Phara Souffrant Forrest

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Phara Souffrant Forrest

"DSA NY state legislature victories"

From Liza Featherstone in Jacobin:

In New York, the organization won five contests for state-level government, reelecting Julia Salazar to State Senate and electing Jabari Brisport to join her, while three more DSA-endorsed candidates (Marcela Mitaynes, Phara Souffrant Forrest, and Zohran Mamdani) head to the state assembly. Two other DSA members, Emily Gallagher and Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, both formidable activists whose races were not endorsed by the organization, also won seats in the assembly. [1]

DSA for the Many slate

A belated congratulations to the socialist sweep known as the DSA for the Many slate: Jabari Brisport, Julia Salazar, Marcela Mitaynes, Phara Souffrant Forrest and Zohran Kwame Mamdani. This is what happens when everyday people — a nurse, a teacher, a tenant organizer, and a housing counselor — get organized and run on socialist values. We’re so excited to see what this group will do to change politics as usual and how they will continue to fight for and with the working class.[2]

AfroSoc

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Phara Souffrant Forrest is a member of Democratic Socialists of America AfroSoc.

Endorsement

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A longtime member of the DSA, state Senate candidate Jabari Brisport received an endorsement from the organization on Sept. 19, along with state Assembly candidates Marcela Mitaynes, Boris Santos and Phara Souffrant Forrest.

Phara Souffrant Forrest, a Haitian-American nurse, was born and raised in the Crown Heights portion of Assembly District 57, which also includes the Brooklyn neighborhoods Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Prospect Heights and parts of Bedford Stuyvesant.

Forrest began organizing with the Crown Heights Tenant Union in 2016, after the building she was living in got converted into a condo. Since then, she has fiercely advocated for tenants’ rights and was even arrested in June during a protest for the Housing Justice for All campaign at the state Capitol. Housing policies are certainly Forrest’s priority but she’s also hoping to make a difference when it comes to health care.

Much like Forrest, Assemblyman Walter Mosley – the incumbent she’s challenging – has been critical of the current rent laws and even told The Real Deal that he was an early supporter of Salazar’s progressive statewide rent regulations. Yet Forrest is looking to push pro-tenant policies even further. “Fundamentally, I don’t think anyone should be paying rent,” Forrest told The Real Deal.[3]

Seeking DSA endorsement

Brooklyn Democratic Socialists of America’s electoral working group recommended four New York State Assembly and Senate candidates for endorsement in a closed meeting Wednesday night. The candidates would present primary challenges in seats currently held by: Velmanette Montgomery in the 25th Senate District (who reportedly may retire); Felix Ortiz in the 51st Assembly District; Erik Martin Dilan in the 54th Assembly District; and Walter Mosley in the 57th Assembly District.

The candidates are Jabari Brisport in the 25th, Marcela Mitaynes in the 51st, Boris Santos in the 54th and Phara Souffrant Forrest in the 57th.

“There are still two more votes before anyone is officially endorsed (local branch and citywide leadership),” Cea Weaver, a member of NYC DSA’s steering committee, told the Brooklyn Eagle. “But the electoral working group recommendations carry a lot of weight.”

Two of the challengers are tenant organizers: Mitaynes with Neighbors Helping Neighbors in Sunset Park, and Forrest with the Crown Heights Tenant Union. Santos recently stepped down from his job as chief of staff to Brooklyn State Sen. Julia Salazar (also a DSA member) to run for office.

Brisport ran unsuccessfully on the Green Party line for Crown Heights Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo’s seat in 2017.

Brisport and Santos are both longtime DSA members, while Mitaynes and Forrest recently joined the organization.[4]

References