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Empowering Men of Color in Seattle

build startBrothers United in Leadership Development (B.U.I.L.D.) is a Citywide Youth & Teen Program dedicated to increasing civic engagement and leadership opportunities for Men of Color, particularly Black and Latino. The program provides support and mentoring to help men of color navigate systems, develop community partnerships and strengthen their sense of power. Ultimately, B.U.I.L.D.’s mission is to develop leaders who can affect real change in our community.

For the past two years, this Seattle Parks and Recreation-supported program has helped organize community events and host workshops with local schools, nonprofits and businesses. B.U.I.L.D. also offers a young men’s group at two of our Teen Life Centers.


BUILD group photo at BOOM

B.U.I.L.D. hosted an interactive workshop for young men of color at the Boom Experience, an all-day event designed for male students who identify as African, Black, Latino, Native American or a mix of any, who are in grades 7-12 in the Bellevue School District. The Boom Experience provided an opportunity for students to connect, be inspired and find support, and to be led and taught by men who racially identify like them. Students spent the day learning and engaging in discussions around race, culture, leadership and self-empowerment. B.U.I.L.D. members shared resources and stories with the young men about their personal experiences working and participating in the Parks and Recreation profession, and also highlighted Seattle Parks and Recreation offerings that focus on supporting youth of color, including our Teen Summer Musical program, our Teen Life Centers, and our Youth Engaged in Service Learning program.

BUILD the HOOD Softball Event

BUILD Softball event winnersB.U.I.L.D. hosted a resource fair and softball game at South Park Playfield. More than 150 community members attended the event, including a large number of Black men and their families, as well as many Latino families. The resource fair provided voter registration information, on-site free HIV testing, information on City of Seattle employment opportunities, and more. Following the resource fair, B.U.I.L.D. organized a fun and friendly softball game with four teams consisting mostly of “Opportunity Youth”—defined as young people ages 16-24 who are not engaged in work or school.

BUILD the HOOD Community EventBUILD the HOOD 8.9.15 South vr WestB.U.I.L.D. hosted a large-scale community event at Rainier Playfield in Southeast Seattle for at-risk youth, adults and their families from South, West and Central Seattle. More than 500 community members enjoyed the event, which included a barbecue, basketball game, resource fair, and kid-friendly activities, including face painting and arts-and-crafts. Leading up to the event, B.U.I.L.D. members conducted street outreach with active gang members to encourage them to attend and help plan the event. In doing so, B.U.I.L.D. helped put those young men into a positive leadership role within their community, empowering them to step away from negative choices and towards more positive choices to build their community.

BUILD Documentary Viewing

BUILD viewing 13th panelB.U.I.L.D., along with several community partners, helped host a community viewing of the documentary 13th at the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. More than 150 community members attended and watched the documentary, which looks at the impact mass incarceration has had on communities of color. After the viewing, members from Southwest Teen Life Center’s Young Men’s Group and Black Student Unions helped facilitate a community discussion, which included a panel made up of community members who are working to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline, and/or who have been impacted directly by mass incarceration.