The Thought Leaders Issue: Jabari Brisport

The Thought Leaders Issue: Jabari Brisport

The Thought Leaders Issue: Jabari Brisport

Democratic nominee for New York’s 25th State Senate on the power of perseverance, peaceful protests, and forthcoming bills on the agenda.

Democratic nominee for New York’s 25th State Senate on the power of perseverance, peaceful protests, and forthcoming bills on the agenda.

Photography: Inez & Vinoodh

Styling: Aryeh Lappin

Text: Owen Myers

V127’s Thought Leaders Issue is available for pre-order now.

“I’m the first queer person of color to ever serve in the New York State Senate. Or, I guess, the first openly queer person of color. That’s really new. And it’s really historic. I cut my teeth in the fight for same-sex marriage in 2009. We lost that fight, but we came back in 2011. We doubled down on our efforts, hit the phone banks, and we won! It felt great to have a big win—for myself as a queer person, but also for a movement. I [realized that] I could make change if I really put my heart into it. I noticed all these issues in my community that needed to be addressed, so I ran for State Senate this year and won.

“In my district in Brooklyn, [which includes Park Slope, Bed-Stuy and Red Hook], everything is a balance. With over 300,000 people, no one agrees on everything, but you find unifying things. Everybody wants affordable housing, because the rent [in New York City] is out of control. Education is always a concern—I’m a public school teacher, by the way—and people are worried about the schools being underfunded.

“In my district, Barclays Center was a place of action in the first few days of the protests this summer, and what came out of that was Occupy City Hall. I was astounded at how efficiently and beautifully that arose. People were finding ways to de-escalate conflicts and solve problems without police involvement. When you put a bunch of abolitionists together, you start to get a sense of what a world could look like if we resort to the band-aid of a person with a badge and a gun.

“There are a lot of hot-button issues right now, like the ‘Walking While Trans’ bill, which is an anti-loitering bill targeting women—predominantly trans women and women of color—and accusing them of soliciting sex work. Drug laws enable cops to target Black and brown people. [What we should be focusing on is] guaranteeing health care to all people—queer people and people of color, especially, who are less likely to have health care. That’s super important.

“We have a fight against neoliberalism in this country, but also against fascism. I believe in voting to ensure we have a chance to push for these agendas.”

REGISTER TO VOTE HERE.

Credits:

VLM STUDIO KIM POLLOCK (AGENT) JODOKUS DRIESSEN (LIGHTING DIRECTOR) MARC KROOP (STUDIO MANAGER) BRIAN ANDERSON (DIGITAL TECHNICIAN) VLM PRODUCTIONS TUCKER BIRBILIS (PRODUCER) EVA HARTE (PRODUCTION COORDINATOR) JOHN NADHAZI (PRODUCTION MANAGER) JOE HUME (PHOTO ASSISTANT) RETOUCHING STEREOHORSE

UP NEXT

The Thought Leaders Issue: Ilana Glazer
Comedian and co-founder of Generator explains 'Cheat Sheet for the Voting Booth' series and true feelings towards presidential candidate Joe Biden.