Westbrook-Lowery Hopes to Help

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Westbrook-Lowery Hopes to Help

Westbrook-Lowery is a rising junior at Fordham College at Lincoln Center, pursuing a bachelor's degree in political science. (Andrew Beecher/The Observer)

Westbrook-Lowery is a rising junior at Fordham College at Lincoln Center, pursuing a bachelor's degree in political science. (Andrew Beecher/The Observer)

Westbrook-Lowery is a rising junior at Fordham College at Lincoln Center, pursuing a bachelor's degree in political science. (Andrew Beecher/The Observer)

Westbrook-Lowery is a rising junior at Fordham College at Lincoln Center, pursuing a bachelor's degree in political science. (Andrew Beecher/The Observer)

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By GIANNA SMERAGLIA
Asst. Features Editor

Justin Westbrook-Lowery is a familiar face around Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC). A rising junior, he is known for his vast political knowledge and never-ending community work. Walking down from FCLC with Westbrook-Lowery to Sacco’s Pizza on 9th Ave., we discuss the special election taking place in New York City and his excitement as this is the first special election that he gets to vote in. Arriving at the restaurant, we grab a slice, sit down and discuss the already impressive political career of Westbrook-Lowery and what drove him down the path of public service and politics at such a young age.

For Westbrook-Lowery, public service has always been a part of his life, and his interest was piqued at a young age. “My mother is a second-generation trade unionist,” he said. “[She] works hard to make sure that people get their wages and benefits that they need to survive.” His father is a retired social worker who worked for the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene. Westbrook-Lowery’s parents set the example for him, inspiring him to get involved in his community in the Bronx.

When he joined Bronx Community Board 9 at 17, he was the youngest member in the board’s history. He now serves as the Secretary of Bronx Community Board 9 in addition to serving as the vice chair of the Social Services and Housing Committee. Along with being a member of the Veterans Committee, he is a member of the Bylaws Committee, a chairperson of DYCD Bronx Neighborhood Advisory Board 9 and a member of the NYPD 43rd Precinct Community Council.

Westbrook-Lowery was also inspired by his mother at a young age to take an interest in politics. “My mother always used to take [me] to vote,” he said. “When I was old enough, she would let me pull the lever.” In 2004, his interest was sparked again by the presidential election: he recalls a mock vote that was held in his class — which gave him a taste for politics.

However, politics would not become a true passion until late 2007 when he first saw then-Senator Barack Obama on television during the Democratic primary debates. For Westbrook-Lowery, this was a turning point, as he saw that Obama was “a black man, a senator; he looked like me.” Seeing this representation sparked Westbrook-Lowery’s dream to pursue politics. 

As a young, gay black man, Westbrook-Lowery strives to advocate for and serve both the black and LGBTQ communities; he is the Vice President of the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City and a member of the Parkchester NAACP.

It is evident that politics and community service are driving forces in Westbrook-Lowery’s life when you take a look at his extracurriculars. In addition to being extremely involved in the Bronx community, LGBTQ communities and the NAACP, he is the male vice chair of the Young Democrats of America (YDA) Labor Caucus, secretary of the New York State Young Democrats and first vice president of the Bronx Young Democrats — to name a few.

Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in political science, Westbrook-Lowery has high hopes for the future to land a career in public service. His biggest dream is to become a United States senator from New York. “I love the Senate; it’s so fun, it is not quick, fast and in a hurry,” he said. “It is deliberate and thoughtful and that’s something that I have always tried to be. I think that the Senate would be a very good place for me.” While he does not know what the future holds for him, his dream and goal — first and foremost — is to help people.