Teacher Set To Become New York's First Black Gay Senator

A middle school math teacher is on track to become New York's first black openly gay senator, NBC News reported.

Jabari Brisport, 33, is running unopposed in the upcoming November election for a seat in Brooklyn's 25th state Senate District. The Democrat won the primary election by 10,000 votes in June.

He was also endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-V.t.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

“I think it's really inspiring,” Brisport said to NBC News.

Brisport's progressive policies were inspired by his upbringing and background as a New York City public school teacher.

For example, Brisport is a strong advocate for the working class because of his parents' occupations.

"Brisport’s father, who immigrated to the U.S. from the Caribbean, is a sheet metal worker. His mother, a native New Yorker, is an office manager and member of the Communications Workers of America," according to NBC News.

Brisport is also an opponent of charter schools and claims they take funding from public schools in the state and district. He added that charters schools are funded by private companies and nonprofit organizations.

“You can see when there's no soap in the dispensers for students, or they can’t have textbooks, or there’s overcrowding, and none of this is cool,” he said. “I even see it bleeds over into my students’ home life when, you know, my students are shuffling around from place to place because they don't have stable housing of their own.”

Speaking of housing, Brisport also supports tenant protections and affordable housing. Growing up in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, the candidate said he saw firsthand the effects of gentrification in an area.

“It's like a bomb goes off, and all the sudden the neighborhood is completely different,” Brisport said. “All of a sudden, it's like you just see more white people walking down the street, you see stores that you grew up with going to close down, store owners that you grew up knowing having to go back to their home country or having to move because they can't afford the rent. It’s really scary and really alarming, and it makes you want to fight for a world where that isn't driven exclusively by capital and pursuit of wealth, but one that prioritizes communities and puts people first.”

Brisport is probably most known for his advocacy for LGBTQ rights. Before his career in teaching and politics, he was a drama student at Yale and used his skills to drum up support for same-sex marriage in New York. In 2009, he organized efforts to encourage New York lawmakers to pass legislation legalizing same-sex marriage.

The candidate also hired Fainan Lakha, a transgender woman of color, to manage his Senate campaign.

“Maybe she will be the first trans woman of color to run a state senator campaign in New York,” Brisport said. “And that might be something incredible, too.”

Photo: Getty Images

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