Alumni of NY | Chi Ossé

Let’s start with being a third-generation Brooklynite. Where did you grow up? 

I grew up in Park Slope. And I moved over to Crown Heights with my family when I was about ten years old. Most of my memories are in Crown Heights, and I always lived in Brooklyn. This borough is the best part of who I am.  

How do you think your Brooklyn roots shape your perspective differently from those of us without such a deep personal, familial history in Brooklyn?

Brooklyn is who I am. Crown Height and Bed Stuy completely captures the essence of what Brooklyn is. My neighborhood has a mix of Caribbean, African, and Black Americans. A lot of great rappers also grew up in my neighborhood including Jay Z and Ol' Dirty Bastard. My surroundings developed my love for culture, fashion, and music. 

It has been said that one does no service to one’s teacher if one always remains a student. You proudly run as a Gen-Z candidate. Was there a moment when you knew that you were ready to run for office? 

I was born ready and I think we all are. However, we constantly have to educate ourselves on the needs of our community and the ways taxpayer dollars are being spent. We must hold our politicians accountable. The best way to do that is to know who they are to conduct the proper research. 

As an activist, there is always a fundamental question: Change the system from within or pressure change from the outside? Why are you pursuing the path of changing the system from within?

We must change the system from the inside and outside because both ways directly impact our communities. It's imperative to change the system from within because we have more power over budgets, policies, and our communities overall. 

What are three books, articles, thought leaders, activists, or groups that have changed your worldview that we should check out?

 The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon

1619 Project by Nikole Hannah - Jones