On Tuesday, prominent Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson made his first appearance as a Democratic candidate in Baltimore’s mayoral race.
McKesson joined 24 other candidates, including Republicans and independents, at a Q&A forum at the Belvedere Hotel, where he shared personal moments of what led him to activism, including the time a Baltimore police officer pointed a gun in his face.
“I love this city. It’s the city where I was born and raised, where I live, where my family lives and where my family is from — and I’ve watched it continue to be a city that isn’t working for people,” Mckesson told the crowd of 300. The 30-year-old former schoolteacher and administrator said his personal experience with social injustice and racial bias made him stop and ask himself how long he was “willing to wait to make a difference.”
“I’m running for the same reason I decided to teach, the same reason I initially went to St. Louis and Ferguson,” he added, referring to his protests in those cities against police brutality. “And it was because I saw something unacceptable and said, ‘I have to do something about it.’”
Mckesson outlined his plan to change Baltimore on his website: DeRayforMayor.com, where he states the issues he will target in order to improve the city.
“You’ll see the platform that I’ve released — just the first three buckets, there are five more buckets to come — but it ranges from homelessness to poverty to work around the environment to arts and culture, because all of those things matter,” Mckesson said in his opening speech at the forum. “You should see yourself in the plans of people who say they can lead this city. At the core, it’s making this city work for people and that’s what I’m running to do.”
As Jet magazine notes, his website “includes a combination of videos and position/policy perspectives in three areas: education and youth development, community prosperity, and safety with more to come.”
Per Huff Post:
He wants to expand full-day, public pre-K in order to enroll every low-income 3- and 4-year-old in the city; create literacy-rich educational environments to support children’s early cognitive development; set up full academic scholarships for low-income graduates of public schools; and promote a “radical transformation” of Baltimore City Community College to improve graduation rates and create a stronger curriculum.
Mckesson calls his platform “aggressively innovative,” which aims to “offer a set of ways to address the challenges we face and also push us to be a city that more and more people want to live and work in and where everyone can thrive.”
He released his wide-ranging platform last week and has raised more than $115,000 in two weeks as a candidate.