The Political Stage
Jabari Brisport ’14, who studied Acting at Yale School of Drama, is running for State Senate in New York’s 25th District.
The line between performance and politics is an easy one to blur—especially these days with a reality television star in the White House—but Jabari Brisport’s ’14 State Senate bid proves that the combination of the two elements can produce a powerful force for social change. Jabari, a public-school teacher, secured the Democratic nomination and is running for office in New York’s 25th District. And, considering that his campaign has already garnered endorsements from Senator Bernie Sanders and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, it seems his message is resonating with people in New York and beyond.
When asked about the transition from soliloquy to stump speech, Jabari said the following, “My favorite times on stage were always when I was making a strong political statement. I’ll never forget the time I was able to devise a piece for the Yale Cabaret called Derivatives, about income inequality. I view my acting training at YSD, grounded in listening, empathizing, and collaborating, as part of my preparation for this chapter in my life. Artists are changemakers, and I’m excited to make change in Albany."
Throughout his life, Jabari has seen rampant capitalism make life harder for his community, with the real estate industry carving up affordable housing, accelerating gentrification, and displacing family-owned businesses. Says Jabari, “The forces behind these conditions are extraordinarily powerful, but our campaign was born out of a movement of working-class solidarity that is growing in size and strength every day. I’m awestruck by the support we’ve received from volunteers and voters, and I cannot wait to hit the ground running in Albany alongside this movement.”
Jabari Brisport ’14