India Walton’s Campaign Will Inspire Countless Young  Black Women and Others to Make a Difference

 By Senator Sean M. Ryan

Running for public office is often a leap of faith. It is an energizing, inspiring, and sometimes disappointing experience. At the heart of it all is the desire to do good things and improve people’s lives. Few people expected India Walton to be the Democratic nominee for Mayor of Buffalo this year. But she put in the hard work, took nothing for granted, and won a surprising primary victory.

She waged a formidable campaign as the Democratic nominee for Mayor by focusing on the issues people cared about. She inspired a movement in Western New York that brought a national spotlight to the many challenges faced by working-class Buffalonians. We may not have agreed on every issue, but her focus on eradicating the scourges of lead poisoning and child poverty – and investing in the neighborhoods of our city – resonated with me and many others.

The hostility and vitriol that India faced throughout her campaign was disheartening. A platform built on big ideas for lasting change was often met with personal attacks instead of rebuttals and counter-proposals. I applaud her for avoiding the temptation to take part in the mudslinging that we saw from many of her detractors and instead keeping the interests of the people of Buffalo at the forefront of every conversation.

While the outcome of the election is not what I had hoped for, I remain impressed by India’s issues-based campaign and her willingness to put herself before the public and take that leap of faith. Because of this campaign, there are countless young Black women and many others who will be inspired to make a difference in their communities.

(illustration of India Walton by local buffalo artist Danielle Saeva )