It seems like just yesterday I was a 17-year old hanging out in the stoops of a less-gentrified Williamsburg. I was busy doing things my mother did not approve of. I was smoking weed, skipping out on my classes, and generally creating mischief in the streets of Los Sures. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would one day become a public-school teacher. Never did 17-year old Boris think he would serve in government for nearly three years and eventually run for office himself. I have been fortunate to be given the opportunities life has presented me, and never have I taken them for granted.

Just four weeks ago, the race for Assembly District 54 was a four-person field. I never doubted that our campaign was the grassroots campaign to beat, and that we would eventually come out on top. Our campaign has knocked on over seven thousand doors, spoken to hundreds of residents through subway canvasses, raised a cumulative $32,000 with an average donation of $28, and registered nearly 100 voters. We remain the only uncompromised, people-powered campaign fighting against the bought-off incumbent. I am deeply saddened to announce that will no longer be true after today.

I am proud of the hard work that has gone into this campaign. I am extremely proud and grateful to all the donors, supporters, and volunteers that have made this happen. I want you all to know that your support has meant the world to me, and it is your passion and commitment that will keep our movement going.

Sadly, our movement can no longer be fought through this campaign. I will not be continuing this campaign, primarily due to personal reasons. However, I have also been disappointed with my experiences in electoral politics.

Throughout this campaign I have had several experiences that have affected my mental health, including:

  • Elected officials putting political self-interest ahead of the community. This is true of officials at the City Council level, Assembly level, and Congressional level. Our elected officials are political calculators and that has been discouraging as I tried to navigate this race morally.
  • Nonprofits or organizations that serve politicians as much as they serve the community. These nonprofits/organizations often do not listen to the will of their members and make endorsement decisions based on their executives. In other words, they are not democratic.
  • People from outside the community mounting whisper campaigns. I seem to elevate people rather than disparage, and it hurts me when others do not do this.

In the end, electoral politics is a toxic sport. It is one where people are quicker to disparage others than to elevate them — all in an effort to maintain power. Since launching my campaign I’ve wanted to lead with integrity. I wanted to inspire, motivate, be happy, and encourage others to love. Unfortunately, that is something I can no longer do.

I am a flawed person who cares deeply about his community. I am not power hungry. But currently I am broken. My trust in humanity and in people has waned. At this moment I cannot lead in the way that I want to — with pride, gusto, and an abundance of love. To my supporters, including to the organization to which I owe a lot and that I will continue to fight alongside — the Democratic Socialists of America — I am sorry if I have failed you. I will re-evaluate and regroup for future fights, but now, for the sake of staying true to my morals and politics, I must suspend the campaign.

I will be seeking therapy as soon as I can in order to help me regain the pep in my step. I am no longer certain that elected leadership is a path for me in life. However, I do hope to one day help develop elected leaders, and that begins with improving my mental health so I can help mentor others.

P.S. We still need to transform Albany! I encourage everyone to use the time and labor you can to support Zohran Kwame Mamdani, Marcela Mitanyes, Phara Forrest-Souffrant, and Jabari Brisport in their campaigns for the NYS Legislature. I’ll be out there knocking on doors for you all as soon as I can!

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