On Wednesday night, Black Lives Matter and Campaign Zero activist DeRay Mckesson filed the necessary papers to run in the upcoming Baltimore mayoral race, the Baltimore Sun reports. There are currently 28 people running for mayor in the city.
In a statement, Mckesson, a 30-year-old former administrator with the Minneapolis Public Schools, said that if Baltimore wants to achieve its “promise and possibility...we cannot rely on traditional pathways to politics and the traditional politicians who walk that path. We have to challenge the practices that have not and will not lead to transformation.” He will run as a Democrat.
Mr. Mckesson’s supporters herald him for helping to shed light on national issues of police abuse and misconduct. His detractors, however, tag him as an antipolice anarchist whose rhetoric helped foster spasms of protest violence in cities across the country where blacks have died at the hands of law enforcement. Mr. Mckesson also has critics in the movement, who argue that he is too cozy with the establishment (he has met with both Senator Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton as well as Valerie Jarrett, one of President Obama’s top advisers) and too much of a celebrity. (He is one of 10 people whom Beyoncé follows on Twitter.)
Some also argue that Mr. Mckesson’s proposals do not go far enough to effect systemic change. Along with fellow activists, Mr. Mckesson last year started Campaign Zero, a 10-point platform to combat police violence that promotes things like body cameras and civilian review boards.
According to the Sun, there are 13 other Democrats currently running for mayor in Baltimore: former Mayor Sheila Dixon; State Senator Catherine Pugh; City Councilmen Carl Stokes and Nick Mosby; lawyer Elizabeth Embry; businessman David Warnock; engineer Calvin Allen Young III; former bank manager Patrick Gutierrez; Baltimore police Sergeant Gersham Cupid; author Mack Clifton; former UPS manager Cindy Walsh; and nurse Wilton Wilson.
Update – 9:47 pm