Harlem non-profit Brotherhood Sister Sol opens new facility for Black and brown youth

The state-of-the-art 22,000 square-foot space in Harlem will serve as a cultural and educational hub

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The Brotherhood Sister Sol (BroSis), a nonprofit social justice and youth development organization has a brand new home after years of planning. They held a ribbon-cutting on April 8 for a new state-of-the-art facility in Harlem.

The nonprofit operated inside of a brownstone on 143rd St. for many years. Now, on the site of that very building, a new seven-floor, 22,000 square foot building is complete, featuring amenities for the community including counseling, a partial basketball court, a play area, and more.

Co-founded by Executive Director Khary Lazarre-White and Associate Executive Director of Programming and Training Jason Warwin, BroSis is a hub for Black and brown youth from ages eight to 22 for more than 25 years. They’ve provided educational and arts training for African American and Latinx kids who come from families that straddle poverty.

Brotherhood Sister Sol founders Khary Lazarre-White and Jason Warwin (center) are joined by elected officials, staff, and alumni to cut the ribbon for the new facility in Harlem, NY. (Photo by Matthew Allen)

With the new building, dubbed by Lazarre-White as “the campus,” children and staff can partake in their training and social fellowship with new computers, workspaces, a cafeteria, a dance studio, a library, and a media lab. Progressive, uplifting artwork by the likes of noted African American artist Carrie Mae Weems hangs on the walls.

With elected officials, staff, and community members in attendance, Lazarre-White emphasized the importance of upgrading BroSis’ hub to generate community pride. As past members shared inspirational poetry at the ribbon-cutting, Lazarre-White provided a glimpse of how BroSis has influenced the community and what its future looks like.

“Everyday our young people should be able to come to a space that’s beautiful, that says that they matter, that says as Black and brown children, their lives are important,” Lazarre-White said, adding that he planned to “design a building that is about the enlightenment of children.”

Warwin also said that the four pillars of BroSis are positivity, knowledge, community, and future. Those ideals are reinforced through the organization’s after-school programs, summer camps, job trainings, community organizing, and urban gardening.

BroSis also addresses issues affecting the surrounding community, such as economic hardship, food insecurity, mental health, and financial assistance. And last year, 28 of their high school-graduating seniors were accepted into 90 colleges and universities, including Temple, NYU, Brown, UConn, and Howard.

“The Light Room” is one of the rooms in the new Brotherhood Sister Sol facility. Lectures, yoga classes, and casual gatherings will take place there. (Photo by Matthew Allen)

In addition, BroSis has also inspired the kids they teach to pay it forward. According to Lazarre-White and Warwin, 60% of BroSis’ full-time staff consists of program alumni. The mission was always to give young people the chance to find their identity and provide them the tools to change the world around them.

“This building and this moment are all also a part of a dream that has been passed down by our people for generations,” Warwin said on Friday. “A part of the freedom dream; the dream for liberation. A dream born out of love and pain. A desire to protect, uplift, inspire and educate our children. To rebuild our community and to develop a sense of family. To heal the wounds and suffering of our people, and to raise a new generation of leaders.”

The temporary home of BroSis during the campus construction was just down the block at the corner of 143rd St. and Hamilton Place. The new headquarters will likely open its doors at the end of April, with the Hamilton Place location being repurposed as a wellness center.

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