Nineteen Days Until Election Day

DeRay Mckesson
Apr 8, 2016 · 5 min read

On February 3rd, I announced my candidacy to be the next mayor of Baltimore. From the beginning, I knew that I would be leading an 83-day campaign — 83 days from the launch date to Primary Day on April 26th.

I love Baltimore. This city has made me the man that I am. In 1999, I began my work as an organizer here, and later opened up an after-school/out-of-school center on the West Side. Afterwards, I trained and supported a third of all of the new teachers in the city and subsequently became the number two in City Schools’ Office of Human Capital.

Over the past 65 days, I have spoken with thousands of Baltimore residents at forums, community events, house meet and greets, and online. There is a common understanding that we need new leadership in the city. We cannot continue to rely on the same voices and failed ideas and expect new results.

Within the first two weeks of announcing my candidacy, I released an expansive platform and it remains the only comprehensive platform that addresses the components of a whole and prosperous city: safety, education, public health, arts and culture, housing, leadership, community prosperity.

It was important to me to focus on two key tenets in this plan: (1) strategy — we must connect and leverage existing resources and talent to maximize impact; and (2) solutions — we must create solutions at scale because many of the city’s greatest challenges are at scale.

After releasing my platform, other candidates quickly followed my lead, and began to address issues that they had previously ignored, such as expanding the DOJ consent decree to include school police, increasing the minimum wage, using community land trusts as a cornerstone of the city-wide housing strategy, increasing accountability in the police department, reforming rent court, and focusing on the EPA consent decree.

Being mayor is more than just about wearing a suit and producing an agenda that oftentimes makes empty promises.

I believe in the promise and possibility of Baltimore. I believe in the future of our city, and common sense policies that are equitable for all. If we are to change Baltimore for the better, we have to do it together and we have to reimagine what we know is possible for our residents. Being a leader is not just about being at the head of the table, it’s about the people and ideas you bring to the table — more of us need to be part of the discussion if we are to ever make progress.

This election is unique, not only because it presents a fresh opportunity to elect a mayor that is not beholden to establishment politics, but because it is the first election in which the mayoral primary and the presidential primary will occur together. Historically, the mayoral election is held on an off-year, heavily favoring the incumbent and leading to extremely low voter turnout. Given the change in this election cycle, no statistical modeling can predict how many people will vote or who will comprise the electorate. The poll tells a story, but it does not tell the whole story of Baltimore.

The majority of support for my campaign comes from voters under 35, from young people all across the city who know that a different type of leadership is both necessary and present. Seventy-five percent of those polled in the two Baltimore Sun polls that have been conducted since I announced my candidacy are above 50 years old and only six percent of those polled have been under 35.

These polls ignore a critical part of Baltimore’s population and those who have the power to change our city for the better, for the next generation of leaders and innovators.

We will not allow a small sampling reflective of a small portion of the electorate & not reflective of the new, youthful energy & momentum that’s been built in Baltimore; especially over the past year sway how we make one of the most important decisions facing Baltimore today — electing the next Mayor.

Social media allows us to have conversations with people in new ways and access the campaign in an authentic way. The first house meet and greet I ever had was because someone DM’d me offering to host an event. We Periscope and livestream on Facebook many of the events to make them closer for people.

Social media is one of many tools that allows many diverse opinions and conversations, and bring additional people into our campaign. We are using social media combined with other core organizing strategies to reach as many voters as possible.

I am focused on April 26th. Election Day. Our campaign has deployed a robust ground strategy, aimed at reaching 30,000 voters before early voting begins, another 30,000 voters after early voting and then one city-wide reach. There is broad support for the campaign, as we have over 5,000 individual donors, with the 3rd highest number of donors from Baltimore City.

I need you to help us reach as many voters as possible as we enter into the home stretch. Click here to volunteer. By knocking doors in Baltimore or by phone banking from wherever you are, you play an important role in this election.

I also need your financial support so that we can continue to connect with voters and share a vision for a stronger city where more and more people want to live and where everyone can thrive. Click here to donate. Your support fuels this campaign!

DeRay for Mayor

Supporting DeRay McKesson for Mayor of Baltimore

DeRay Mckesson

Written by

I will never betray my heart. Curator, connector. TFA. Educator. Bowdoin alum. Protestor. Snapchat: derayderay. IG: iamderay.

DeRay for Mayor

Supporting DeRay McKesson for Mayor of Baltimore