Jabari Brisport

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Jabari Brisport
(12-28-20) Newly Elected NYS Senator Jabari Brisport (cropped).jpg
Member of the New York State Senate
from the 25th district
Assumed office
January 1, 2021
Preceded byVelmanette Montgomery
Personal details
Born (1987-08-09) August 9, 1987 (age 34)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic (2019–present)
Other political
affiliations
EducationNew York University (BFA)
Yale University (MFA)
WebsiteCampaign website

Jabari Brisport (born August 9, 1987) is an American politician, activist, former actor, and former public school teacher.[1] He is the state senator for New York's 25th State Senate district in Brooklyn, and gained national attention during his 2020 campaign for his outspoken views on racial justice and his self-described socialist economic principles.[2][3][4][5] He is the first openly gay person of color elected to the New York State Legislature.

Early life and education[edit]

Brisport was raised in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn,[6] by a Caribbean immigrant father and a second-generation Brooklynite mother.[7] During his childhood, his father worked at a sheet metal factory, and his mother was an office manager.[4]

He attended New York University Tisch School of the Arts[8] and the Yale School of Drama.[9][8][10][11]

Career[edit]

Education[edit]

Brisport taught math to 6th and 7th graders at Medgar Evers College Preparatory School, a public school in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.[8][11][12] He is a member of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) union.[13]

Activism[edit]

At age 22, Brisport began organizing efforts in support of a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in New York.[4] The bill was defeated in 2009, but Brisport continued organizing around the issue and same-sex marriage was legalized in New York two years later.

A few years after that, Brisport got involved in the burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement and began organizing rallies and protests, as well as training protesters on what to do if stopped or harassed by the police.[14] In 2017, he traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia, to march in the counter-protest of a Unite the Right rally.[15]

He joined the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) shortly after Donald Trump's election as president, and got involved in their work on access to affordable housing. He quickly became a leader in the fight against the private development of the Bedford Union Armory in Crown Heights.[16][17][18][19]

2017 City Council race[edit]

In 2017, Brisport ran against incumbent Laurie Cumbo for the 35th New York City Council District. In a rare Green Party primary, he defeated Scott Hutchinson, 32 votes to 4.[6] Brisport was partially inspired by Bernie Sanders to run for office,[20] and in turn partially inspired Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's successful congressional run.[21] He was endorsed by Our Revolution and New York Communities for Change,[6] as well as the New York Chapter of Democratic Socialists of America.[19] He lost the election, receiving 29% of the vote.[22][23][24] Brisport earned more independent votes than any council candidate since 2003.[25]

2020 State Senate race[edit]

Brisport speaking at a protest in June 2020

In 2019, Brisport announced a run for the New York State Senate 25th District seat being vacated by Velmanette Montgomery.[26] On September 29, 2019, Brisport was endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America.[27] His campaign did not accept any donations from the real estate industry or any for-profit corporations. Instead, it received donations from over 7,000 individuals, breaking the record for most donors to a New York State-level campaign.[28][29] According to the campaign, they also had the support of over 1,000 volunteers.[30] His campaign was also endorsed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, Cynthia Nixon, New York Communities for Change, and the Working Families Party.[4][31]

On election night of the Democratic primary on June 23, 2020, Brisport led the race with 52.25% of the vote against sitting Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright and former Montgomery staffer Jason Salmon. But there were more absentee ballots than usual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and on election night there were still 26,000 absentee ballots to be counted.[32] Brisport declared victory on July 23, once the absentee ballots had been counted and his lead over Wright had grown to 10,000 votes.[33] Brisport won the November general election, becoming the first openly LGBTQ person of color ever elected to the New York legislature.[34]

Political positions[edit]

Brisport came to identify as a democratic socialist through Bernie Sanders's presidential campaign, for which he volunteered as a canvasser and phone-banker.[14] He is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).[19]

Brisport's support for affordable housing includes not only stopping the private development of the Bedford Union Armory in Crown Heights, Brooklyn,[35][36][37] but to other perennial measures, such as a vacancy tax and a pied-à-terre tax,[38] as well as housing plans that are 100% affordable, rather than a mix of market price or luxury condominiums.[23]

Brisport also supports a ban on the commercial sale of cats, dogs, and rabbits, as well as on the sale and manufacture of fur clothing. He defends outlawing cruel animal farming practices and redirecting dairy subsidies into programs for dairy farmers to exit the industry.[39]

Personal life[edit]

Brisport is gay[40] and describes himself as a vegan and an animal rights activist.[39]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "All Politics Is Local: a Guide to Brooklyn's City Council Races - The Bridge". The Bridge. November 6, 2017. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  2. ^ Goldenberg, Sally; Custodio, Jonathan; Anuta, Joe. "As their reach grows in Albany, Democratic socialists target the City Council". Politico PRO. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  3. ^ Nelson, Joshua (November 1, 2020). "Joe Biden is 'last shot' for establishment Democrats, says Lawrence Jones". Fox News. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d "Teacher Jabari Brisport set to be N.Y.'s 1st Black gay state senator". NBC News. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  5. ^ Stewart, Emily (March 13, 2020). "What Bernie Sanders's movement does now". Vox. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c "'Crazy Green Party Dude' Wages Grassroots Fight in Brooklyn Council Race". City Limits. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  7. ^ "Jabari Brisport". www.gp.org.
  8. ^ a b c "Jabari Brisport Resume". Jabari Brisport. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  9. ^ Whitford, Emma (April 7, 2017). "Meet The Democratic Socialist Running For City Council In Brooklyn". Gothamist. Archived from the original on January 14, 2018. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  10. ^ "Jabari Brisport". www.facebook.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Upcoming". Jabari Brisport. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  12. ^ i_beebe (November 4, 2020). "Jabari Brisport is still teaching". City & State NY. Retrieved November 20, 2020.
  13. ^ i_beebe (September 6, 2020). "Will labor stick with the establishment?". City & State NY. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  14. ^ a b "Hannah Black talks with New York State Senate candidate Jabari Brisport". www.artforum.com. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  15. ^ "Charlottesville protester: Trump's words too little too late". Fox News. August 15, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  16. ^ "Arrest of City Council candidate at Bedford-Union Armory protest draws criticism - Brooklyn Daily Eagle". www.brooklyneagle.com. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  17. ^ "Bedford-Union Armory fight spills over into 35th City Council debate in Brooklyn - Brooklyn Daily Eagle". www.brooklyneagle.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  18. ^ "City Planning Approves Bedford-Union Armory Plan as 2 Protesters Arrested". DNAinfo New York. Archived from the original on February 28, 2018. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  19. ^ a b c Jilani, Zaid (August 3, 2017). "Jabari Brisport Is Running For City Council to Bring Democratic Socialism to Brooklyn". The Intercept. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  20. ^ Foldy, Ben (October 9, 2017). "A Green Grows in Brooklyn". Bklyner. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  21. ^ "TALKING SOCIALISM | Catching up with AOC".
  22. ^ Marcetic, Branko (November 9, 2017). "Yesterday Was a Good Day". Jacobin. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  23. ^ a b "Laurie Cumbo Holds On To Win NYC District 35 Election". Patch. November 6, 2017. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  24. ^ Max, Ben. "2017 New York City General Election Results". Gotham Gazette. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  25. ^ Elliott-Negri, Luke (July 25, 2019). "Opinion: By Forging Alliance on the Left, Cabán Race is Reshaping NYC Politics". City Limits.
  26. ^ "Brooklyn Democratic Socialists narrow their sights on four 2020 candidates". Brooklyn Eagle. September 19, 2019.
  27. ^ Levine, Jon (October 5, 2019). "NYC Democratic Socialists' new AOC could be this rising star from Brooklyn".
  28. ^ Tracy, Matt (May 26, 2020). "Flexing Grassroots Muscle, Brisport Leads State Senate Rivals in Fundraising". Gay City News. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  29. ^ "Inside the NYC Democratic Socialists' Powerhouse Electoral Machine". jacobinmag.com. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  30. ^ "Jabari Brisport Declares Victory In Brooklyn State Senate Race". www.msn.com. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  31. ^ "Our Candidates". Working Families Party. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  32. ^ Millman, Andrew (July 8, 2020). "Jabari Brisport, Democratic Socialist on Verge of Upset Primary Win in Brooklyn, Eyes Journey to Albany". Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  33. ^ Iqbal, Zainab (July 23, 2020). "Jabari Brisport Declares Victory In NYS Senate Democratic Primary In District 25".
  34. ^ Crary, David (November 4, 2020). "In blue and red states, milestone wins for LGBTQ candidates". Washington Post. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  35. ^ "Arrest of City Council candidate at Bedford-Union Armory protest draws criticism - Brooklyn Daily Eagle". www.brooklyneagle.com. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  36. ^ "Bedford-Union Armory fight spills over into 35th City Council debate in Brooklyn - Brooklyn Daily Eagle". www.brooklyneagle.com. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  37. ^ "City Planning Approves Bedford-Union Armory Plan as 2 Protesters Arrested". DNAinfo New York. Archived from the original on February 28, 2018. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  38. ^ "Lessons from Vancouver for NYC's Debate Over Taxing Vacant Land to Ease Housing Crunch". City Limits. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  39. ^ a b "Animal Rights". Jabari For State Senate. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  40. ^ Sprayregen, Molly (June 15, 2020). "A gay socialist could be the first LGBTQ person of color in the New York legislature". LGBTQ Nation. Archived from the original on July 14, 2020. Retrieved July 23, 2020.

External links[edit]