Photo: PRNewsfoto/The Brotherhood Sister Sol
The community center strives to grow its legacy of youth-led activism through access and opportunities for children in New York City and across the nation
New York-based nonprofit youth development and social justice organization The Brotherhood Sister Sol (BroSis) is proud to announce the opening of their new headquarters in Harlem. After a decade of planning, The Brotherhood Sister Sol welcomes youth members and staff into their new state of the art facility which will serve as a hub for ideating policies that positively impact society. Thoughtfully designed by Urban Architectural Initiatives, this center will further carry out BroSis’ mission and allow young people to grow, be affirmed, and claim their identity and voice.
“We are so excited to have completed our new home – a true beacon for our community, a space that will allow us to expand our work in the intersectional areas of educating, organizing and training and a building that will be a model for the nation,” said Khary Lazarre-White, Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Brotherhood Sister Sol. “The construction effort has been a very difficult and involved process – the journey has been a long one and we celebrate its completion. This new center for our work is seven floors of space, 22,000 square feet, a temple for our mission – an educational, contemplative, protective and practical home.”
For more than 25 years, The Brotherhood Sister Sol has been at the forefront of social justice, educating, training and organizing to challenge inequality and champion opportunity for all. With a focus on Black and Latinx youth, BroSis is where young people own the power of their history, identity and community to create the future they want to see. The opening of this new 22,000 square foot capital project provides critical support to one of the leading citywide youth development organizations in New York City.
“The Brotherhood Sister Sol is one of the most unique youth development organizations in the country,” said Harry Belafonte, artist and humanitarian. “I know their work well and they teach young people to become social change makers, activists, artists, and to succeed in life. Their work is transformational and their new building in Harlem will allow for the further development of an essential institution that works every day for equity, equality, and opportunity.”
Designed by MWBE architectural firm Urban Architectural Initiatives, constructed by a joint partnership between Racanelli Construction and APEX Building Group, also an MWBE, and with the owner’s representative Gilbane Building Company, this new building serves as a national model for youth development.
“The new center was designed to promote BroSis’ mission in creating positive environments where kids can grow, be affirmed, and develop a sense of belonging,” said Anthony K. Shitemi, Urban Architectural Initiatives Principal. “From the floor to the ceiling, every square foot of the center was thoughtfully conceptualized for maximum use. The most important aspect of the new Center is less the objects that fill it, more the formed space in which a multitude of activities will take place and in which young lives will take shape.”
The Brotherhood Sister Sol’s headquarters is reserved exclusively for community educational use to support its ongoing mission. The space includes a variety of thoughtful elements aimed to support youth development, including a double-height play area and half-court basketball court located on the roof, a greenhouse, and spaces for meditation, arts, counseling, reflection, group meetings, and presentations. An ultramodern space for the community, the new building also reuses bricks and terracotta from its former building, in an ode to Harlem’s historic architecture.
“The Brotherhood Sister Sol provides critically-needed space for young individuals to learn, organize, and grow, and we are proud to have played a role in building this center to help continue that tradition,” said Brennan Gilbane Koch, Director of Client Relations, Gilbane Building Company. “The BroSis mission of cultivating the next generation of thoughtful, passionate, and forward-thinking leaders dovetails with Gilbane’s own values of integrity, caring, and, above all, dedication to excellence. We look forward to the new headquarters serving as a hub for championing equity, inclusion, and opportunity for our young people.”
“We are so proud to have been part of such an exciting endeavor and historic moment for The Brotherhood Sister Sol. From the onset, this was not just another construction project for us, we knew what it was going to mean for the community,” said Robert Horsford, President of Apex Building Company and Nicholas Racanelli, President of Racanelli Construction. “Everyone involved poured their hearts and souls into bringing this to a successful conclusion. Despite its unique challenges, the building’s visionary design elements and quality construction will stand the test of time and have a huge impact on all those who enter it. Congratulations to everyone involved in making this dream come true!”
BroSis’ ongoing mission includes holistic and long-term support services to youth who range in ages eight to twenty-two that include educational support, long-term mentorship, addressing food insecurity, mental healthcare, financial assistance, and more. This building provides an expanded space to accommodate the growing demand of the organization’s services both for the local community and on a national scale.
“The Brotherhood Sister Sol has supported, uplifted, and empowered young New Yorkers for more than a quarter century,” said Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams. “Finally, they can do that essential work in their new headquarters — a space that I’m sure will quickly become a community hub for growth, education, sport, and all types of youth development. BroSis has become an essential and integral part of Harlem and New York City, and this space is worthy of their vital work.”
“Congratulations on your new home, Brotherhood Sister Sol! This new facility will allow you to continue the crucial work of creating a safe space for inspiration and growth for our city’s youth,” said Brad Lander, NYC Comptroller. “Your decades-long work of uplifting and empowering youth of color has built lasting relationships and helped thousands of young people become the best version of themselves. I wish you continued success and look forward to our ongoing partnership.”
“The Brotherhood Sister Sol is a brilliant institution, and I’m thrilled their new home reflects the light and power they bring to the community,” said Mark Levine, Manhattan Borough President. “For generations to come, this space will provide critical support services and a sense of belonging to Upper Manhattan’s youth. Countless lives will be transformed here.”
The organization’s wrap-around programming provides four to six-year rites of passage programming, after school care, school and home counseling, summer camps, job training, college preparation, employment opportunities, community organizing training, and urban gardening. Since the onset of the pandemic, The Brotherhood Sister Sol has additionally addressed food insecurity and distributed over 1,000,000 meals to youth members and the surrounding community through 100 weekly food distributions. The new headquarters location will further support the organization’s ongoing efforts in supporting youth and the rising generation.
“In October of 2018, I joined Khary Lazarre-White, Jason Warwin, colleagues, and community members to break ground on the new home for The Brotherhood Sister Sol, and supported construction with allocations from the Borough President’s office,” said Gale A. Brewer, New York City Council Member. “BroSis has an incredible track record of empowering youth and the quality of their service to young people is unmatched. I am delighted to see the new space open, and look forward to continuing my work with the organization to impact meaningful change.”
“Summer and afterschool enrichment programs like those offered by The Brotherhood Sister Sol changed my life when I was growing up – they helped me succeed in school, exposed me to new ideas, and provided mentorship and opportunity,” said Shaun Abreu, New York City Council Member. “I couldn’t be happier for the kids who will come to the new BroSis space to learn, have fun, and grow into the future leaders they are meant to be.”
“Today marks a new chapter for The Brotherhood Sister Sol and the social justice movement in NYC and beyond. Rooted in the Northern Manhattan community, BroSis’ new home is a beacon for what dignified, holistic, and transformative spaces should be for our youth,” said Carmen De La Rosa, New York City Council Member. “I congratulate BroSis on their many years of success and the grand opening of their historic new building. As the Councilmember for District 10, I look forward to working together to ensure Black and Latinx young people are able to thrive in their communities and in their own lives.”
For more information, please visit https://brotherhood-sistersol.org/ and follow The Brotherhood Sister Sol on social media @BroSis512.
About The Brotherhood Sister Sol
For over 25 years, the Brotherhood Sister Sol (BroSis) has been at the forefront of social justice, educating, training and organizing to challenge inequality and champion opportunity for all. With a focus on Black and Latinx youth, BroSis is where young people own the power of their history, identity and community to create the future they want to see. Through around-the-clock supports, wraparound programming and far-reaching opportunities, BroSis makes space for young people to transform their lives and their communities. By training educators across the nation and around the world and organizing a community of change agents, BroSis builds on its legacy of youth-led activism to realize a more just and equitable future.
SOURCE The Brotherhood Sister Sol / PR Newswire