Catching up with India Walton
Photo by luke copping
INTERVIEW BY ELIZABETH LICATA
(originally interviewed 12/19)
We talked to you last fall, but we’re in a whole new world now. What’s it like for you?
I am completely exhausted. The work that I do with the Fruit Belt Community Land Trust has to do with affordable housing, but people look to us for other needs. When COVID came, people needed help with food. During a pandemic, folks need lean protein and vegetables, not canned food and processed food. We raised $6,000 in contributions to provide chicken, eggs, milk, cheese, and fresh produce to people in the neighborhood and beyond. We made our last delivery June 13.
What are the new needs?
Now that the economy is reopening, we need to refocus on housing priorities. With the opening, we will see an increase in evictions and displacement. We need to take care of our folks into the next crisis or even prevent it.
COVID was horrible for our community because people were in communal, unhealthy living conditions. We have an eye to building an infrastructure where people can heal.
How have you pivoted to take a role in the Black Lives Matter movement and protest?
My organization is politically neutral, but, as a black woman, mother of brown boys, a nurse, and someone who has experienced injustice firsthand, I have a duty to act. I fielded multiple calls from other leaders and from young people asking what they should do. I could not be silent. I have found a healthy balance between being on the streets and helping to support younger leaders with my knowledge and helping them get resources.