BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Zeneta Everhart, a local advocate and mother of Tops mass shooting survivor Zaire Goodman, will be running for the Masten District seat on the Buffalo Common Council.

Everhart formally announced her intention to run for the seat during a Friday press conference.

“Growing up on the east side of Buffalo, it’s special,” Everhart said. “I want to have an impact on the people who live here. I want to have an impact on my family, on my kid. It’s very, very important for me to see us thrive in this community.”

Running against Everhart will be former Buffalo mayoral candidate India Walton, who revealed her plans to run for the seat just over two weeks ago. Additionally, Beverley Robinson-Smith has also requested the endorsement to run as a Democratic nominee. The Masten District seat is currently held by Ulysees Wingo Sr., but he recently announced he will not be seeking re-election.

If Everhart or Walton were to win the seat, they would be the first woman on the council since 2014.

“I’m not running against anyone, I’m running for Masten,” Everhart said. “I’m excited to see a woman on the council for the first time in how many years … It’s time that we have a woman’s voice on the council, and I hope I’m that woman.”

Her son, Goodman, spoke in support of his mother, as well as her handling of the hardships their family has faced in the past year.

“This year has been one of the hardest years for our family, but just like usual, my mom has held us all together,” Goodman said. “She saw what I needed and she was there for me. She saw what our community needed, and she was there for them. She was the voice that so many people needed that day, and she fought hard to change things in this country … I grew up here in Masten, and she grew up here as well. This is where her heart is. This is where it’s always been.”

Beyond her status as an outspoken advocate for change following the Tops shooting, Everhart also manages the Single Moms Club, an organization that allows mothers to network and make new friends while getting some respite. She also works as the Diversity and Inclusion Director on New York State Senator Tim Kennedy’s staff.

“Zeneta is someone that leads by example,” Kennedy. “She leads with her heart, she leads with her soul and she is someone that has galvanized the community to follow her lead in all that she does.”

Everhart mentioned her own story, saying she dropped out of high school to work full-time before giving birth to Goodman and returning to school to complete her GED and graduate college. She insisted on her desire for change, citing her intention to make sure people have accessible resources, jobs and the ability to get an education within their own community.

“I’m a living testament that things can change,” Everhart said. “Change is possible, and I want to be that example for the community.”

You can watch Everhart’s full announcement press conference below.

Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.