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OUR BOARD

The Cooper Square CLT is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation overseen by a Board of Directors comprised of shareholders and non-resident directors. Directors are chosen for their demonstrated commitments to the principles of community solidarity, low-income housing, and social justice. 

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HARRIET COHEN / PRESIDENT

Harriet Cohen is a long-time Lower East Side resident who has been active in many community struggles and led the successful fight to save the NENA Community Health Center and bring back former site tenants of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area to new housing recently built on the site. Harriet has a long track record in housing and homeless services with experience in program development and management, operations, grant writing and fundraising, policy analysis, advocacy, and mediation. She has created, directed, and supervised housing programs for people with special needs, including those living with HIV/AIDS, drug use, mental illness, and the formerly incarcerated, and created NYC’s first supported housing for young adults aging out of foster care. Her history also includes a Mayoral appointment as a Tenant Representative to the NYC Rent Guidelines Board and a NYS Supreme Court appointment as a Special Master in the class action lawsuit involving shelter access for Homeless Families. Here she provided consultation and mediation to the NYC Department of Homeless Services and the Legal Aid Society and advocacy for homeless families. Harriet has served as the Senior Policy Director for Housing and Homelessness in the Office of the Manhattan Borough President, Director of Development and Operations for Pathways to Housing, Director of Programs at the Lantern Group, and the Director of Housing for the AIDS Center of Queens County (ACQC). Harriet holds a Master of City Planning from Yale University and a Master of Arts in Psychology from The New School. She has taught classes at Quinnipiac College, the University of New Haven, Brooklyn College, and New York University.

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MONXO LOPEZ / VICE-PRESIDENT

Monxo López is a museum curator, urban thinker, educator, cartographer, and South Bronx-based environmental and urban justice activist. He is currently an associate curator at the Museum of the City of New York, and holds a PhD in political science from CUNY’s Graduate Center, and an MA from Université Laval in Québec, Canada. He previously taught in the CUNY system, and was a Mapping Fellow at the Design Trust for Public Spaces.

Monxo is a founding member of South Bronx Unite, and a founding member and board member of the Mott Haven/Port Morris Community Land Stewards (aka South Bronx Community Land Trust).He was born and grew up in Puerto Rico, and lives in Mott Haven in the South Bronx. 

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LARISSA HO / TREASURER

Growing up in New York City in an immigrant household, Larissa was raised in a family of long-time garment factory workers. Throughout her life, she has witnessed firsthand the struggles working class families face in order to survive in this city. This understanding is what motivates her to pursue work that is community driven.

Larissa has been dedicated to work that centers social justice, our built environment, and the well being of community members. She graduated from CUNY Hunter College with a Masters in Urban Planning and a focus on Housing and the Built Environment and has over 10+ years in public service work. Larissa has worked in a variety of fields that include the development and preservation of affordable housing, providing comprehensive care management services, and implementing waste reduction strategies for a more sustainable and cleaner environment. What drives all of her work is the purposeful engagement of people and making sure community benefit comes first.

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GABRIELA RENDON / SECRETARY

Gabriela Rendón is an urban planner, researcher, and educator committed to social and spatial justice. Over the last 15 years, she has worked with immigrant and low-income community groups facilitating participatory-action research projects, community-led plans, and neighborhood-based initiatives. Gabriela is a co-founder of Urban Front and Cohabitation Strategies, where she has collaborated in diverse urban and community projects commissioned by nonprofits, public agencies, municipalities, and national governments across cities in Western Europe, South America, and North America. Since 2010, Gabriela has worked closely with grassroots and immigrant community groups advancing, their organizing and anti-displacement efforts in Brooklyn. She is currently writing a book titled Defiant Neighborhoods: Rise, Revitalization, and Gentrification of Immigrant Communities in Latinx Brooklyn.

Gabriela is an Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Community Development and Director of the Housing Justice Lab at The New School. She holds a Ph.D. in Spatial Planning and Strategy and an MS in Urbanism from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and a BS in Architecture from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education in Mexico. Gabriela was born and raised in Mexico and worked in the Tijuana/San Diego border region, where she developed a passion for housing and immigrant justice.

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TOM ANGOTTI

Tom Angotti is Professor Emeritus of Urban Policy and Planning at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. He founded and directed the Hunter College Center for Community Planning and Development (CCPD). He recently co-edited Zoned Out: Race, Displacement & City Planning in New York City with Sylvia Morse (UR Books) and edited Transformative Planning: Radical Alternatives to Neoliberal Urbanism (Black Rose/Univ. of Chicago Press). His book, New York For Sale: Community Planning Confronts Global Real Estate (MIT Press, 2008) won the Paul Davidoff Award and International Planning History Society Book Prize. New Village Press published Service-Learning in Design and Planning: At the Boundaries, which he co-edited with Cheryl Doble and Paula Horrigan. The New Century of the Metropolis: Enclave Development and Urban Orientalism was published by Routledge in 2012. His other books include Metropolis 2000: Planning Poverty and Politics, Housing in Italy and a book of short stories, Accidental Warriors. 

Through the CCPD and in collaboration with others, Tom has completed studies on New York City’s PlaNYC2030, Wal-Mart, NYU’s expansion plan, Fresh Direct, and Atlantic Yards. He has collaborated on many community-based plans and written about community land trusts. He is founder and co-editor of Progressive Planning Magazine, and Participating Editor for the journals Latin American Perspectives and Local Environment. He is a Fellow at the American Academy in Rome and served as Fulbright Specialist in India, Italy and Vietnam. Tom previously served as a senior planner with the City of New York and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Peru. 

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VALOIS MICKENS

Valois Mickens has been a performer at LaMaMa Experimental Theatre Club since the 1970s, where she currently acts as house manager. Founded in 1961 at the heart of the Cooper Square area, LaMaMa has been home to generations of artists of all identities, races, ages, and cultures. Valois is a long-standing shareholder of Cooper Square MHA and a building captain. In this role, she works closely with shareholder neighbors. 

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MICHAEL ATKINS

Michael Atkins is a long-standing resident at Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association II, where he served as a board member for several years. He is currently a board member of the Two Buildings Tenants United (TBTU), the most recent acquisition of Copper Square CLT. In addition to his commitment to housing justice, Michael is also involved in the art scene of the neighborhood by serving as a board member at Rob Rodgers Dance Company, a space connecting today's society and it's relationship to Black figures of yesterday and today.

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