Chi Ossé, a Black Lives Matter activist from Brooklyn, is running for New York City Council. If elected, Ossé would be the openly first queer-identifying person appointed in the 36th district, which represents Bed-Stuy and Brooklyn’s Northern Crown Heights.

“I am an activist, I am an organizer, I’m a third-generation Brooklynite,” the 23-year-old told NBC News. 

Ossé also shared that his campaign was endorsed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) Courage To Change, a political action committee dedicated to uplifting incumbents and change-makers that challenge the status quo.

“I’m running on a three 'R' platform,” Ossé said in VH1’s NYC episode of Growing Up Black. “So it’s reimagination, reinvestment and renewal. But the overall message behind my platform is Black Lives Matter.” 

“And many people see Black Lives Matter only in the sense of police killing Black and brown men and women. It moves further than that, especially in New York City,” he added.


The activist is running to address three main issues under his overall campaign policies: affordable housing, public safety and sanitation issues.

“I’m sick and tired of seeing my neighbors kicked out of this community because of predatory developers that are tied to our government,” he said. “Our current public safety system isn’t working for communities of color...our streets have been littered with trash; rats are festering in the 36th district.”

Ossé also highlighted how local elected officials are responsible for disparities in how communities of color are treated and affected by public policies and emphasized that change begins with leadership. 

“We live in a capitalist society that pushes for the profit of self rather than the profit and well-being of others, and we see that with leadership all across the board,” he said. “I’m trying to reimagine not only public safety, but reimagine what leadership looks like in this city.” 

The 23-year-old also noted that he’s “energetic and ready to get the job done.”

Two years ago, a coalition of LGBTQ+ rights advocates launched “LGBTQ in 2021,” in an effort to promote the elections of LGBTQ+ candidates. Due to term limits, 35 seats are available for the 2021 New York City Council. 

“We want to make sure that we elect lesbians to the City Council, we want to ensure that we elect transgender women to the City Council, we want to ensure we elect LGBT people of color to the City Council,” Speaker Corey Johnson, who is openly gay, said, the Gotham Gazette reported

The group’s goal is to secure City Council seats for a more diverse, and a larger group of LGBTQ+ officials. 

Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY), who is now the first openly gay, Afro-Latino in Congress and represents New York’s 15th district, emphasized that change doesn't happen overnight. 

“Progress doesn’t happen by accident. We have to organize for it, we have to fight for it, we have to recruit candidates, raise funds, knock on doors, and win elections,” he said.

Since June is Pride month, Ossé said all he has to do to celebrate is be authentic.

“I’m celebrating Pride by being myself,” he said to NBC News. “I’m a young, queer, Black Brooklynite running to represent the City Council, that’s Pride in and of itself. I’m happy in my skin.”