The stars were out last Wednesday as Brotherhood/Sister Sol hosted its ninth annual VOICES benefit gala. This year’s event was held at Gotham Hall in Midtown and honored actor Jeffrey Wright and famed visual artist Carrie Mae Weems.
The gala brought out actors Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, Rachel Dratch, Adam Lazarre-White and Michael K. Williams, the incumbent New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance, film and television producer Terence Winter, New York Times columnist Charles Blow, poet-author Elizabeth Alexander and approximately 500 other supporters.
Special performances included spoken word performances and reflections by current participants and alumni of Brotherhood/Sister Sol, including Frantz Jerome, Micah Marte, Emmanuel Candelario and Luke Nephew.
Wright received the June Jordan Clarion Call Award and Esperanza Spalding received the Frida Kahlo Award for Innovative Creativity.
“I thank you profoundly for this honor. More importantly, I thank Khary Lazarre-White, Jason Warwin and everyone associated with Brotherhood/Sister Sol for your example of intelligent, empathetic, hard work at a time when our country desperately needs reminding that American greatness exists in the hearts, minds and spirits of most—though not all—of its people and particularly in the young people like those who have flourished by your efforts,” said Wright.
Brotherhood/Sister Sol Executive Director and co-founder Khary Lazarre-White said the organization is dedicated to helping young people understand the political realities. During his speech, he highlighted the work the organization is doing in the wake of the recent presidential election.
“We believe this work is done via education, organizing and the arts, and we are so pleased to have honored two artists whose work and life missions are so intertwined with social commentary, equity and struggling with the important and necessary issues of our time.”
The nonprofit has embarked on a $15 million capital campaign to expand its reach, and in November 2017 plans to break ground on a new six-story state-of-the-art home, with training facilities, a technology center and an arts/performance space.
Nearly $1 million was raised at this year’s gala. White said the money will go to programs Brotherhood/Sister Sol provides, including job training, international study and college preparation.