Fair Policing/Community Organizing Program

The Brotherhood/Sister Sol (Bro/Sis) has been centrally involved in organizing to reform the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) “Stop and Frisk” policy. We do this work hand in hand with our long history of working to reduce violence and gang activity. Nearly ten million stops have occurred in New York City over the last 12 years – 84% of whom were Black or Latino. Of those stopped, only 5% of those stopped were arrested or issued a ticket, and less than .1% had a gun – yet the NYPD is supposed to have “reasonable” suspicion before stopping and frisking an individual. The New York State Attorney General has issued a report that has found that only .1% have stops have resulted in convictions of possession of a gun and only 1.5% in any conviction at all. This is a policy that only is enforced in some neighborhood, and only on some citizens.

In response to wide spread organizing efforts Mayor de Blasio has agreed to drop the appeal in Floyd and reform the widespread policy of “Stop and Frisk;” the New York City Council has voted to put into place oversight of the NYPD and strengthen remedies if the NYPD racially profiles; a Federal Judge has found that the NYPD’s practice has violated the United States Constitution and mandated oversight of the NYPD.

Bro/Sis has contributed to an Amicus Brief in Floyd, submitted a declaration in the case, and our members were named witnesses, we have testified in front of the New York City Council, provided witness testimony in Floyd, advocated within the New York City Council and with its members, advocated for reform with Mayor elect Bill de Blasio, sought policy reform, engaged in political education with our membership, heard testimony from our community, and our membership has spoken out widely on the issue in assorted press mediums and have created documentaries on the experience.

Our members have been leading voices in the organizing effort to ensure fair policing. Nicholas Peart, our alumni member, wrote the definitive first person statement on the issue, an Op Ed in the New York Times, “Why is the NYPD After Me?” He, other members and staff and our Executive Director Khary Lazarre-White, have been interviewed on MSNBC, CNN, CBS National News, Fox Latino, WABC, WPIX, NY1, WBAI, Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now, in The New York Times, EPOCH Times, MSNBC’s thegrio.com, and many more media US based outlets, as well as on British, Japanese and Brazilian television. Representatives from the organization have appeared over 50 times on television to discuss the issue.

The Yale Law School featured our members in documentary, STIGMA, which focused on the personal effect of stop and frisk, and Bro/Sis has partnered with The Game Changers Project (GCP) to create mini-documentaries that have aired on the subject on MSNBC’s thegrio.com, Ebony.com and at The Ford Foundation. Khary Lazarre-White has written and spoken extensively on the issue and has been a leading commentator on television regarding police reform, racial profiling, and for approaches for gun and violence reduction that do not violate the United States Constitution.

We have members who have been stopped and frisked between 5 and 30 times. All of the male staff of our organization have been stopped and frisked. The vast majority of our male membership has experienced being stopped and frisked. We have members who have experienced this interaction with the police when walking down the street, standing in front of their buildings, walking down the hallways in public housing, working out in the park, riding the trains, going to the store, and often when walking to high school. We believe our central role in the effort is to put front and center the voices of young people who have had the experience of being “stopped and frisked”– These are some of their voices:

Our alumni have created media to inform the public and we have a Fair Policing organizer and filmmaker, funded by Open Society Institute and Tides Foundation, and they coordinate our efforts.

Here are their stories:

Short Documentaries

We Are Together, Bro/Sis alumni, The Peace Poets

Gateway: Marijuana & Mass Incarceration, A film on the racially disparate enforcement of marijuana laws

Making of an Activist, a film about Nicholas Peart by Frank Lopez

My Brother’s Keeper, by Frank Lopez

Stigma (created by The Yale Law School)

El Puente (in collaboration with The Game Changer’s Project) by Frank Lopez

Walk With Me (in collaboration with The Game Changer’s Project), by Frank Lopez

Disparate enforcement of Marijuana laws in NYS (in collaboration with The Game Changer’s Project) by Bro/Sis Alumnus Jemaray Pyatt

Media Appearances related to this issue can be seen here:

Bro/Sis alumni member Frank Lopez on Fox Latino.

Bro/Sis Alumni member Nicholas Peart appears on Al Sharpton’s show Politics Nation to discuss Stop & Frisk. (Nick speaking at 9min mark)

Bro/Sis Alumnus member Nicholas Peart appears on PBS NEWSHOUR show to discuss Stop & Frisk.

ED Khary Lazarre-White and Bro/Sis alumnus Nicholas Peart appear on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell to discuss the Federal court finding that the NYPD’s Stop and Frisk program is unconstitutional.

Read article from Nicholas Peart and Khary Lazarre-White interviewed regarding Stop and Frisk policy on NBC’s Grio.com

Read article from The New York Times of Bro/Sis alumni Nicholas Peart speaking out against Stop & Frisk.

Watch Bro/Sis members on Yale Law School Visual Project.

Read article from The New York Times of Bro/Sis alumni Crystal Pope speaking out against Stop & Frisk.

Watch a Game Changers video created by Bro/Sis alumni Jemaray Pyatt on disparate enforcement of marijuana laws in NYS

Read article from The Daily News of Bro/Sis alumni Nicholas Peart speaking out against Stop & Frisk.

Read article from New York 1 of Bro/Sis alumni Nicholas Peart speaking out against Stop & Frisk.

Watch Bro/Sis alumni member Nicholas Peart on national CBS News with Scott Pelley.

Watch The Peace Poets Speaking Out Against Being Stopped & Frisked

Community Organizing

Beyond the classroom, our members put their knowledge into action. Our Community Organizing Campaigns, through education on strategy and best practices, empower young people to be engaged in social change. Bro/Sis campaigns include intensified youth-led organizing to significantly improve the state of public education in NYC and influence policies for the next mayoral administration. Bro/Sis members have taken the lead in creating a robust advocacy campaign for public education policy; joining forces with A+NYC – a citywide visioning collaborative, engaging thousands of parents, students, educators, and community members in town hall meetings, open houses and focus groups to produce a set of concrete recommendations for public education under the next Mayor. Bro/Sis hosted over 50 young people for visioning sessions from throughout NYC. Based on over 60 community meetings and thousands of responses, a platform was created to capture key points that our next mayor would need to address. Members also participated in the PS2013 Bus Tour; a mobile interactive exhibit highlighting 27 recommendations from over 1,800 students, parents, school administrators, and other community members giving feedback.