Brooklyn public-school teacher Jabari Brisport recently announced that he is running for a seat in the 25th District of the New York State Senate. If elected, the 32-year-old Democratic Socialist says he’ll aim to fight for a myriad of issues such as improvement in education funding, housing, transportation, and animal rights—which he cites as a personal passion. “We need a lot of change and I have to bring in the animals because I’m an animal-rights person and there’s very few of us in political office,” Brisport said. Openly gay and a vegan since college, Brisport says his commitment to a plant-based lifestyle was solidified after being bullied as a freshman in college at New York University. “I was walking arm-in-arm with my Black boyfriend in the West Village and these frat bros were following us just shouting … ‘f*ggot, f*ggot, f*ggot.’ We weren’t letting them get a rise out of us, so we heard a pause and then they just started going ‘n*gger,’” he told Their Turn. “I think anyone who has felt some sort of victimization or felt like they have been ‘othered’ or they had been made to feel ‘less than’ can then empathize when someone else is being victimized, whether that someone is a human-animal or a non-human animal.” In recent years, Brisport has fought for animal rights on the ground in New York City, including participating in a 2016 protest against the opening of a Canada Goose store—a brand synonymous with cruel practices in the fashion industry—in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City. Brisport hopes to ban the sale of fur in the state of New York and end dairy subsidies, an industry he said is “probably even crueler than the beef industry.”

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