Ben Janssen

Members of Brothers to Brothers gather for a photo with Washington faculty and groups advisers.

Lars Andersland, Staff Reporter

Brothers to Brothers (BIIB) is an up and coming group at Washington that advocates specifically for African-American males around the school. Meeting every Monday and Thursday, students in this brotherhood encourage each other to keep grades up, improve behavior, and use their voice to better themselves and the world around them. BIIB is led by student leaders Thaddeus Daniel ’18, Larenzo Irvin ’18, and DeAnye Bowman-Owens ’18 and sponsored by Chris Wright and Dedric Ward.

BIIB was initially created by an idea from the mind of principal John Cline. At Cline’s previous school in Charlotte, North Carolina, a similar organization exists called RISE. RISE helps young black males achieve in school and rise above the stereotypes attached to their appearance. “When I first got to Washington, I felt like there was the same need for African-American males to have a safe place to gain support and advocacy.” Although the two groups are similar, BIIB is still in an early stage of development.  “[BIIB] is still in the process of defining what its vision and mission are,” explained Cline. “This is just the beginning.”

The group aspires to have no failing grades and help in the community. Mentoring at neighboring elementary and middle schools, navigating through the college application process, and touring HBCUs are all on the horizon for BIIB. Studying together every Friday after school helps members bond and work on raising their grades. Setting a good example through leadership is also an important aspect to the young men involved. “I always look around and see kids in the hallway tryna terrorize the school. We need a lot of black leadership,” remarked Daniel.

BIIB members additionally want to assure that, after the preliminary stage of the group, any skin color is free to join. To them, the bond formed between brothers is more important than anything. “We just want to encourage and inspire each other to help out more,” explained Jacques Plummer. Supportive staff members hope that students will feel their voice is heard and become better people. “No matter what the race is they’re still brothers.” said Wright. “It’s always about appearance, at some point you want to be judged by your character.” Overall, BIIB has endless potential that will be put to good use.