Why I Ran

20181107_085002From the bottom of my heart, I’d like to say THANK YOU to everyone who supported my candidacy for Texas State Representative! To my friends who believed enough in my convictions to donate to the campaign, I cannot tell you how much you mean to me. For those who reposted and shared my posts on social media, helped me pass out flyers, or collected signatures with me in this Texas heat, I am forever indebted. To my son, who gave up weekends playing with his toys to knock on doors with his Pop, Daddy promises to make it up to you.

The very existence of human civilization is under threat and I found it my duty to get my crowd engaged in the fight to save it. Ignorance, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, and racism have been leveraged to propel us towards a much warmer planet, where coastal cities will vanish, violent weather will cost us unfathomable sums, and we risk surviving as a species.

I knew I faced an unprecedented, uphill battle when I decided to run for office. Texas ranked dead last nationwide in voter turnout when I filed my paperwork. Of course that was no coincidence; the powers that be have worked hard to make sure citizens don’t vote. People here are more likely to name the Rockets’ starting five, the Texans’ secondary, or the Astros’ lineup, before being able to identify their state rep or senator.

But did I think I could win? I envisioned a scenario where my campaign went viral on social media, sparking record Millennial interest, and organically snowballing into something the media wanted to cover. However, I knew that would require tremendous time, effort, and resources.

As the campaign got underway, I quickly learned campaigning needs to be a candidate’s full time job. Juggling my responsibilities as a parent, an entrepreneur, and a consultant provided limited time to direct a campaign team, raise funds, and connect with constituents. Still, I tried.

Tasked with securing 500 signatures (only from those eligible voters who did not participate in the March primary), I fell a few signatures short. I take full responsibility for underestimating the thousands of people I would have to meet to secure enough signatures for ballot access. Falling short meant my name would not be listed on the ballot as an Independent. In late June I had to decide whether to pay $750 to continue the race as a Write-In candidate. With the odds of victory even more remote, I decided to stay in the race.

I stayed in the race because I considered why great men like Colin Kaepernick and J. Cole didn’t vote in 2016. I considered why W.E.B. DuBois declared “In 1956, I shall not go to the polls.” Malcolm X’s voice ran through my mind, “A ballot is like a bullet. You don’t throw your ballots until you see a target, and if that target is not within your reach, keep your ballot in your pocket.”

Just one candidate on the ballot, this was bigger than me, Demetrius Walker. Of course, with 2018 being the final year straight-party voting is allowed, a Write-In candidate had no shot. But… bringing anybody to the polls to weaponize their ballot was essential. With so much on the line, I had to keep people inspired to participate in the 2018 Midterm.

I believe I was successful. Hundreds of people DM’d me during the campaign to tell me they planned to vote, many of them for the first time. Although a multitude could not vote for me due to residency outside of Texas House District 138, I am proud to have sparked political engagement where there was formerly none.

The far west side of my district has been historically neglected by politicians, who’ve devoted their attention solely to the concerns of Spring Branch. Highway 6 and beyond saw few yard signs from the major party candidates. People were genuinely surprised that I cared about our voices being heard on this side of town.

I enjoyed seeing peoples’ eyes light up when I knocked on their doors and they said “Wow, you’re running for office?!” My response: “Yes, I’m running for office and I’m a regular person just like you.”

So again, thank you to those who were inspired to become politically active in 2018. Thank you for your votes and dedication to making our district, our city, our state, our country, and our world a better place. Obviously, there is still work to do. I hope you will remain inspired to fight for what is right moving forward. Our planet needs you.

Peace,

Demetrius Walker

 

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