Jabari Brisport, “a 3rd generation resident of Prospect Heights” with an immigrant father and Caribbean roots, is running as a Green Party candidate for City Council District 35 in Brooklyn. He has a background in theater and activism, which has uniquely shaped his political journey and career. In college, Brisport tells the Progressive Army that he “wrote spoken word about legalizing gay marriage and created site-specific theater against gentrification.”
He has been a part of The Glass Theater Company, “an anti-gentrification theater group” at NYU, the “anti-racist artist collective” Artists for Change at Yale, and, more recently, the “political comedy” group, Political Subversities. Through these groups, he combined theater with activism to raise awareness of important community issues.
In discussing his background in both theater and activism, Brisport explains:
They mesh very well, as I have no fear about speaking in front of crowds. I have no fears of getting emotional, and I have no fear of relentlessly pursuing the truth. These are all things that come out of [my] art background. I also think being an actor, with a background in devised theater, makes me a good listener, which is crucial for being an elected official.
It was Bernie Sanders that made Brisport interested in electoral politics and inspired his transition from activist to candidate. He says, “I think Bernie Sanders has been a beacon of light for independent politics (I’m in the Green Party) and those of us to the left of both major parties (I’m a socialist).
Brisport on the Issues
His campaign platform is built upon three main pillars. The first is “ensuring that housing is treated as a human right.” To do this Brisport would like to feature the community land trust model “where local residents can incorporate into a nonprofit and steward the land. I’d like to increase funding for it by working with Albany on a Vacancy Tax and Property Flipping Tax.”
— 🌻Jabari Brisport🌹 (@Jabari2017) October 12, 2017
The second pillar is police reform, in an attempt to make police violence a thing of the past. Brisport explains:
I’m a police abolitionist. I believe it’s a 19th century solution that we still try [to] use on 21st century problems. I’d love to see the transition to a community led crime prevention force, with Civilian Led Policing at the forefront. My campaign advocates some basic next steps, like making the Civilian Review Board elected, not appointed, and bringing participatory budgeting to the NYPD.
— 🌻Jabari Brisport🌹 (@Jabari2017) October 19, 2017
The last pillar, although this intersects with all local policy, is ensuring “income inequality doesn’t split the city in two.” As a member of the city council, Brisport believes “the single-most important duty I have is over land-use within the district, giving me a large say in whether developers continue to turn this city into a playground for the rich.” Another way he seeks to address income inequality is through transportation reform, including ensuring that the poorest residents can still afford public transportation, via a budget initiative known as “Fair Fares.”
Reminder: the net worth of our city's top 10 developers ($40+ billion) could fund NYCHA's needs ($18 billion) twice over.
— 🌻Jabari Brisport🌹 (@Jabari2017) October 7, 2017
Finally, it is no surprise that as a Green Party candidate, Brisport supports the Green New Deal. On the topic of climate change Brisport explained to the Progressive Army:
We’re a landlocked district, so there’s no concern of coastal flooding. But heat waves definitely threaten the poor and the elderly. To fight climate change, I’d like to divest the city from fossil fuels, invest in offshore tidal energy, and drastically reduce methane-emitting food waste.
Endorsements and Further Information
Dreams do come true. We've been endorsed by .@OurRevolution
— 🌻Jabari Brisport🌹 (@Jabari2017) September 21, 2017