Khary Lazarre-White is a social activist, entrepreneur, novelist, and attorney who is spearheading change in his local community in New York City.
He currently serves as executive director and co-founder of The Brotherhood Sister Sol, a nonprofit youth organization empowering Black and Latinx young people to examine their roots, define their stories and awaken their agency.
Lazarre-White’s dedication to social activism stemmed from a long family history of incredible changemakers who fought for justice. “I come from a family of people who always fought for change – for equity, equality and freedom,” he explained to BLACK ENTERPRISE.
“My family served as organizers and activists from within government and from the outside. They made change as artists as well as everyday people who stood up.”
Inspired by his family’s impact and dedication to large social movements, Lazarre-White made it his mission to pour back into his local community in NYC. The social entrepreneur then co-founded The Brotherhood Sister Sol, which provides important support and programming to youth members within the community. “My family was involved in the civil rights movement, the women’s liberation movement, and the labor movement. This history provided a foundation for me and for all that I do,” he explained.
“When I co-founded The Brotherhood Sister Sol alongside my childhood friend Jason Warwin, it felt like a part of this legacy – a calling – that we had to engage in the work of justice. We grew up together in NYC and saw its beauty, culture and diversity. We also saw the inequality, pain and oppression that was a lived reality.”
Starting the Harlem nonprofit organization was no easy task and required a great amount of adversity and dedication. However, Lazarre-White understood the important role social activists played in society and kept driving forward. “When we began The Brotherhood Sister Sol, I did not know of all the difficulties of running a nonprofit, such as the constant and unending pressure of fundraising, the complicated efforts to manage different people and keep the collective aligned and mission focused. To run a nonprofit for 26 years, during the early years as a collective and now for many years as the sole executive director, it is a constant challenge.”
As a social entrepreneur, Lazarre-White made it his mission to utilize the process as a learning experience that would further help him elevate and build upon The Brotherhood Sister Sol. Today, he continues to serve as a leader within the space.
“Being a social entrepreneur means that one is always learning, developing new skills, and seeking new and innovative solutions,” he stated. “We as nonprofits are expected to seek solutions to inequities that in many ways the government has abdicated – responding to poverty and inequality, inadequate housing, poor schooling, a lack of investments in low income communities, and lack of access to employment. These are massive and complex challenges, and solutions take multiple generations, staying power and deep commitment.”
He continues to seek inspiration from his daily ventures and the incredible impact the organization has made within its community. “One of the most rewarding aspects of our work is, of course, the young people. Their bravery, their strength and resilience. It is a wonder to witness them learning, growing, succeeding and seeking change,” he stated.
Lazarre-White continues to serve others through the organization’s efforts while encouraging others to do the same. “The issues we face are many. They are deep and far-ranging. We need more people committed to an equitable and just world involved. We need more of you.”