News and Commentary

Actor Isaiah Washington To Join #WalkAway Town Hall In Los Angeles

On May 1, actor Isaiah Washington will join Brandon Straka at #WalkAway’s very first Los Angeles town hall. In March and April, Straka hosted two separate town hall events in the Manhattan borough of New York City. The Daily Wire covered both events, which you can read about here and here.

Washington will sit on a panel alongside Joy Villa, Jesse Lee Peterson, Angela King, and Major Williams at the event, which will be focused on the African American community and minorities more broadly.

As The Daily Wire previously reported:

For anyone unfamiliar with the campaign, #WalkAway was started by openly gay New York-based hairstylist Brandon Straka in May of 2018. After a lifetime of voting for Democratic politicians, including Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election, 42-year-old Straka began to feel increasingly uneasy about his political affiliation. This unease led to intensive research over the course of several months, after which Straka walked away from the Democratic Party.

On May 26, 2018, Straka released a video on social media detailing his #WalkAway experience, and asked others to join him. Over the course of the last eleven months, the campaign has grown, with thousands of videos and written testimonials popping up across YouTube and other social media platforms, says Straka.

On Tuesday, I spoke with Washington about his own experience walking away from toxic ideas and politics. Washington first talked about his “walk away” moment, which was inspired, at least in part, by a friend:

A colleague of mine who was very instrumental in my work in Sierra Leone, whose judgement I trust, she was a staunch Democrat in her family. She’s a first-generation immigrant herself and a staunch supporter of the Democratic Party, as was I as of three years ago. She actually sent me the hashtag. I’m now with the Green Party and the Green Party was officially my protest vote because at the time, I guess, as old as I am, I just grew tired of the nastiness that was happening with the last election, and that we just couldn’t get past that to actually start talking about policy, and what we are going to do for America. I walked away knowing full well that Jill Stein wasn’t going to win, but I made my point, you know?

Going further, Washington noted that part of the reason he supports the #WalkAway movement is because it has allowed people to step out from under the shadow of their biases, and speak with one another:

I joined #WalkAway to support those who are just doing everything they can to stand on their own and say, “I don’t think this way.” I’m not trying to play that political game.

Yeah, I may have biases, I may not understand, but I’m willing to have a dialogue.

I’m not saying I’m leaving the Green Party and walking away to the Republican Party, but you know what? Just like Brandon and I, and everyone else, I’m willing to have a town hall and I’m willing to have a dialogue that is not filled with nonsense that I think all of us are tired of, and even more tired of being used and exploited to pit our differences against one another.

Although Washington touched on numerous topics during our interview, something that really stood out was his willingness to appreciate President Trump’s role in the “First Step Act,” as well as his mentioning a moment when the president took the time to recognize the formerly incarcerated:

I have to remain authentic and salute Trump for what I saw in the East Room that day, when he stepped away from the TelePrompTer and didn’t use the formerly incarcerated people that were lined up behind him as mere effigies, as mere statues of humanity, voiceless.

I was blown away, I think, at the moment he decided to look over his shoulder, break rank, break from the TelePrompTer, and allow these human beings to have and share his platform after everything I thought I knew about this man. It was at that point that I felt okay to give him a thumbs up because there was something that I personally saw, it was something that I personally felt, and there was something that I could compare personally to the first conversation I had with Senator Barack Obama and the promises and the assurances that he made to me about bridging the gap in Africa, which is exactly what I did based on his recommendation.

Speaking again of the upcoming #WalkAway town hall, Washington told me what he hopes to accomplish on Wednesday, and what the movement is trying to achieve:

We all came here on different boats, but we’re all in the same boat now.

We haven’t heard that for a long time, but it is true, so we’ve got to figure this thing out and we got to figure it out quickly. We’ve got a lot of people that are still wounded. People need clarity, and amplification, and hopefully on May 1st, here in LA, sitting next to all the other panelists, I can help try to shine some light on why people walk away, which is not only important politically, but important emotionally.

That’s what #WalkAway, I’m hoping, is attempting to do. If you’re interested in the facts, and you’re interested in the truth, and you’re interested in making up your own mind on how you want to move forward, and demand that now is the time for politicians to be made accountable.

Looking forward, Washington also talked about the 2020 election:

I think this election is probably, you know, the most crucial. People are tired of negative narratives and tired of being pitted against one another and tired of being used for their differences. For the most part, we just want to be left alone.

The #WalkAway town hall featuring Isaiah Washington takes place Wednesday in Los Angeles. For more information, visit the official #WalkAway website here.

The Daily Wire would like to thank Mr. Washington for speaking with us about his involvement with the #WalkAway event.