Is Deray McKesson The Spark In Politics That Baltimore Needs?!
The name Deray Mckesson is familiar to those who have been following the former Minneapolis Public Schools administrator’s transition into frontline soldier for the #BlackLivesMatter movement. His impact has been felt by those on the ground in Ferguson, Missouri to politicians like Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders who aim for his ear. He’s taken his highly-visible and vocal status as a proponent of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and upped the ante by jumping into the crowded pool of the Baltimore mayoral race.
Mckesson, 30, shook up the Democratic field by placing his name into the race which finds at least a dozen other candidates vying for the position. By mixing it up with candidates such as former Mayor Sheila Dixon, state Sen. Catherine E. Pugh, City Councilmen Carl Stokes and Nick J. Mosby, lawyer Elizabeth Embry and businessman David L. Warnock — Mckesson stands out for his ability to champion transformational change. And even though, Deray has yet to release his campaign platforms, it is no secret that the hometown activist will be focusing on the societal ills that have plagued Baltimore for the last 25 to 30 years.
“Baltimore is a city of promise and possibility,” Deray told The Baltimore Sun. “We can’t rely on traditional pathways to politics and the traditional politicians who walk those paths if we want transformational change.” As the 13th and final candidate to enter into the primary race for mayor of Baltimore, Deray Mckesson is taking the next step that many who have observed the #BlackLivesMatter movement have wanted. Taking to the streets, causing traffic jams and inciting angst amongst the police has done well to frame the narrative, but replacing those who are in the seats of power was always the goal.
Mckesson’s story of dropping everything to join the mix following the police-involved deaths of Michael Brown paints him as a civil servant, embracing his role as a political firestarter is the first step in creating true change in this country. “I am running to be the 50th Mayor of Baltimore in order to usher our city into an era where the government is accountable to its people and is aggressively innovative in how it identifies and solves its problems,” Mckesson wrote on Medium.com. “We can build a Baltimore where more and more people want to live and work, and where everyone can thrive.”
With 369,000 registered voters in Baltimore, 288,000 of them are Democrats and another 47,000 are unaffiliated. Add to the mix the 1,200 Libertarians and 1,100 Greens and you have the makings of a Blue City in Maryland. Mckesson’s plan, if proposed thoroughly and marked with decided changes in public policy, could be the right spark needed to bring more people to the city and decrease the disparity amongst those who already call the place home. Deray’s determination and his sincere appreciation for merging knowledge with positive execution could divert attention away from those who believe that politics are wholly “fixed and irreversible.”
As Deray said himself, he is not the “silver bullet” to end the challenges for Baltimore, but he is and wholly appears to be the right person to lead its transformation. His energy, intellect, sensitivity and homegrown roots will enable him to touch all the right people and take the city in a new direction. The question is: Is Baltimore really ready for the shift? In this humble scribes opinion, the answer is yes, as I have seen firsthand that Baltimore is in serious need of attention and justice for ongoing crimes being committed.
Representing as a candidate that shifts from the “business as usual” politics of the day, Deray Mckesson has his work cut out ahead for him. He may be a social media emperor, with ties to those heading to the White House, but he still has to endear himself to the older black voting bloc in Baltimore that command the ballots.
* Video spotted at Blavity.