Uptown Summer 2019: Spirit of the Suffragettes

Uptown Summer 19” was a creative convergence around the theme of Environmental Justice and Stewardship and the Spirit of the Suffragettes, including urban gardening, art and science workshops, and media production with environmental justice messages. A final goal was telling stories of “Environmental Justice 101,” “Resilience,” and “New Messages Inspired by Suffragettes.”

— Spirit of the Suffragettes

Uptown Summer youth played leadership roles and supported event production, community engagement, art activities and free food at “Spirit of the Suffragettes,” an concert series celebrating the history of these radical historical activists through an updated and more racially/economically/gender non-conforming inclusive lens.  Each event featured a community resource fair uplifting women in our own community and showcasing female musicians in Freedom Square.  Check out the “Spirit of the Suffragettes” playlist:

“Spirit of the Suffragettes” playlist

The youth began the summer by learning about the century-old suffragette messages, as they reflected on their lives today growing up today around their neighborhood where _% grow up living beneath the poverty line. Women, especially women of color, low-income women, LGBTQ, single moms.still struggle for equity in their everyday lives.

Then Uptown Summer ’19 youth broke up into working groups, including Community Food, Collard City Growers harvesters, Compost, Music Support, Media Documentation, Art Activities and more. They also collaborated and built relationships with college students at RPI, producing a “DiscoTech” (Discovering Technology) tent filled with diverse technological activities for the community. They painted signs, and helped with set up and break down of each event. The Uptown Summer ’19 youth helped to highlight local organizations and opportunities that can support women and families in North Central Troy and beyond.

The youth produced radio interviews featuring “Spirit of the Suffragettes,” which were broadcast on Hudson Mohawk Magazine and shared via social media.


The garden was a source of solace in the early summer mornings, and a source of free food for each musical concert at Freedom Square. The Uptown Summer youth helped grow, harvest and prepare the food for the community.

“Wake Up Wednesdays”

The Uptown Summer mentors invited guest mentors to meet personally with the youth, including Luz Benbow, Just Beginnings Collaborative Fellow; Ang Morris, ED Human Rights Commission, and Webb from SNUG. just down the street.

–Uptown Summer ’19 Participants












Laqueena Lajas, Lead Mentor

Jj Luceno, Lead Mentor


Diani Drake

Joules Juliette Brown



Petra Höller

Mikaela Clark-Gardner

+ the students of “Art, Community Technology,” with Professor Branda Miller, Arts Department, School of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences at RPI


Regina Tillman, KitchenSanctuary

Ellie Markovitch, KitchenSanctuary

Amy Halloran, KitchenSanctuary

Jonathan Segol, KitchenSanctuary

Willie Terry, Hudson Mohawk Magazine

Alexis Goldsmith, Hudson Mohawk Magazine

Azure’ Keahi, Collard City Growers

Jj Luceno, Collard City Growers


Branda Miller

Steve Pierce

Kathy High

On the last day of Uptown Summer ’19, the youth received Leadership Awards for a job well done! They each offered amazing support for the incredible endeavor of the community celebration of the “Spirit of the Suffragettes,” featuring their own independent expertise and passion!

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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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