I’ve yet to see a good headline featuring Black Lives Matter spokesperson DeRay Mckesson which wasn’t good for a chuckle in some form or another. This week is no exception as we learn that the former middle school substitute teacher has tossed his hat in the ring to replace Stephanie Rawlings-Blake as the Mayor of Baltimore. (Baltimore Sun)
In a surprise move, civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson jumped into the already crowded contest for Baltimore mayor Wednesday night, shaking up the Democratic field minutes before the deadline to file.
“Baltimore is a city of promise and possibility,” the Black Lives Matter member 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.”
He said he planned to release a platform within a week. He said it would include a call for internal school system audits to be made public.
DeRay joins an already crowded field hoping for a lucrative government job. Plenty of people are hoping to win the Democrat primary (which is essentially the general election in Baltimore since they would never consider electing a Republican, presumably because things have gone so well under the Democrats) and the field includes Sheila Dixon. In case you don’t recall that name, she’s the former mayor who Rawlings-Blake replaced after she was convicted of embezzlement. But hey… let’s not let a little thing like that stop us from giving her a second look, right? The field also includes Nick J. Mosby. If that name sounds familiar it’s because he’s the husband of Marilyn Mosby, the woman who has done such a bang up job of prosecuting her own city’s police officers in the Freddie Gray case.
DeRay should be a good fit in this crowd. After all, he’s a lecturer at Yale who teaches a course featuring reading material such as, The Problem of Whiteness. When you fold that in with a career as a substitute teacher and regular feature on MSNBC talking about rioting, you have a world class resume of someone prepared to take on the massive budget challenges of a nearly bankrupt city and the social unrest which regularly threatens to see it burned to the ground. He’s also been a resident of Baltimore “for several months” now so he’s got the favorite son thing going for him. And how would DeRay deal with the whole police situation?
Mckesson, 30, a Baltimore native and former public school administrator here and in Minnesota, is part of a team called Campaign Zero, which seeks to end police killings in America. The group wants to end “broken windows” policing, increase community oversight of police and limit use of force, among other goals.
In case you’re wondering how the race is shaping up so far, the aforementioned embezzler, Sheila Dixon, has a significant lead in the polls. And why not? This is, after all, Baltimore.