Navigating modern masculinity: the mission of Brother 2 Brother at Lawrence

“It can often be lonely as a POC on campus,” says senior Gordon Li Wang, the co-president of Lawrence’s Brother 2 Brother club for men of color. “I have a lot of passion for bringing people together and having needed discussions as well as engaging activities,” he explains. 

Brother 2 Brother (or B2B) is a group that offers community for men of color on campus, while welcoming all other Lawrentians as well. The organization currently aims to help people engage with ideas of modern masculinity and how they may intersect with other aspects of their identity. In Wang’s words, “B2B provides a place for men of color to feel a sense of belonging and have needed discussions and engaging activities. We encourage participation and understanding from all Lawrentians, striving to bridge gaps and foster unity through dialogue and shared experiences.” 

Wang himself joined B2B as a sophomore after getting to know the club’s previous president, Josh Canales, who was passionate about issues that affected men of color, including mental health struggles and men’s roles in addressing sexual assault. Now, along with co-president Brett Bamfo, also graduating with the class of 2024, Wang continues to cultivate the type of community that drew him in in the first place. 

The B2B/PRISM jubilee; co-presidents Brett Bamfo and Gordon Li Wang are pictured right. Photo courtesy of Celia Carrillo.

Wang notes that the campus experience can be especially isolating for men of color who do not participate in team sports or Greek life, and part of the club’s charm is the social outlet it provides through events like weekly pick-up basketball games. Of recent events, Wang lists a few as his favorites: the “sassy man apocalypse” discussion where they tackled perceptions and expectations of masculinity and what it means to be a sassy man, and a hot wing-eating contest in early October where Professor of Chemistry Stefan Debbert made an impressive showing of handling ten spicy wings and presented a bonus explanation of the spice molecule capsaicin were among his recollections. 

True to the spirit of acknowledging intersectionality, B2B also often has collaborative events with other clubs and student organizations on campus. Wang recounts past events with the Student Alliance Against Sexual Harassment & Assault (SAASHA) and the queer-centered organization PRISM. Together with SAASHA, they hosted a talk on gender roles and rape culture; with PRISM, a jubilee celebrating queerness and masculinity.  

As B2B’s community grows and its direction evolves, Wang says he hopes to see a continued nurturing of a space for men of color to honestly engage with their masculinity – to “explore truly which parts of masculinity resonate with us and which parts we want to change.” Though he plans to graduate in 2024, Wang really hopes that a space like the one B2B has created will always exist for men of color to connect with each other as well as the Lawrence community as a whole. 

B2B continues to meet in Memorial Hall Room 105 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday evenings. Their weekly basketball games are in the Wellness Center from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and are open to all, regardless of identity or skill level.