Can a Longtime Syracuse Activist Transition to Elective Office? 19 African American Religious Leaders Endorse Walt Dixie for Councilor-At-Large

It was an early Spring Day, June 2nd in the parking lot of Price Rite Marketplace where local political activist Walt Dixie placed himself in contention for Councilor-At-Large on the Syracuse Common Council. Unlike district representatives the Councilor-At-Large position is representing the entire city.

This election year is of particular interest as there are several people in competition for the Syracuse Common Council. An unprecedented number of African Americans are running for political office.

“We are here today as faith leaders to put our support behind our candidate for the Common Council position which is going to be Walt Dixie” – Pastor Derrick Galloway, Connect to Christian Church

Galloway continues, “One of the reasons why we’re here is because this particular candidate put together the necessary steps in order for our community to be better. We are standing in the parking lot of Price Rite which was in response to his vision to remove to title of “food desert” from this part of town, when a large grocery store had departed from this area. We’re also working to bring back community opportunities such as the National Urban League which left of community over 20 years ago we’re working to bring that back so that our youth that are in our community will have something to hold on to, will have something that can actually put them forward and help them get to the next level of life.”

Dixie then takes the microphone and says, “I’m a child of the IMA and the birth of Time of Jubilee and the development of Jubilee Homes. I am quite aware of my responsibility in this community.  From the leadership of Rev. Howard, Rev. Carter, Rev. Reid in particular; and my good friend Pastor Stephens who has always been an anchor for me and my community. I’m not a person that asks for people to do something for me, I’m always doing for others. We have 19 ministers that have endorsed this campaign. I’m appreciative of that, but not only do I need their blessings, I need their voices to reach out to this community. We need a spiritual awakening in this community, we can’t do it without God in your life. We hear about the mental health issues; we hear of women struggling. We gotta have faith in ourselves and faith in the Lord. That’s why this endorsement is really important to me.”

“At the end of the day I know how to do this work. We gotta get to a place where how we eradicate poverty, it’s all in our head. Government can be a partner, but it’s the message we give to a community to get them to transform their lives.”

Ending his announcement Dixie reminds those gathered “I’m excited and grateful for the support and I want you to support Twiggy Billue for the School Board.”

  • Rev. DeCarto Draper Jr.
  • Rev. Bryant Gerald
  • Rev. Nebraski Carter
  • Elder Kenneth Reid
  • Rev. Johnathan Stephens
  • Rev. Joe Burton
  • Rev. Daren Jaime
  • Pastor Eric Eure
  • Bishop H. Bernard Alex
  • Rev. Steve Walker
  • Rev. Brian Seymour
  • Rev. James Patillar
  • Rev. Lateef Johnson-Kinsey
  • Rev. Jimmy Smiley
  • Pastor Derrick Galloway
  • Pastor Cyrus Thornton
  • Rev. Maxwell Jones
  • Rev. Frank Bostick
  • Rev. Carl Washington

After an introduction, several pastors gathered made brief statements in support of Walt Dixie for the Syracuse Common Council, Councilor-At-Large position.  Several Reverend’s noted that Dixie has done the work. At the end of the presentation Dixie took to the microphone to announce the transformation of the old B & B Bar into a Seafood restaurant. A 60-unit market rate apartment complex is being proposed for the South Ave. corridor.

After decades of working to empower others through Time of Jubilee, Alliance Network, National Action Network, and the initiative to bring Price Rite Marketplace to South Ave. Dixie has stepped out as a candidate on his own.

The support of the Syracuse area clergy is rare, as most religious leaders in local churches stay out of politics. However, this is a different time. Dixie has managed to get the attention, not only of the people used to being led by chants of, “No justice, No Peace”; he’s got the attention of the Syracuse Black community. Now, all that’s left is the voting.