GLOVERSVILLE – Black Lives Matter activist Lashawn Hawkins announced she was ending her announced campaign for city councilperson-at-large on Tuesday, the last day political independents could file petitions to run for office.
Hawkins said she had collected 93 signatures, more than the 91 needed to run as an independent, but she believes some of her signatures may have come from people who are not registered to vote. She said rather than run the risk of having her independent petition thrown out for not having valid signatures, she decided instead to go back to the drawing board and work harder to register more voters in Gloversville and throughout Fulton County.
“The more people I interacted with, the more I realized — come November — I don’t have, and there aren’t enough, people who support me who are registered,” she said. “They’re not going to the polls in November, so it was like a reality check for me, basically. Being new to politics, and all of this political stuff, I realized ‘Oh, OK, you’re out here trying to get a group of people to vote who aren’t even registered, you need to rewind, step back some, get into your community and get these people registered.’ The people who need to be voting here, aren’t.”
Hawkins rose to prominence last summer after organizing her signature “silent” style of Black Lives Matter protests in Johnstown, Gloversville and other locations, connecting her to many young people throughout the area.
Hawkins’ protest style was praised by local police agencies, and she was invited as a community activist to be part of the local state-mandated police reform planning process. Hawkins has worked with Montgomery County Sheriff Jeff Smith, Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino, Gloversville Police Chief Anthony Clay, Amsterdam Police Chief John Thomas and others.
She announced her candidacy for councilperson-at-large in February, originally intending to run as a member of the Democratic Party, having filed a petition to run as a Democrat after receiving approval to do so by the Fulton County Democratic Committee, but her petition was thrown out by the Fulton County Board of Elections in April because Hawkins was, at that time, a registered independent and had missed the Feb. 14 deadline to change her party affiliation.
Even though she had permission from the Democratic Party to run on their line, her petition falsely stated she was a Democrat, leading the BOE to throw it out.
Hawkins said she has since changed her party affiliation to Democrat, but now she intends to change it back to independent.
Hawkins said she will continue to register voters, and will likely come back again and run for office four years from now.
“I’m going to create a four-year plan,” she said.”