— Luke Broadwater (@lukebroadwater) February 4, 2016
Deray McKesson, a highly-visible and well-known Black Lives Matter activist, announced late Wednesday evening that he will run for mayor of Baltimore. McKesson, 30, is a native of the city and surprised many with his last minute announcement. He turned his paperwork into the city’s Board of Elections office with only minutes to spare before the 9 p.m. Wednesday deadline.
McKesson posted his announcement later that evening on the site Medium, where he expressed his gratitude, understanding and passion for the city.
“I love Baltimore. This city has made me the man that I am,” he wrote.
McKesson explained in an honest and heartfelt open letter why he made the decision to join the race for mayor. Like so many other Baltimore residents who cherish their historic city, McKesson has also witnessed the bittersweet highs and lows of Baltimore, highlighting the city’s prominent issues with violence and addiction.
In his Medium post he said, “I also understand that transparency is a core pillar of government integrity. We deserve to know where our city services – from housing and sanitation, to schools and police – are doing well and falling short. To this end, we must invest in a broad range of systems and structures of accountability and transparency, including the release of the internal audits of the Baltimore City Public School System along with annual and timely audits of all city agencies.”
McKesson rose to prominence in 2014 during the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, that followed the killing of unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown. McKesson covered the events that took place in Ferguson, many times showing the perspectives of protesters where mainstream media fell short. From then, he continued his activism, travelling from city to city to cover high-profile police shootings of unarmed black people.
McKesson, running as a Democrat, joins a stacked list of 28 other contenders, which include former mayor Sheila Dixon, who resigned in 2009, and Nick Mosby, husband of well-known Baltimore state attorney Marilyn Mosby.
Baltimore voters will head to the polls on April 26 to determine who will be the Democratic candidate for the general mayoral race, giving McKesson 81 days to campaign and raise support, not to mention funds. The activist and former educator is already off to a good start with several endorsements and numerous donations. Given that Baltimore is a majorly Democratic city, the primary is expected to be telling of who the city’s next mayor will be.