Jul 13, 2021
Born in Brooklyn to Costa Rica-born immigrant parents and raised in Prospect Lefferts Gardens affordable housing, Zellnor Myrie reps his home turf. It’s an odd one, District 20. It hooks awkwardly north from Sunset Park through Park Slope and Gowanus, around Prospect Park and into Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts, Crown Heights, Bed-Stuy and Brownsville. But Myrie navigates it as well as he has his inchoate political career.
After earning a masters in urban studies from Fordham and a law degree from Cornell, Myrie went to work for the global law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, where he would rock Jordans and listen to Migos around the office. He would also offer pro bono services to fight police brutality, aid victims of domestic violence and assist asylum seekers—all work that would come in handy as a state senator.
Zyrie left the law firm to run his first race in 2018, handily defeating Jesse Hamilton. In 2019 he scored his first big legislative win in the shape of broad pro-tenant reforms meant to protect nearly half of the city’s renters. Last May he took to the streets to attend protests against police brutality at Barclays Center—where he would be pepper-sprayed in the face and arrested despite having said he and his fellow demonstrators had been trying to comply with police. Last month he and assembly member Diana Richardson became the latest to sue the NYPD for its treatment of them.
Also last this month, Myrie sponsored a package of gun-control bills, including a first-in-the-nation attempt to open firearms manufacturers to liability for some deaths caused by their products. “I’m tired of going to funerals, I’m tired of seeing candles on the block, I’m tired of having to hold a grieving mother, I’m tired of having to look into the eyes of a teenager who’s paralyzed because of a gunshot,” he said at the time the senate passed the reforms.