Civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson said he waited for a candidate to jump into the Baltimore mayoral election with a plan and vision that he could support. For him, none came. So he decided to run for mayor himself; filing for his candidacy minutes before the deadline on Feb. 3.
“When I think about the traditional pathways to politics and the politicians that follow them; they haven’t led to the transformational outcomes that I think the city deserves,” he said Monday on WYPR’s Midday.
Mckesson, one of the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement, has attracted national attention after he launched his campaign.
When asked how can an activist “who fights the power become the power,” he said “it’s not an either or.”
Mckesson said protests have powerfully pushed the system to “do right by people to be equitable and just.”
“I think there will always be people pushing from the outside; I think that’s a core part of what it means to be in a democracy,” he said. “There will also need to be people organized on the inside to do the changes and implement the equitable and just systems that we know people deserve.”
Mckesson pointed to former Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry and Georgia Congressman John Lewis as examples of activists who transition into traditional political roles.
He released Friday parts of his campaign platform – called “buckets” – that addresses crime, education and youth and economic development; promising more buckets to come soon.