WASHINGTON — DeRay Mckesson has endorsed Hillary Clinton in an op-ed in the Washington Post.
Mckesson, one of the most visible young American activists today, came into prominence in the weeks and months after the September 2014 killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. He endorsed Clinton after wrestling over the decision (many activists have opted to support neither candidate), and more than a year of contact with the Clinton campaign over the candidate’s racial justice platform, which he now says is strong.
"It is informed by the failings of the past and is a vision for where we need to go," he said.
His was one of the most coveted endorsements in Democratic politics, keying into both a segment of young people angry about high-profile videos of police killing black people — and a new civil rights movement that has sprung up in its wake. In the op-ed, Mckesson deals with why he's voting for Clinton, addresses the records of both candidates, then talks about policy.
In a meeting with Mckesson and activist Brittany Packnett last week, Clinton stressed the importance of fighting against racial injustice and to push for the issues affecting black people in America. A Clinton aide said that she vowed to keep dialogue with the activists going, and that she would herself begin the arduous work of building a foundation for her campaign to engage in the work on Nov. 9.
In an overview of the meeting shared that day with reporters, the Clinton campaign said the candidate and activists “discussed a number of issues, including education, criminal justice reform, policing, community engagement, and if elected president, ensuring that Clinton’s administration reflects diverse opinions from people of color.”
“They discussed how there is so much at stake in this election for young African Americans and how they will work together to tackle the issues confronting the community.”
Clinton officials — and the activists — remarked privately she was much more at ease than she did during the Democratic primary at a meeting with movement leaders in the spring of 2015.
“She talked about how it was understand that young people are frustrated with the system but they have to use their vote to change it,” the Clinton aide said.
“She spoke from the heart.”
In their meeting last week, Mckesson said it was apparent Clinton "now understands these issues well at a policy level and that she has researched the implications of the positions that she has proposed" and that "she spoke both about the context of change and the concrete actions necessary to open new pathways of equity and justice."
Darren Sands is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Darren Sands at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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