After a decade of planning, New York City-based social justice and youth development organization, The Brotherhood Sister Sol has a new home. On April 8, they officially opened the doors of a new state-of-the-art facility in Harlem with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The non-profit, known simply as BroSis, has been a fixture on 143rd Street for 27 years, teaching Black and Latino youth from ages eight to 22 financial literacy, the arts, social activism, and much more.
The new six-story 22,000 square-foot building, which stands on the very site of the brownstone where BroSis began operations in 1995, features amenities such as a greenhouse, dance studio, meditation and counseling spaces and a half-court basketball court, which was sponsored by the charity foundation of NBA superstar Kevin Durant.
“I really challenged our architects from Urban Architectural Initiatives (UAI) to design a building that’s about the enlightenment of children,” said BroSis Co-Founder and Executive Director Khary Lazarre-White. “Now, to see what we’ve created, that every day the architecture says to our youth that you matter, I’m elated,” he told ESSENCE.
The brand new community center features uplifting artwork by notable Black artists such as Carrie Mae Weems and Derek Fordjour, ankara fabrics in the seating area of the performance space, and handmade tiles from Zimbabwe, all carefully curated to create a Pan African aesthetic.
“We wanted to embody Pan Africanism throughout the building on the facade and the interiors,” said the project’s Aritchetural Designer, Dwayne Smith Alexander. “It was at the very core of this project because the ideals to uplift and unify our community is what we knew from the first meeting, The Brotherhood Sister Sol organization is all about,” he said.
The opening of the new facility, which elected officials, staff, and community members attended, is critical to support to this leading youth development organization as demand for its services grows both in the local community and on a national scale.
Some of the organization’s signature programming includes school and home counseling, job training, college preparation, rites of passage programming, community organizing training, and urban gardening.
“I learned that the world is an oyster because of The Brotherhood Sister Sol,” said Sister Sol Chapter Lead Dominique Mitchell. “I grew up right across the street, and they instilled in me that we are more than just our bodies. We are also our minds, and we can do anything. Now I have the opportunity to give back and be a part of what BroSis does to nurture the minds and bodies here of this community and the community at large. I am so proud of that,” Mitchell shared with ESSENCE.
BroSis provides holistic and long-term support services, including educational support, long-term mentorship, food insecurity solutions, mental healthcare, and financial assistance to directly address inequities and create opportunities for youth and the surrounding community in Harlem.
The organization has inspired many alumni like Mitchell to give back and support its programs. In fact, according to Lazarre-White, about 60 percent of the full-time staff at BroSis consists of program alumni. The non-profit’s unique approach to programming centers on allowing young people to discover their identity while also equipping them with the tools to change the world around them.
“We help young people understand the conditions that they were born into because of class and race in this country and because of gender and the difficulties that they face so that they can become social change-makers and social change agents. I mean, they will literally change our world,” said Lazarre-White.
The new Brotherhood Sister Sol headquarters is expected to open its doors at the end of April.