Acknowledging 2020 as a pivotal election year, Tisch Drama alumni are getting involved in the political process in a variety of ways, from running for elected office to organizing political action groups to volunteering for campaigns. In this month’s Alumni Spotlight, we highlight several artists who are participating in our democracy and making their voices heard.
Z (Zach) Infante (‘13) is running for Education Board in their hometown of Roselle Park, NJ. Though a professional actor since they were a child, Infante always considered running for elected office. After attending a Black Lives Matter rally at their alma mater, and hearing high schoolers speak about the racism and prejudice within the school system, they realized the time to run was now. “I want to be an example for all queer and BIPOC people,” Infante said, “to show they too can make a difference in their communities.” Infante credits Tisch Drama for introducing them to a community of supportive, queer, and BIPOC artists, who they still lean on to this day.
Nikita Chaudhry (‘15) is an actor and activist based in Los Angeles. Alongside a successful performance career, she consults with social justice organizations, most notably having partnered with the Women's March National team for the Women's Convention in Detroit in 2017, and currently campaigning with Nithya Raman for LA City Council and Chalo Vote. “Artists are culture creators,” Chaudhry said, “And culture determines and influences politics. We have such power as actors to navigate the ways certain communities are represented, and it is up to us to utilize those gifts to uplift those stories yet to be told.” Recently, Chaudhry was featured on Tisch’s “Creative Disruptors” panel.
Jabari Brisport (‘09), a third-generation Caribbean American from Prospect Heights, is running for New York State Senate District 25, an area of Brooklyn which represents Red Hook, Fort Greene, and Boerum Hill. A public school teacher and progressive activist, Brisport is running to, “fight for his community in Albany,” and create “ a transparent and responsive government that serves all people.”
Dimitri Moise (‘14), a Broadway actor and HIV advocate, is using his activism this fall to co-organize “Broadway for Biden,” a community of industry professionals and theatre enthusiasts working to elect Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden, while driving voter registration and other advocacy initiatives.
Emily Sally Barica (‘20) is phone-banking for Jackie Gordon, a candidate for U.S. Representative from New York’s 2nd District. Barcia volunteered because she was unhappy with her current representative and saw an opportunity to take her home district in a new direction. She credits her acting training for preparing her to phone-bank effectively: “Learning to speak clearly and with purpose has helped a lot while talking to people who don’t want to listen to someone talking about politics.”
Tisch Drama not only fosters the next generation of performing artists, but the next generation of American leaders as well. For current Tisch Drama students looking to get involved in politics and activism, Infante offers the following advice; “Know that (students’) creative abilities can be the bedrock of their platform... the experience they’re able to have at Tisch is invaluable and has prepared them to think innovatively. I’d tell them to lean on their colleagues when times get tough and to use their creativity to inspire others… bring music, art, and their hearts.”
Students can also participate by voting. For more information on how to vote go to: https://www.nyu.edu/students/student-information-and-resources/nyu-votes.html