Nominee for city council
Jul 13, 2021
At 23, it looks like Chi Ossé will be New York City Council’s youngest member in the upcoming session.
Which is surprising, considering that he never thought he would be a politician. A self-described Black, queer, college dropout, Osse was working freelance jobs in nightlife when the pandemic hit. By the summer he found himself leading Black Lives Matter demonstrations that took over the borough following the murder of George Floyd. From there, Ossé and several other engaged protestors formed Warriors In The Garden, a social justice collective that organizes peaceful protests and other public programming related to racial injustice. It didn’t take long—on Juneteenth 2020, to be precise—before Ossé announced his candidacy for New York City Council as a representative of District 36.
“From one protest to another I started finding my voice and refining my voice. I took this leap of faith and jumped into the city council race,” Ossé tells Brooklyn magazine. “People get hung up on the fact that they want to help, they have to save the world. The world is too big to save, but what we can do is help someone next door or across the street or in our community. That’s something that Warriors in the Garden tried to do.”
To be sure, Ossé has only officially won the primary. Still, the seat is all but his, given the makeup of the district. And this election is by any measure completely reconfiguring city government—producing huge gains for gender equity and diversity on city council—the Gen Z Ossé represents the future as much he does his district. But it’s also worth noting that he has a proud family history of community engagement: His father, the late Reggie Ossé, also known as Combat Jack, was a trailblazing hip-hop activist, lawyer, journalist and entrepreneur.