One of the biggest slights that people hold against activists, whistle blowers, and watchdogs is that they can often seem perfectly willing to stand aside and criticize others in political leadership without actually doing something to change the system. Well, prominent activist DeRay McKesson is proving this narrative wrong.

McKesson has earned a reputation as one of the more prominent voices in the Black Lives Matter movement. He also cofounded Campaign Zero, an organization that seeks to end police violence. Over recent years, McKesson’s participation in marches and other demonstrations has provoked conversation on social media and drawn attention to the injustices facing Black people. He recently appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to speak about dismantling white privilege. And now, to show that he’s not just another person looking to point out problems with no intention to fix them, McKesson has announced that he’ll officially be running for mayor of his native Baltimore.

The self-described “activist, organizer, former teacher, and district administrator” wrote a public statement via Medium to announce his candidacy on Wednesday evening. He posted the announcement just before making his race official just before the mayoral entry deadline and less than 90 days until the election, according to The Baltimore Sun.

In the essay, McKesson speaks on his upbringing and how watching people work their way back from addiction to full recovery gave him hope that no one’s past should define their future and that there is always a possibility to change for the better.

“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,” said McKesson. “We must demand more from our leaders and local government.”

While admitting that he doesn’t have the same experience or legacies that a lot of his fellow candidates are sure to possess, he made it clear that transparency and accountability are two of the driving forces that behind his campaign.

McKesson has already raised nearly $30,000 overnight through CrowdPac following his announcement.


Photo Credit: