Harlem nonprofit for youth Brotherhood Sister Sol celebrates new headquarters

NEW YORK – A new community center for young people in Upper Manhattan and the South Bronx opens on Friday in Harlem. The 22,000-square-foot facility is the new headquarters of Brotherhood Sister Sol.

Also known as BroSis, Brotherhood Sister Sol has been present at W 143rd for 27 years, teaching children financial literacy, social activism and the arts. Now the nonprofit has a facility that fits.

“When this project started, I challenged our architects from Urban Architectural Initiatives to design a building dedicated to enlightening children,” said BroSis co-founder and CEO Khary Lazarre-White. “Architecture tells you things. It tells you the value of what’s going on inside that space.”

What is happening is a metamorphosis, as 18-year-old member Matthew De La Cruz said.

“Before, I didn’t care, it couldn’t affect me,” De La Cruz said of the world around him, “but then you see that all these policies that these politicians are making affect you, just not directly. But sooner or later, they will . “

De La Cruz joined BroSis as a freshman freshman. That community went through pandemics, protests and puberty.

“We are friends for the rest of our lives,” he said of his colleagues.

Department head Dominique Mitchell felt the same way after graduating from BroSis, after having the opportunity to travel abroad for free and learn skills that will help her succeed as an adult.

“Because of the relationship I had with my branch leaders, it inspired me to want to reciprocate to my community, since I grew up across the street,” Mitchell said.

BroSis started in a century-old stone in 1995, but cracked at the seams trying to secure 500 young members and a growing waiting list by the time it was torn down in 2018. Lazarre-White said a mural painted by members depicting enslaved Americans is the only flight to freedom the thing they saved.

“Our art instructor figured out how to cut a piece of sheet metal, and then we had it framed so that the old building would be in the new one,” said Lazar-White.

The $ 20 million new building was made possible thanks to private donors, government grants and the goodwill of the neighborhood. The new space includes a rooftop basketball court paid for by the Kevin Durant Charitable Foundation, dance and art rooms, plus a Light Room overlooking the community’s thriving garden.

Construction continued during the pandemic, while BroSis worked on the corner of the block, providing more than a million meals to neighbors in need.

“We definitely want to ignite that fire in young people that they have to change the world, not in the future,” Lazar-White said. “Not that old, tired saying that children are the future. It’s about the present. It’s about young people really transforming our society.”

The Sister Sol fraternity will officially cut the ribbon at the new building on Friday morning at W 143rd Street between Amsterdam and Broadway.

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