Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson surprised the already uncertain political atmosphere in Baltimore by announcing his candidacy for the city’s mayoral election.
McKesson, who filed to run for the office just before the Wednesday deadline, makes the 13th candidate to file for a run in the Democratic primary to replace current mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who has declined to seek another term.
“Baltimore is a city of promise and possibility,” McKesson 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 that he will release a platform within a week, which will include calling for the public release of internal school system audits, the Sun reported.
McKesson, 30, a native of Baltimore who has worked as a public school administrator and has sought to end police killings through a group called Campaign Zero. He has been a major figure in the activist spotlight since the demonstrations in Ferguson, Mo., after the police shooting of Michael Brown. His profile broadened when he came to Baltimore to lead protests after the death of Freddie Gray.
Other notable candidates include former Baltimore mayor Sheila Dixon, state Sen. Catherine E. Pugh, City Councilmen Carl Stokes and Nick J. Mosby, who is the husband of Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.