Election result won't deter local activists

Nov 4, 2020

For two local activists, the results of Tuesday’s Presidential Election has little bearing on the social justice work they continue to do in Western New York. With an eye towards next year’s local races, they see political hope with an emerging party.

India Walton speaks at a rally in North Buffalo in September.
Credit Thomas O'Neil-White

India Walton felt neither Democrat Joe Biden nor his Republican counterpart, President Donald Trump, had anything in the way of policy to offer her.

“As a Black woman,” she said. “I don’t know if the results of this particular election impact me that much one way or the other.”

For Walton and other activists trying to improve the lives of the underserved in Western New York through social justice work, the General Election doesn’t mean as much as state and local races. Walton advises progressive voters not to take their eyes off local races for next year.

“While everyone is excited and engaged, and wants to do more,” she said. “We have to continue and keep these conversations going all year long, and not just when it’s time for a General or Presidential Election.”

Police Advisory Board member De’Jon Hall said he sees potential in getting progressive reforms passed with the Working Families Party, which has made significant political gains in New York State this election.

“Hopefully, at the result of tonight’s elections we’ll see greater emphasis on addressing some of the more challenging things in the state,” he said. “Such as canceling rent and mortgages, legalizing marijuana. Some of these old fights that activists have been raising for a long time and we haven’t seen much movement on. So, I’m deeply encouraged by that.”

Both Walton and Hall said newer faces in local and state government can help push a very moderate Democratic New York towards a state that reflects the values of the growing progressive voting bloc.