ITHACA, N.Y.—Local activist and First Ward Common Council candidate Yasmin Rashid has dropped out of the race, becoming the second First Ward candidate to drop out just days before early voting begins.

Rashid’s announcement means the Democratic field will be clear for incumbent Cynthia Brock (though it is unclear if Rashid and Shaniya Foster, who also dropped out Thursday, will still appear on the First Ward ballots). To replace Foster, Solidarity Slate officials intend to name another candidate to run as an independent against Brock—meanwhile, Rashid endorsed Brock in her exit announcement.

“My intention is and will always be to continue to bring equity to the First Ward, setting aside stereotypes to support and uplift both West Hill and South Hills,” Rashid wrote in a statement. “However, years of marginalization and disenfranchisement have left so many residents dismissive and fatalistic about local politics. My focus must be on my community, on West Hill and West Village, for the next few years.”

Rashid’s exit from the race may have been clear earlier this week, when she didn’t participate in a candidates forum that was supposed to provide a platform for discussion of First Ward initiatives. She had risen to prominence during the weekly rallies as part of the Unbroken Promise Initiative leadership with Jordan Clemons, which she will still be involved in going forward.

“Alderperson Brock and I have spent many hours in conversation talking frankly about issues that face this substantial part of the First Ward,” Rashid said. “I believe her to be open and willing to dig into the complex work of being present with issues that can trigger strong emotions. As I exit the race, I believe, at this time, that Alderperson Brock is willing to be more open in regards to issues faced in the West village area in order to bring healing and progress to our community.”

Rashid thanked her supporters as well. Included in the statement, Brock thanked Rashid for the endorsement.

“I’m honored and grateful to receive Yasmin’s endorsement and support, especially around issues, areas and programs that we both feel very passionately about: serving the needs of residents of West Hill, ensuring residents have safe, affordable and well maintained housing; reducing barriers to childcare and job training; and expanding opportunities for homeownership and financial independence,” she said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to have gotten to know Yasmin over the past year and I am incredibly impressed by her passion and integrity. Yasmin is open-minded, engaged, outspoken and deeply committed to making real and meaningful change for her community. She is doing amazing work which I know will continue to grow and flourish in the coming years.”

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Managing Editor at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at