In the May 26th issue, we published information on the two candidates for Assembly District 57, a list of accomplishment for incumbent Phara Souffrant Forrest, and the background of challenger Olanike Alabi. Candidate Alabi brought to our attention that we should have listed her accomplishments as well. Below is Ms. Forrest’s background and Ms. Alabi’s accomplishments.
Phara Souffrant Forrest
Phara Souffrant Forrest is serving her first term in the New York State Assembly representing the 57th Assembly District, which consists of the neighborhoods of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill as well as parts of Bed Stuy, Prospect Heights and Crown Heights.
As a lifelong Brooklynite, Phara is a proud product of Brooklyn’s public school system, attending both Phillipa Schuyler Middle School and Benjamin Banneker Academy for Community Development. She then went on to attend SUNY Geneseo where she majored in political science before moving on to obtain a nursing degree at CUNY City Tech. Before being elected to the Assembly, Phara worked for several years as a maternal child health field nurse, where she would care for new mothers after they gave birth.
In addition to her work as a nurse, Phara is president of her building’s tenant association and has been an active member of the Crown Heights Tenant Union. Phara credits her run for the Assembly to her work in tenant organizing and her work to help pressure the state Legislature to pass the Housing Stability & Tenant Protection Act of 2019. As part of her work, Phara participated in a demonstration at the Capitol, where she was arrested fighting for her fellow tenants. Phara credits this moment with inspiring her to run for the Assembly and stand up for tenants just like her across the state.
- Olanike 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.
- Established “News – Events – Updates”, a widely dispersed weekly
- Convened Annual Community Food Drives in support of local food pantries
- Created a process to ensure the appointment of individuals to staff polling sites who were capable and committed to ensuring democracy especially in light of the enactment of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).
- Was elected to serve as a pledged delegate at the 2008 and 2012 Democratic National Conventions in support of the Honorable Barack Obama.
- Served as an independent voice as it relates to rules, procedures, local issues and the selection of candidates for judicial and public office.
- Worked with clergy, elected officials and community leaders to resolve constituent complaints
- Hosted a major community fundraiser in support of a local school in financial distress
- Sponsored toy drives for children in our community.