. Light is one of the most powerful things in creation. So no matter how dark it gets, continue to let your light shine.”

Jerry’s House

Jerry’s House” tells the story of a family forced out of a deteriorating rental “now abandoned,” with a happy ending of owning a home.

Directed in 2015 by Youth Media Sanctuary producers Kai Griffin, Bryanna Mangual, Diajah Grier, Milan Miles, and Andrew Pintro, with Media Mentors Jamel Mosely, Kathy High and Branda Miller. Produced by Youth Media Sanctuary at The Sanctuary for Independent in Troy, NY. Supported in part by Breathing Lights and the Troy Drug Free Community Coalition.

This was our 6th year of Uptown Summer dedicated to hearing from the voices of North Troy’s teens. Youth worked side-by-side with community leaders, media professionals, artists, teachers urban gardeners, nutritionists, local volunteers, and others. We work together to repair the environmental damage done to this block through years of neglect and industrial pollutants and to tell homegrown stories of hope and justice.

Join us …

There are hundreds more stories, you can find @ MediaSanctuary Youtube. And please contact us if you’d like to get involved!

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About The Sanctuary

We use art and participatory action to promote social and environmental justice and freedom of creative expression.

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