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Brotherhood Sister Sol Raises Nearly $2 Million at Annual Gala, Honors Billy Porter and Ai-jen Poo

AMSTERDAM NEWS — For more than 25 years, 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. 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.

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Billy Porter Credit: Jamel Martin of JMartinVisuals / The Amsterdam News
Billy Porter Credit: Jamel Martin of JMartinVisuals / The Amsterdam News

By Cyril Josh Barker | AmNews Digital Editor

The Harlem-based youth development and social justice organization Brotherhood Sister Sol (BroSis) honored actor and singer Billy Porter and National Domestic Workers Alliance president Ai-jen Poo at its 2024 Voices gala on Thursday night, where the organization raised $1.9 million.

Returning for its 19th year, Voices is the organization’s annual benefit to celebrate its youth members and enrich programming. This year’s event took place at New York City’s Ziegfeld Ballroom, with actor and comedian Hasan Minhaj serving as host for the evening. Several BroSis students and alumni shared stories about their experience in the organization during the program.

Porter and Poo were recognized for their commitments to social justice work, Porter with the June Jordan Clarion Call Award and Poo with the Bayard Rustin Award for Social Justice.

“BroSis is a beacon for how a community can come together to work with marginalized youth,” said Porter. “Their commitment to providing support and amplifying voices aligns with my own mission of changing society for those who often go unheard. Together, we can create a more inclusive and compassionate world, where every individual can thrive and be celebrated for who they are.”

Award-winning actor, singer, and activist Porter was recognized for his achievements and fearless support in advocating for LGBTQIA+ rights. Poo, activist, National Domestic Workers Alliance president, and co-founder of Supermajority, was honored for her efforts in championing the rights of domestic workers and fairness for women in the workplace.

“The Brotherhood Sister Sol is an organization I have admired for my lifetime as an organizer,” said Poo. “It is the honor of a lifetime to be [recognized] by them. They offer a singular model of youth power building and a powerful antidote to the converting epidemics of poverty, mental health crisis, and racism plaguing too many of our communities. BroSis feeds the minds and spirits of young people—and changes lives and communities.”

Khary Lazarre-White, BroSis co-founder and executive director, told the AmNews it was appropriate to honor Porter and Poo for their contributions to civil rights, but also for breaking barriers in their work with inspiring young people. He said this year’s fundraiser was the largest BroSis has had, with more than 600 attendees.

“Brotherhood Sister Sol serves about 750 young people in Harlem and we [affect] millions of young people on the issues we organize around,” Lazarre-White said. “The percentage of high school graduation rate in BroSis is 99 percent. We’re so excited. The students go to so many wonderful schools and have so many great opportunities. We stay and support them through college to ensure that they graduate.”

For more than 25 years, 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. 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.

In 2022, BroSis moved into its current home: a brand-new, 20,000-square-foot community center designed entirely for community and educational use.

The organization is gearing up for its Summer Leadership Program, which includes the International Study Program for 9th through 12th graders, where students explore the city through fun and educational activities and helps them gain skills for entering the workforce. BroSis also provides a Summer Day Camp where 7th and 8th graders participate in daily activities focused on team building, life skills, and leadership development.

This article originally appeared in the Amsterdam News.

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