With profound sorrow, I announce the passing of community activist and my dear friend, Ina J. Ferguson. Ms. Ina had a deep passion for caring for her “community babies,” being a god-mom, mentoring, and being an educational advocate, leaving an indelible mark on Buffalo Public Schools at every level. Her dedication manifested in pivotal initiatives such as reforming the Buffalo Public Schools code of conduct, tirelessly advocating to prevent the unjust suspension of Black and brown children for non-violent offenses and championing the implementation of restorative justice in the classroom.
A steadfast labor leader and environmentalist, Ms. Ina worked to elect candidates that would fight for her babies. She lent her unwavering support to Open Buffalo, contributing to numerous training sessions and volunteering across the organization. Her commitment extended to the envisioned Open Buffalo Ecology Center, with her traveling to Detroit this August to research brownfield cleanups. The loss of Ms. Ina is a profound one for Western New York, as we bid farewell to an extraordinary community advocate and organizer.
Personally, I mourn the departure of a beloved friend, recognizing that her laugh and fierce advocacy can never be replaced. Although there is only one Ina, my fervent hope is that we can honor her memory by continuing the important work she passionately pursued, safeguarding our community's well-being.
Services to celebrate Ms. Ina's life will be held at True Bethel on Saturday, November 18. The wake will commence at 10:00 am, followed by the funeral at 11:00 am. As 1199SEIU held a special place in her heart as her "favorite and only union," participants are asked to wear purple in tribute to her during the services. While her physical presence may be gone, Ina will forever reside in our hearts, her advocacy echoing through the years, benefiting our community for generations to come.
Peace and love, Ina. Your legacy will endure, and you will always be cherished in our hearts.