LOS ANGELES—Almost one year after the launch of a social media campaign to encourage people to leave the Democratic Party, #WalkAway founder Brandon Straka hosted a town hall targeting black Americans in downtown Los Angeles on May 1.
“It’s really up to us I think to reclaim the narrative, which has been hijacked by the left that anybody’s who’s not a liberal and anyone who’s not a Democrat is a racist, a bigot, a homophobe, a sexist, a monster, and supports the second coming of Hitler,” said Straka at the event.
Actor Isaiah Washington joined the panel discussion at the event, which also included singer Joy Villa, rapper Anomaly, author Angela Stanton-King, radio host Jesse Lee Peterson, and Pasadena mayoral candidate Major Williams. They discussed their own stories of walking away after a screening of the movement’s short film, “The Great Awakening: Breaking the Chains of the Democratic Party.”
The former “Grey’s Anatomy” star said he walked away from the liberal establishment in 1980. But he said he’s always been a little rebellious.
“I like being contrarian,” he said. “I love it. I like going left when everybody wants me to go right, I like going right when everybody’s going left.”
Washington said his political views and verbal support of President Donald Trump have had an impact on his acting work in Hollywood.
“I just was given a wonderful job recently,” he said, “[but] they were concerned about my politics. I wasn’t sure if I was just going to be bought out of my contract and they’d tell me to stay home.”
— Isaiah Washington (@IWashington) May 1, 2019
Washington told Fox Business at the event that he originally decided to join the #WalkAway campaign because Democrats have become “a bit over-the-top, mean spirited, and a bit toxic.”
“I’m not really sure where the animus is coming from,” he told Fox. “Especially when you have someone like myself and Brandon who are only trying to help people.”
Villa said she walked away from the liberal establishment more recently than Washington but just in time to vote for Trump in 2016. She said she didn’t even tell her family she was a Trump supporter until she wore her famous Make America Great Again dress to the 2017 Grammys.
“I said I have to go 100 percent, because once I commit, I commit,” she said during the event. “This man, what he’s saying is truth and he’s fighting for all Americans. And it’s unfair what they say to him and unfair what they say about him.
“If they say that about the president, who’s a billionaire, who they loved just a few short years ago, right, what are they going to say about me? What are they going to say about you? What are they really saying about Americans and the over 65 million people who are Republicans, who did vote for the president?”
Villa said that, fortunately, she has been blessed for her bravery at the Grammys and that her music quickly hit No. 1 on the charts.
While she does experience other hassles because of her views, she said it’s been completely worthwhile.
“Every time I step out, every time I tweet, I do get death threats. That’s the reality,” she said. “But the freedom I feel is unreal. I would never go back to being closeted anything. You’re never free if you’re holding yourself back.”
Straka said more events will come up soon, including the anniversary of the #WalkAway campaign at Trump International Hotel in Washington from May 17 to 19.
The hairdresser and actor from New York City emphasized that the events were not only for people planning to abandon the liberal ideology.
“I don’t want to do an echo chamber,” he said at the event. “I want to actually engage in open dialogue. I want to hear from Democrats and liberals, and I want to have a conversation and have a chance to say our piece and listen to people say their piece and have an open and respectful dialogue, because I think that’s really missing in America right now.”