Apply To Be Part of The Brown Boi Project, Shape the Future

Carmen’s Team Pick:

The Brown Boi Project is a community of masculine-of-center human beings of color working toward racial and gender justice. You have until January 26 to become a part of it.


Beginning on March 19th in Oakland, CA, the Brown Boi Project’s next 5-day leadership retreat is a space for their members to “develop deep skills and life experiences that we can draw on to build collective power within our communities to achieve social justice.” Attendees will have important conversations about race, class, culture, gender and sexuality, and figure out the best strategies for helping their own communities. Bois will come from around the nation for the community organizing retreat. You can apply online to attend. If selected, your travel, food, and lodging expenses will be completely covered; applications should have under 7 years of experience.

The project seeks out anyone with “a strong commitment to becoming their best self.” Bois currently participating in the project come from a wide range of backgrounds, career fields, and dream worlds. Sounds just like you! The catch here is that if you apply and are selected, you have to let me know so that we can share a moment via the comments section and I can hug you with my virtual arms. Now go forth and apply, kids!

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Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


  1. I’m sorry to appear cynical, but I’m always confused when I see new organizations like this being developed. They seem, in my opinion, to have goals that are vague, idealistic, unfocused, and undefined. I feel as though I’m reading a flier from the 1970s. I know the group’s stated goal is to “develop deep skills and life experiences that we can draw on to build collective power within our communities to achieve social justice.” What does that mean? Here’s where I think these types of social movements go wrong. If you really want to build collective power and achieve justice, you should focus on hard skills rather soft ones. It’s easier to sit around and wax philosophical about “race, class, culture, gender and sexuality” and feel like you’re doing “work.” Sounds like a a group therapy session to me. What is that going to do? Discussing wealth building, business development, investing, and entrepreneurship along with teaching people about the specific legal code and ordinances of their city/communities seems more helpful for empowerment. Oppressed communities will only be free when they are economically independent and sustainable and the citizens are empowered by knowing their rights. Teach people to start businesses or co-ops to employ members of their community and create wealth. Knowing the difference between an LLC and a corporation are more helpful than knowing race theory. That is freedom. Or budgeting! Otherwise it’s just more depending on political groups or individuals for representation or financial assistance. I wish the group the best of luck, and I hope you’ll consider some of these ideas.

    • I think this is just an initial step in where this project is going. When it comes to empowerment of oppressed communities and identities -before it’s useful to learn business skills, before learning anything- it’s necessary to feel empowered within yourself. Personally as an androgynously presenting POC I would have no idea how to use any of these legal skills you’re touting to achieve the social justice that would actually be helpful; at least not before knowing more intimately about the nature of my own oppression and the experiences with oppression of those whom I’m hoping to help. So while I understand you’re believing the way to go is, investment logic, entrepenuerial ideas, and business models, that is useless to a community that has been taught since birth to hate who they are and where they come from. It is privileged of you to suggest that disecting real experiences of race, class, culture, gender, and sexuality is simply “group therapy” as opposed to “real work”. You can’t dismantle the master’s house with the master’s tools. Those tools were designed to keep the oppressed oppressed. We need to find our own voices and our own tools. Which is what this retreat seems to actually be about. Which seems clear if you had continued reading past the stated goal, which you found so confusing, through the “group therapy” and “waxing philosophical” all the way to “…and figure out the best strategies for helping their own communities.” I realize you’re comment was meant to be constructive, but the best way to help is to listen and learn and acknowledge where and how you yourself are privileged. This is where I think you’re misled, you aren’t giving these organizers enough credit for their ability to know and understand their own communities needs. Real people and their real experiences mean more than “theory” as you put it.

    • Hey Nicole,

      I’m a brown boi (went through a cohort a few years ago and am still involved) and we actually do exactly what you’ve listed.

      It’s both general (social justice-minded support) – there’s nothing just like being in a room full of people who look like you – and specific support around financial literacy/wealth building, personal health, goal setting, career advice etc. We do everything in those 5 days from practice interviews with communications professionals to learning ways to help us care for our mental & physical health w/ western medicine – i.e. get our Paps & find a health care professional to at least talk to sometimes [something many masculine of center & trans folks don’t do] to workshops on caring for ourselves without Western Medicine herbs, tonics, tinctures for our inner and outer growth and sustainable self-care. Not to mention all of this is done with an eye to making sure we are aware of our privilege as masculine folks and don’t continue the damage & violence committed towards our cis & trans sisters of color in our communities.

      Basically BBP is super-amazeballs :)

  2. As someone who has applied for similar fellowships (and had my little life changed by them), I appreciate this 150%.

    To say that an organization which supports a doubly marginalized community is ‘unfocused’ causes more harm than good. Just by existing, this program’s bound to do a hell of a lot of wonderful things.

    apply apply apply

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