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”.
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.
of Bro/Sis alumni have graduated from high school or earned a GED
“I believe so deeply in the life-saving work that The Brotherhood/Sister Sol is dedicated to: values and skills building that empower young people and keep them on course; helping young people to see and develop the extraordinary within themselves; ensuring their safe passage to adulthood. It is surely one of the most incredible organizations in the nation. Their work is catalytic! Their leadership, their services and outcomes are without peer. Simply put, The Brotherhood/Sister Sol does the work that few others will or even know how to do…. They have answered the call to repair the village, to secure the children. It’s our responsibility to ensure they have all they need to do God’s work.”Susan L. Taylor
“[The Brotherhood/Sister Sol] is using their passion to uplift and inspire a next generation through extraordinary work that creates leaders and a sanctuary for children…. where their members can develop a higher vision of themselves.”Oprah Winfrey