Nikuyah Walker

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Nikuyah Walker
Mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia
Assumed office
January 4, 2018
Preceded byMichael Signer
Personal details
Political partyIndependent
Alma materVirginia Commonwealth University (B.A.)
ProfessionCivil servant, activist

Nikuyah Walker is the mayor of Charlottesville, VA. She became the city's first black female mayor in November 2017 after being elected to the Charlottesville City Council.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Walker was born and raised in Charlottesville.[1] She graduated from Charlottesville High School in 1998 and received her bachelor's degree in Political Science from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2004.[1] She has three children and is a previous resident of Friendship Court, a low-income housing development in Charlottesville.


In 2004, Walker worked with AIDS Services Group (ASG) in Charlottesville.[2] She later worked for Region Ten, a mental health services organization in the area.[3] In 2016, she fought against an attempt by Jason Kessler to oust council member Wes Bellamy after Kessler uncovered controversial tweets made by Bellamy.[4] She worked for the City of Charlottesville as a parks and recreation aide.[5]

2017 City Council Campaign[edit]

Walker began her campaign in March 2017, running for one of two open City Council seats as an Independent under the slogan "Unmasking the Illusion," in reference to the history of racism in Charlottesville.[6] She ran with little expectation of success, hoping to add her voice to debates, but after the Unite the Right rally in August, her campaign gained more traction.[6] Walker publicly pressured the City Council and then-mayor Michael Signer to answer questions about why a permit had been issued for the rally, and why the City Council was not addressing issues raised by the event.[7] On election day, Walker and Heather Hill were selected by voters to join the City Council, winning 29% and 28% of the vote respectively.[8]

Walker was the first Independent candidate to be elected to the City Council since the 1940s.[7] Soon after the election she was selected as mayor by her fellow councilors, as is the procedure in Charlottesville. Walker's leadership style is fundamentally disruptive, and her goal is to question the established progressive leadership that has set Charlottesville's government agenda for some time[6] and to enact sweeping changes that she believes are necessary to correct the inequities in the city.[5] One of her major goals is to increase affordable housing in the city.[5]

As mayor, Walker has become a national and international representative of Charlottesville, having been interviewed by a number of major outlets about the Unite the Right rally and related issues that have put Charlottesville under a spotlight.[9] With other Charlottesville residents, Walker participated in a pilgrimage to The National Memorial for Peace and Justice to honor the memory of John Henry James, who was lynched just outside Charlottesville in 1898.[5]


  1. ^ a b c "Nikuyah Walker, Mayor | City of Charlottesville". Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  2. ^ "Testing, testing: HIV check easy as 1, 2, 3". Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  3. ^ "War on drugs: When the options for addicts aren't enough". C-VILLE Weekly. 2016-07-20. Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  4. ^ SUAREZ, CHRIS. "Bellamy resigns from state education board under pressure over tweets". The Daily Progress. Retrieved 2020-01-28.
  5. ^ a b c d Stockman, Farah (2018-07-21). "Year After White Nationalist Rally, Charlottesville Is in Tug of War Over Its Soul". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  6. ^ a b c Beckett, Lois (2018-08-07). "Charlottesville's first black female mayor: 'We're not a post-racial nation'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  7. ^ a b Lim, Clarissa-Jan. "Charlottesville Has Elected A Black Woman As Mayor For The First Time Ever". Bustle. Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  8. ^ Freedman, Emmy. "Hill, Walker Win 2 Charlottesville City Council Seats". Retrieved 2018-12-08.
  9. ^ August 12, CBS News; 2018; Am, 11:05. "Transcript: Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker on "Face the Nation," August 12, 2018". Retrieved 2018-12-08.