This month, public school teacher, vegan activist, and politician Jabari Brisport made history when he was elected as the first openly gay member of the New York State Senate. Brisport will represent the 25th District, which encompases the eastern and north-central parts of Brooklyn, where 47 percent of constituents are Black. The 33-year-old Democratic Socialist supports social-justice issues such as defunding the police, reforming the prison system, making housing more affordable and accessible, fighting for universal healthcare, and creating a progressive future for the working class. Brisport ran unopposed for the senate seat after beating opponent Tremaine Wright by more than 10,000 votes during the Democratic primary election in July. 

“At a time when movements to end racism, police brutality, and disparities in healthcare are awakening the nation, Jabari’s groundbreaking victory ensures there is a legislator in Albany who can turn protests into policy,” Mayor Annise Parker, the president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, said. “His experiences as a Black LGBTQ man will provide an essential perspective that has never been represented in the New York state legislature and will pave the way for a government that is more representative of the people it serves. Jabari shattered a rainbow ceiling in New York and his victory will encourage more people like him to step up and run.”

After facing homophobia and racial descrimination in college, Brisport adopted a vegan lifestyle to fight all forms of oppression and intends to use his platform as a newly elected state senator to advocate for justice across the board. “As a vegan and animal-rights advocate for many years, I believe that all living creatures are deserving of certain rights, dignity, and protection by the law,” Brisport said on his campaign website. “For too long, we have allowed big animal agriculture companies to profit by the abuse, exploitation, and commodification of animals. We can create a state where human beings and animals safely coexist without exploitation and abuse. To do this we must institute legislation that establishes legal rights, safety, and protections for wildlife, farm animals, and domestic animals.”

During his campaign, Brisport gained endorsements from a variety of like-minded organizations and politicians, including Voters for Animal Rights and congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

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