In the upcoming June Primaries, several state assembly seats will be contested. In Assembly District 57, District Leader Olanike Alabi is running against the incumbent Assemblymember Phara Souffrant Forrest. The district covers Fort Greene and Clinton Hill as well as parts of Bed Stuy, Prospect Heights and Crown Heights.
Alabi has served as district manager of Community Board 2, a 57th Assembly Female District Leader, and has worked with healthcare unions.
In June 2003, Alabi was “illegally terminated” from her district manager position on the community board. She battled it out in the courts, resulting in the city issuing proper guidelines for terminating a community board employee. She also took on a case in housing court against a Brooklyn based property owner charging too much rent and won in 2005.
“Whether it was in my professional life or just being a public community servant, I have been well equipped and well prepared for this moment,” said Alabi.
Her main platform includes a focus on immigrant rights, affordable housing, seniors aging in place, opportunities for children and adolescents, and servicing those who are uninsured or don’t have access to quality health care. Locally, she has sponsored legal clinics, town hall meetings and community forums on public education, housing, public safety, the healthcare system, domestic violence, redistricting, “Stop-and-Frisk,” electoral politics and many other topics.
As far as going up against a Democratic socialist like Forrest, Alabi said that no one party owns an issue. “Anyone has the right to advocate and support an issue or platform that they want,” said Alabi. “This race isn’t so much about leadership position as it is about leadership performance.”
Alabi criticized her opponent for not being on the ground enough or accessible to community members during her term.
Alabi is a native to Clinton Hill in Brooklyn. Her parents are West African immigrants.
“What a beautiful community. It’s a place that taught me some of the greatest lessons in life,” said Alabi about Clinton Hill. “The neighborhood has changed somewhat since I grew up there but there’s still a lot of great people who have been there for many, many years. I’ve also met a lot of new people in this very vibrant, historic community.”
Alabi has been endorsed by clergy leaders, tenant associations, political clubs, and labor unions like DC37 and Alliance of South Asian American Labor.
Ariama C. Long is a Report for America corps member and writes about culture and politics in New York City for The Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/fcszwj8w