DeRay Mckesson, a Black Lives Matter protester, is running for mayor of Baltimore. Mckesson traveled to protests against police in Ferguson and other cities where unrest and riots broke out in poor urban areas. The 30-year-old community organizer turned in his petition to run for the seat currently occupied by Stephanie Rawlings-Blake just prior to the filing deadline on Wednesday.
DeRay Mckesson went to Ferguson, where rioting broke out after the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in 2014. He was arrested in the same city when he returned to the first anniversary of Brown’s death, MSN reports. He also joined in the Black Lives Matter protests in his hometown of Baltimore after Freddie Gray died in police custody.
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) February 4, 2016
After the Freddie Gray deaths and the riots which followed, the police chief was fired and six law enforcement officers were arrested on various charges related to the death.
Mckesson went to Bowdoin College, an elite school in Maine. He has described himself as the son of two recovered drug addicts. While working with Teach for America, DeRay instructed students in Maryland, Minnesota, and New York. The Baltimore mayoral candidate is also a member of the Campaign Zero team, the Baltimore Sun reports. The team feels there is a police brutality and violence problem in the United States, and works to foster step to correct the alleged misdeeds and misconceptions of law enforcement officers.
Members of the Media Downplaying, Making Excuses for Baltimore Riots – Tea Party News pic.twitter.com/68qLhQObK3
— Summer (@AllIssacOnMe) December 31, 2015
During an interview with the Sun, Mckesson said he will release his political platform later this week. He noted that his plan will include urgings for the internal audits at public schools in the city to be made available to the public.
“We can’t rely on traditional pathways to politics and the traditional politicians who walk those paths if we want transformational change,” the Black Lives Matter protester-turned-mayoral candidate said.
DeRay Mckesson tweeted this after announcing he was running to be the Baltimore mayor.
“I am not the silver bullet for the challenges of our city — no one individual is. But together, with the right ideas, the right passion, the right people, we can take this city in a new direction. In order to achieve the promise of our city and become the Baltimore we know we can become, we must challenge the practices that have not and will not lead to transformation.”
Mckesson boasts about 300,000 Twitter followers. He has stated that the city is run by political connections and money, and cannot be fixed.
Mckesson is just one of multiple Democrats vying for take over after Stephanie Rawlings-Blake leaves office. She chose not to run for another term after the Baltimore riots. DeRay’s opponents in the race include State Senator Catherine E. Pugh, former mayor Sheila Dixon, and city council member Carl Stokes.
Sheila Dixon is currently the frontrunner in the race. When she was asked what she thought about DeRay Mckesson throwing his hat in the ring, Dixon said she had never heard of him. The former mayor also stated that there are only 84 days left in the race, and she is staying focused on her efforts to win back her old seat. Dixon added that all of the candidates want what is best for Baltimore.
Over the course of the past several months, DeRay has met with both White House officials and presidential candidates to discuss the state of civil rights in American. Hillary Clinton reportedly deemed the community organizer as a “social media emperor.”
What do you think about Black Lives Matter protester DeRay Mckesson running for Baltimore mayor?
[Image via AP Photo/Jeff Roberson]