India Walton

In June 2021, India Walton scored a major upset victory over four-term incumbent Byron Brown in the Buffalo NY Democratic mayoral primary. And the recent endorsement of the Erie Country Democratic committee has cemented her as the party’s official candidate as she prepares for the upcoming November election. Her most visible opponent will again be Byron Brown — as he attempts to promote a write-in campaign to retain his current post.

I’ve been lucky enough to photograph India on two separate occasions. The first was before her I’ve been lucky enough to photograph India on two separate occasions. The first was before her mayoral campaign kicked off – when she was serving as the executive director of the Fruit Belt Community Land Trust and working as a NICU Nurse (while also serving as a union rep). I was tasked by Buffalo Spree to photograph India as part of an issue focused on community organizers and influencers.

The second time I got to photograph her (which resulted in the above image) was during the early months of the Pandemic when Spree again featured her — this time in a series of portraits of social justice activists in Buffalo. Soon after this, India announced her intention to run against Brown for mayor and later left her positions in nursing and with the land trust to focus on policy development and campaigning. India’s victory over a candidate who outspent and out-fundraised her and who ultimately refused to debate her made national headlines. My images of her have since appeared in several national publications – including the New York Times. India also got some well-deserved shout-outs from important progressive political figures, including Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who have given India their support.

If she wins in November, India will become a lot of firsts for this city — the first woman mayor, the youngest mayor since the 19th century, and the city’s first Democratic Socialist Mayor (not to mention the first democratic socialist mayor of any major city since the 1960s). She is running unopposed on the ballot – facing only a potential write-in challenge from Brown.

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