The 2015 Crawford Prize Recipient
Born and raised in New York City, Lazarre-White is a social entrepreneur, educator, nonprofit leader, writer and attorney. From his college dorm room in 1995 at the age of 21, Khary made a solemn personal pledge to make a difference for the children of his Harlem neighborhood. It was then that he co-founded The Brotherhood/Sister Sol and began the work of helping young people to transform their lives. Several years later Khary chose to attend law school to diversify his skills to better serve his community. After law school, Khary turned down lucrative corporate opportunities to continue his passion of providing engaging afterschool enrichment programming, exposures and a roadmap to a successful life. The young people Khary worked with were not likely to receive this guidance, modeling and support in any other way. The Brotherhood/SisterSol was Khary’s answer.
Since 1995, Khary has devoted himself to leading The Brotherhood/Sister Sol (Bro/Sis), a nonprofit year-round youth development and mentoring program for 8-to-22 year olds. Khary serves as the executive director and co-founder of Bro/Sis.
Bro/Sis provides a "safe-place" after-school program where recreation, academic support, mentoring, world exposures and training change the course of teen lives. This exciting change is occurring in communities where many teens are struggling to survive. By providing teens with tools, skills and discipline, their experience with Bro/Sis allows these teens to envision a positive future and to believe in their dreams. The centerpiece of Bro/Sis’ success is the relationship with a trusted mentor assigned to each Bro/Sis participant. Further, each student must adhere to a Rites of Passage Pledge, which serves as an age-appropriate commitment to each participant’s newly envisioned success.
Under Khary’s leadership, Bro/Sol has demonstrated a proven track record of success:
- In West Harlem only 42% of youth graduate from high school, while 88% of Bro/Sol alumni have graduated from high school.
- 30% of West Harlem youth, ages 18-25 are employed full time or enrolled in college, while 95% of Bro/Sis alumni are either working full time or enrolled in college.
- One out of three Black men in America, ages 20-29, are under the supervision of the criminal justice system, while no alumni of Bro/Sis are incarcerated and less than 1% are on parole.
- In Harlem the teenage pregnancy rate is 15%, whereas the teenage pregnancy rate at Bro/Sis is less than 2%.
The proven success of the Bro/Sis model is based on comprehensive, holistic and long-term support for youth. Their theory of change is to provide multi-layered support, guidance, education and love to their members, thereby teaching them to have self-discipline and to form order in their lives. Then, when offered opportunity and access, these young people have the chance to soar.
Bro/Sis is locally based with a national reach as they publish assorted curricula and collections of their members’ writings; train educators from throughout the nation on their approach; and advise on educational policy across the country and New York City.
Khary received a BA with honors in Africana Studies from Brown University, and a JD from Yale Law School where he focused on international human rights law and constitutional law.
Khary has extensive experience as a public speaker on issues of education, public policy, Constitutional law issues, community organizing, leadership development, management and politics. Khary writes regular opinion pieces for The Huffington Post, and has also written essays for publications that include NYU Press, Nation Books, and MSNBC.com. He has appeared widely on media sites as a regular guest contributor and has been recognized with an array of awards including from Oprah Winfrey, Ford Foundation, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Black Girls Rock, Andrew Goodman Foundation, Union Square Awards and Brown University. Khary serves on assorted advisory boards, including for New York City’s Young Men’s Initiative, CUNY School for Public Health, New York City Commission on Human Rights and the Heinz Endowments.