DeRay Mckesson (born July 9, 1985) is an American civil rights activist and former school administrator. Mckesson is a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement and is known for his activism via social media outlets such as Twitter and Instagram and has been active in the protests in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland. Mckesson has also written for The Huffington Post and The Guardian. Along with Johnetta Elzie, Brittany Packnett, and Samuel Sinyangwe, Mckesson launched Campaign Zero, a policy platform to end police violence. He currently hosts the Crooked Media podcast Pod Save the People.
Mckesson in 2017
July 9, 1985 |
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
|Alma mater||Bowdoin College|
|Awards||Peter Jennings Award|
Early life, education, and careerEdit
Mckesson was an organizer in Baltimore City as a teenager, notably as the Chairman of Youth As Resources, Baltimore’s youth-led grant-making organization. He graduated in 2007 with a degree in government and legal studies from Bowdoin College, where he had been president of the student government and his class.
After graduation Mckesson began his education career by working for Teach for America for two years in a New York City elementary school. Mckesson later worked as special assistant in the office of human capital with the Baltimore City Public Schools, for the Harlem’s Children’s Zone, and as a human resources official at Minneapolis Public Schools. In June, 2016, he was appointed Baltimore City Schools' interim chief human capital officer, i.e., chief personnel officer, by district CEO Sonja Santelises.
Activism and politicsEdit
Mckesson first drove from Minneapolis to Ferguson on August 16, 2014. He began spending all his weekends and vacations in St. Louis. On March 4, 2015, Mckesson announced via Twitter that he had quit his job at Minneapolis Public Schools and had moved to St. Louis.
In April 2015, Mckesson and fellow activists Johnetta Elzie, Samuel Sinyangwe, and Brittany Packnett launched "Mapping Police Violence", which collected data on people killed by police during 2014. In August 2015, the same group launched Campaign Zero, a ten-point policy plan for police reform. Key points included the decriminalization of trespassing, marijuana possession, loitering, public disturbance, and consuming alcohol in public as these crimes do not threaten public safety, but are often used to target African Americans. Mckesson and Elzie were awarded the Howard Zinn Freedom to Write Award in 2015 for their activism.
In June 2015, Mckesson was the focus of a Twitter campaign while he was in Charleston, South Carolina to protest the Charleston church shooting. The campaign featured the hashtag "#GoHomeDeray", which was accompanied by statements demanding that Mckesson leave the city. Mckesson responded to the hashtag, stating that he was there as a sign of solidarity for the nine deaths and that the hashtag was proof that "[r]acism is alive and well in places like South Carolina, and in towns across America." Mckesson's Twitter account was later hacked in 2016.
In late 2015, he was a guest lecturer at Yale Divinity School. In November of the same year, Mckesson spoke at the GLAAD Gala, where he discussed his life as a gay man and asked LGBT people to "come out of the quiet."
In February 2016, Mckesson announced his candidacy for Mayor of Baltimore just before the filing deadline. He placed 6th in the city's Democratic primary in April, with 2.5% of the vote. In June 2016, he was named as interim chief human capital officer of the Baltimore City Public School System.
On July 9, 2016, in the aftermath of the shooting of Alton Sterling, Mckesson took part in a protest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. While live streaming, he was arrested. He was released the next day after being charged with obstruction of a roadway, and charges were later dropped. On July 13, he and other Black Lives Matter activists, along with police officials, politicians, and other activists, met with President Obama at the White House to discuss relations between black communities and law enforcement officials.
In July 2017, Mckesson and Black Lives Matters were sued by a Baton Rouge policeman who sustained life-altering injuries in an ambush attack, claiming that Black Lives Matters "incited the violence against police in retaliation for the death (sic) of black men shot by police" The suit was dismissed in October 2017. U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson's ruling stated that the officer "utterly failed to state a plausible claim" and instead launched a "confused attack" against Black Lives Matter and others". On the same day U.S. District Judge John W. deGravelles approved a settlement awarding up to $1,000 to protesters, including Mckesson, who claim police used excessive force in arresting them.
- Greene, Erica. "Civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson to join new city schools cabinet". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2016-06-29.
- Kang, Jay Caspian (May 4, 2015). "'Our Demand Is Simple: Stop Killing Us'". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
- Mckesson, DeRay; Packnett, Brittany; Elzie, Johnetta (November 18, 2014). "An Open Letter From Ferguson Protesters and Allies". The Huffington Post. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
- "Ferguson and beyond: how a new civil rights movement began – and won't end". The Guardian. 2015-08-09. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-02-25.
- Rao, Sameer. "DeRay Mckesson, Johnetta Elzie and Co. Launch Campaign Zero To End Police Brutality". Colorlines. Retrieved 2016-02-25.
- Sands, Darren. "DeRay Mckesson Is Going To Host A Crooked Media Podcast". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2018-01-16.
- Broadwater, Luke (February 3, 2016). "DeRay Mckesson files to run in Baltimore mayoral race". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
- "Program grants teens a charitable role". tribunedigital-baltimoresun. Retrieved 2016-02-25.
- Guerette, Bobby (May 4, 2007). "'This place exists for you': DeRay Mckesson looks back on four years at Bowdoin". Bowdoin Orient. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
- Graham, David A. (May 2015). "Beyond Hashtag Activism". The Atlantic. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
- "B-More Committed: 'Finding the Gift' in Your Work". Young Education Professionals. Retrieved 2016-02-25.
- Green, Erica; Broadwater, Luke (June 28, 2016). "Civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson to join new city schools cabinet". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
- Casey, Garrett (September 26, 2014). "DeRay McKesson '07 participates in 'principled protesting' in Ferguson". Bowdoin Orient. Retrieved May 13, 2015.
- Matos, Alejandra (November 21, 2014). "Minneapolis schools HR director is real-time reporting witness in Ferguson". StarTribune. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
- Holleman, Joe. "Protester DeRay Mckesson has moved to STL". STL Today. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
- Marusic, Kristina (April 4, 2015). "This Map Of Police Violence Aims To Create A Path To Justice". MTV. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
- Pearce, Matt; Lee, Kurtis (March 5, 2015). "The new civil rights leaders: Emerging voices in the 21st century". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
- Walters, Joanna. "DeRay Mckesson at centre of #GoHomeDeray Twitter storm". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved June 24, 2015.
- Callahan, Yesha (June 22, 2015). "Social Media Hatemongers Create #GoHomeDeRay Directed Toward Activist DeRay McKesson During Visit to Charleston, SC". The Root. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
- Kaufman, Scott Eric (June 22, 2015). "#BlackLivesMatter activist DeRay Mckesson on #GoHomeDeRay hashtag: It's proof "racism is alive and well" in America". Salon. Retrieved June 24, 2015.
- G.F. (13 September 2017). "Where are the flaws in two-factor authentication?". The Economist. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
- "#BlackLivesMatter Protester Deray McKesson to Teach at Yale". Mediaite.com. 2015-09-11. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
- "DeRay Mckesson Wants You to Come Out of the Quiet". The Advocate. 2015-12-24. Retrieved 2016-02-08.
- Sun, Baltimore. "DeRay Mckesson finishes 6th in Democratic primary for Baltimore mayor". baltimoresun.com. Retrieved 2016-04-27.
- Lowery, Wesley (July 10, 2016). "Black lives matters activist DeRay Mckesson taken into custody by Baton Rouge police". The Washington Post.
- Caplan, David; Knapp, Emily (July 10, 2016). "Black Lives Matter Activist Released From Jail After Being Arrested During Protest". ABC News. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
- Lowery, Wesley (July 15, 2016). "DeRay Mckesson, others won't be prosecuted in Baton Rouge". The Washington Post.
- Silva, Christina (13 July 2016). "DeRay Mckesson meets with President Obama for Black Lives Matter Movement". Retrieved 14 July 2016.
- "Activist And City Schools Exec. DeRay McKesson Meets With President". CBS Baltimore. July 13, 2016. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
- "Obama: Still far from solving police, community issues". Associated Press. July 13, 2016. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
- DeRay Mckesson [@deray] (November 24, 2016). "And I voted for Bernie in the primary. But the Bernie Bros continue to be one of the worst things about his entire campaign" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Mckesson, DeRay (October 26, 2016). "DeRay Mckesson: Why I'm voting for Hillary Clinton". The Washington Post.
- "Court rulings toss lawsuit against Black Lives Matter and Mckesson, allow class-action payments to protesters". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2017-12-20.