Launched by childhood friends Khary Lazarre-White ’95 and Jason Warwin ’95 the year they graduated, Harlem’s The Brotherhood/Sister Sol takes its cue from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. The organization provides 12,000 meals a year, after-school programs, and college prep, as well as opportunities to study in Africa, South America, and the Caribbean. Young people can access mental health services, and learn about environmental issues through a farmer’s market that handles 30,000 pounds of food a year.
The nonprofit will soon be doing all this in a new, 20,000-square-foot, six-story building that could be described as a Brown affair: the general contractor is Robert Horsford ’93 and Gilbane Building Company, led by Billy Gilbane ’99 and Brennan Gilbane Koch ’01, is managing the project. Clara Markowicz ’94 and Rahsan-Rahsan Lindsay ’94 co-chair the board; Pedro A. Noguera ’81, ’84 AM, sits on it. “For the last 25 years,” says Warwin, “we have become experts at making the most of limited resources.” But in the new headquarters, “a large teaching kitchen and full cafeteria will let us teach a new generation how to prepare healthy food.” There’s a meeting hall, recording studio, tech lab, and outdoor space for community events.
Brotherhood/Sister Sol’s emphasis on activism means participants helped fight against stop-and-frisk policing tactics and are now working to redirect the funds spent on the police presence in NYC public schools. “There are 5,000 police officers in our schools and insufficient guidance counselors and mental health providers,” says Lazarre-White. “In some schools, if you’re in a mental health crisis, there’s nobody to talk to. So our young people are organizing on the issue.”