pictured above: Mayoral candidate India Walton (center, 7th from left) surrounded by “sister supporters.” Street Legacy Photos by Darvin Adams
Her candidacy may be historic, but it has not been easy for India Walton since her stunning upset win in the June Democratic Mayoral Primary when she defeated 16-year entrenched incumbent Byron Brown.
Largely ignored during the primary by Brown, the dynamic, young 39-year-old Walton was suddenly thrust into the local and national spotlight after her victory. She also became the target of personal attacks and fear mongering in her opponent’s desperate attempt to discredit her in the wake of his loss, in what continues to be a disgraceful display of desperation.
Yet India has withstood – with a steely resolve- all the disrespect, all the fear mongering, all the lies and dirty politics – that the Brown campaign has been able to muster against her. Indeed, The level of disrespect and fear during this campaign has been unprecedented in this city.
The Women for Walton came together organically, in solidarity and support of India Walton and all she stands for on behalf of strong women everywhere; relating to her struggles as well as her victories in life. And sharing her vision for a safe, healthy, progressive City of Buffalo. The Women for Walton are mothers, grandmothers, everyday workers, unemployed and professionals representing , media, politics, labor, business, education and more – all coalescing around this visionary, young woman’s courageous campaign to make a difference.
The first event as a group was a Women for Walton Luncheon, which provided community members an opportunity to meet India Walton, the endorsed Democratic nominee for Mayor of Buffalo.
During the luncheon everyone was invited to attend a Women for Walton photo shoot, which graces the cover of this week’s’ edition.
Last Friday the Women for Walton held a press conference in front of City Hall to make their outrage known over the false attack ad currently airing on behalf of the Brown Campaign. The ad features officers alleging that Walton would fire 100 police if elected. It has been deemed not valid yet it’s still being aired.
Earlier this week a complaint was filed with the city’s Board of Ethics, saying that it violates a number of rules and regulations by portraying police offices in support of a political candidate.
That very issue was raised at Friday’s Women for Walton press conference by two of the speakers, retired police officer and activist Justin Harris, and former Legislator Betty Jean Grant.
The Walton campaign also strongly objected to what they called a “dishonest attack ad.” The campaign expressed concerns that Brown’s ad, which features active-duty police officers standing on the steps of City Hall, may violate state and federal rules prohibiting the use of public resources for campaign purposes.
“The homicide rate has risen five of the last six years in Byron Brown’s Buffalo,” said Walton. “To distract us from this abject failure, Brown is now lying about my comprehensive public safety program. I’ll say this much: if the FBI had raided my office and my longtime deputy mayor were cooperating in a federal political corruption investigation, I wouldn’t be so cavalier with the truth about law and order in Buffalo.”
Walton’s “Getting Serious About Public Safety” policy agenda is publicly available on her campaign website.
-And Still She Rises-
While the Women for Walton, spoke truth to power as it related to the Brown campaign’s unethical political ad, India was being feted at a Brooklyn Fundraising event hosted by Jumaane Williams, the New York City Public Advocate and attended by progressive democrats. Walton welcomed Williams to Buffalo shortly after her historic win in June.
-Rev. Sharpton Hosts Walton at House of Justice-
Also during her New York visit, renowned civil rights leader and founder and president of the National Action Network Reverend Al Sharpton, hosted India Walton at the National Action Network Rally on Saturday.
Addressing the crowd and online audience, Rev. Sharpton shared parallels between Walton and Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman to be elected to Congress, in her bid to become President in 1972. “Shirley Chisholm had a battle of both racism and misogyny,” said Rev. Sharpton. “At the National Black Political Convention, Shirley Chisholm was running for President; she was not even invited to be at the convention.”
Pointing to Walton, Sharpton continued, “This woman hit the streets in Buffalo. Never was a part of the inner crowd, never was a part of the establishment. She did it the old organizing way. And I’m saying to you all that are watching me in Buffalo, that if she ran a fair race and won the Democratic nomination, don’t let nobody come and finance you against your interests. Now I know her opponent; I ain’t never had a problem with him. But fair is fair, and right is right. And we fought too hard to become like the folks we fought against.”
“You do the best you can in your time and you let the next generation pick up and move on,” Sharpton went on to say. “Nothing worse than people that act like God created the heavens and earth for them, and that everybody’s supposed to serve you… That’s why the Bible says the greatest is the servant. And that’s why some of our leadership becomes obsolete, because they don’t serve nobody.”
“I’m honored to have appeared alongside the Reverend Al Sharpton, who recognizes the importance of community organizers entering political leadership,” said Walton following the event. “I know I stand on the shoulders of giants like Rev. Sharpton, who have spent decades uplifting ‘the least of these.’ Hearing him refer to me and Shirley Chisholm in the same breath was a deeply humbling experience.”
Walton recently rolled out plans for housing in the City of Buffalo. This past Tuesday, in A.D. Price Courts, Willert Park, Ms. Walton discussed the housing-related challenges facing Buffalo residents, and contrasted her approach with that of the current mayoral administration.
In another development she announced the first six experts for her City Hall Advisory Committee. Said Walton: “Should the voters of Buffalo see fit to elect me Mayor on November 2nd, they can rest assured that I will be ready to hit the ground running on Day 1. With accomplished professionals like these at my side, we will begin the hard work of reversing the failure and corruption of the current administration and building the safe, healthy Buffalo we all need and deserve.”
Walton has received support from Erie County Legislator April Baskin, NYS Senator Sean Ryan, NYS Assemblyman Jon D. Rivera, and the majority of the Buffalo School Board. In addition to these elected officials, Walton has the endorsement of the Buffalo Teachers Federation, Workers United Upstate, the Working Families Party, Our City Action Buffalo, and more than a dozen other local and national organizations.
One of her most recent endorsements came from VOCAL-NY Action Fund (VAF). “There’s no better person than India Walton to lead Buffalo into a new era of love, equity, and compassion for all,” said Kim Smith, of VOCAL Action.
Watch the Challenger for more events hosted by Women for Walton.
More information about India Walton, the Democratic nominee for Mayor of Buffalo and sole mayoral candidate on the November 2 General Election ballot, can be found at www.indiawalton.com, Facebook, Twitter at @indiawaltonbflo and Instagram at @indiawaltonforbuffalo.