Editor’s note: Brothers Building a Better Nation recently announced it is on hiatus until May 15, 2023.
Quadeer Porter is the founder and president of Brothers Building a Better Nation (BBABN), an organization whose mission is to educate, mentor and inspire young men of color in the Newark area to build resilience and improve their health and well-being. BBABN accomplishes this through community-based engagement and advocacy, outreach, health education and support services.
Porter was born and raised in Newark, and he says that the impact of what he saw growing up influenced the leader he is today. Says Porter, “The nonprofit started several years ago. I moved from the Pavilion Apartments [in Newark] to my first house, and I saw a lot of brothers on the streets going through a lot of the same things I was going through.”
He says he started getting a lot of knocks on his door from people asking how he overcame having a parent who was addicted to drugs, and how he managed to get out of poverty and go to college.
As Porter kept seeing the questions coming, he decided that, instead of just helping these individuals one at a time, he would use the tools he gained working at Rutgers University, Memorial Sloan-Kettering and other organizations to create a nonprofit to address their questions. “These young men needed work, job training and case management. There are lot of complex systems in Newark, as well as through the federal government, that many people have a hard time navigating, so I put those things into our organization,” Porter says.
One of the most important tools that Porter believes is essential for any successful nonprofit is empathy. “The ability to be empathetic with a lot of brothers’ situations that are causing them to not be able to get over the hump is so important,” he says.
“A lot of times, these young men have been ostracized in their community because they have gotten into the drug trade or done something to become incarcerated,” Porter says. Sometimes, when these individuals go back into the community, they can be seen in a negative light, so BBABN helps reintroduce them to the community and shows them a better way to go forward.
Porter says he believes BBABN reinvigorates hope in the young men they serve.
“Often, these young men have been going through the system or they try to get welfare or affordable housing, and a lot of times they feel like they hit a rock in the road, and that is where we come in. Often, people in my community want to see somebody doing well. It becomes infectious. I want them to become the role model that I know they can be,” he says of the young men the program serves.
As for his commitment to the future of Newark, Porter says: “I see the beauty in Newark, and I want to continue to grow and contribute to it. I feel as though I owe it to my great-grandfather, to my family and future generations to make Newark even more beautiful.”
Steve Adubato, PhD, is the author of five books including his latest, Lessons in Leadership. He is also an Emmy® Award–winning anchor on Thirteen/WNET (PBS) and NJ PBS. Check out steveadubato.org. Steve has appeared on CNN, FOX5 in NY and NBC’s Today Show, and his “Lessons in Leadership” video podcast with co-host Mary Gamba airs Sundays at 10 am on News 12+. Steve also provides executive leadership coaching and seminars for a variety of corporations and organizations both regionally and nationally. For more information, visit stand-deliver.com.
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