- Rehabilitation or Demolition: Which Path for Homewood and Hill District Community Development? - 2013-05-25
- Share your money before you die - 2013-05-23
- Protecting Black Americans’ right to compete - 2013-05-23
- This Week In Black History 5-22-13 - 2013-05-23
- Editorial...Justice served in Philly abortion doctor verdict - 2013-05-23
Created on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 09:20 Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 09:20 Published on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 09:20 Written by Courier Newsroom Hits: 1586
MAYOR DWAN WALKER HARD AT WORK (Photo By Abdul Al-Nakhli)
by Abdul Al-Nakhli
ALIQUIPPA, Pa.—In 2012, change came for Aliquippa. Dwan Walker, 37, became the first African-American mayor of Aliquippa, a post he takes to heart.
He loves his city, fights for his city, and wants to see it thrive. Against a wall inside the council office, the words, “Aliquippa: Founded by Steel, Formed by its people,” are painted, words Walker takes to heart and immediately worked towards rebuilding.
During a recent Council meeting, his passion was full force. During that meeting, he made one point clear. The city of Aliquippa will grow and prosper, and a new chapter in the city’s history will be realized.
“Everybody knows the story of Aliquippa, it’s a story as old as time. It’s the one thing that frustrates me the most; we’re still telling the same story we have for 40 years. We can make it better, we just have to go out there and find it.
“We have to work together to keep the city moving forward. We can’t do anything without the voice of the people,” said Walker, “There is a vision for this city, and it is not to be status quo.”
Aliquippa is now a non-profit entity, able to secure the same state funding directly and become self sufficient. Five new businesses have opened, and a new Code Enforcement Officer was hired, and overall, a change in how the city operates.
During his first year of his term, Walker essentially was baptized by fire. He dealt with everything from a firefighter’s injury, horrid blizzards, a hostile standoff, and budget constriction and staff issues. Dealing with each issue has helped him become a better mayor.
“It was a wake-up call for me, and it made me realize playtime was over, and I had to grow to become a better mayor,” he said. “Aliquippa needs someone who’s ready to fight for them (citizens), and I realized no one did anything for Aliquippa for years. I have to fight for this city to show a future is bright here, and will be bright.”
To build his city, Walker knew he would have to reach out to fellow minded individuals, as well as continue to build the image of Aliquippa. He maintains a close relationship with Philadelphia Mayor Netter, last year took a trip to Nigeria, where he proudly waved Aliquippa’s Flag and handed out T-shirts with Aliquippa to the native people, and also, in a life-changing moment, met President Obama during the President’s re-election campaign.
For current Police Chief Andre Davis, a police officer of 27 years in Aliquippa, working alongside Mayor Walker has ignited a passion throughout the city.
“His (Walker)’s visibility and passion speaks volumes and the city has responded to him immensely,” said Davis, “The Mayor has invoked a plan that will see things become better for the city. The problems Aliquippa has gone through didn’t come over night, and they won’t be solved as quickly, but through Mayor Walker’s diligence, we are making a valiant effort to change.”
The citizens of Aliquippa have responded positively to the new mindset. They feel they have a voice now. They fill the room each Council meeting, share their opinions of how to make the community better, and more importantly, know they can make a change.
For the remainder of his term, Walker will continue to build his city and the agenda he has established.
“I’m working to bring people together. I have an open door policy, anything you need to ask or talk to me about, please come see me. I’m always here working late, trying to get a grant proposal written to try to help better our city. We have come far, but we still have a lot of work to do, and it’s going to take a lot of perseverance to reach them, and I believe we can do it.
“There’s a possibility here now. There’s hope now,” Walker said.
Digital Daily Signup
Sign up now for the New Pittsburgh Courier Digital Daily newsletter!