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Black Lives Matter Activist DeRay Mckesson Enters Race For Mayor Of Baltimore

The prominent activist joins a crowded field after filing his papers to run late Wednesday.

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Civil rights activist @deray formally filing to run for mayor of Baltimore at the 9PM deadline

Prominent Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson filed papers on Wednesday to run for mayor of Baltimore.

Mckesson, 30, filed his application to run as a Democrat shortly before the 9 p.m. deadline, the Baltimore Sun reported. He joins a crowded field of 28 candidates vying to run a city that suffered through days of protests and unrest last year after the death of Freddie Gray.

In a post on Medium Wednesday night, Mckesson described himself as a "son of Baltimore" and said he was running "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 — a Baltimore native who moved back to the city last year — first rose to prominence during the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014 following the police-related death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown. Mckesson tweeted relentlessly from the scene, chronicling what he saw and becoming a widely-referred to source of information for those watching the demonstrations.

He had been working as the senior director of human capital for Minneapolis Public Schools at the time, but left his job to become a full-time activist.

After the protests ended, Mckesson remained a fixture on Twitter, commenting on policing and race, among other issues. He eventually went on to help found Campaign Zero, an organization that aims to eliminate police violence. Last fall, he met with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

We just finished the meeting w/ @HillaryClinton re: #CampaignZero, race, & criminal justice.

Mckesson has also met with White House officials, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and leaders of major corporations.

Two weeks ago, Mckesson also appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to discuss race and white privilege.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

Mckesson did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' request for comment, but in his Medium post he said that he wants to "usher our city into an era where the government is accountable to its people."

The post also offered a glimpse into Mckesson's platform, with mentions of government transparency, jobs, transportation, and education.

"At its core, being the mayor is about having a vision for the city that is both aspirational and grounded in reality," he wrote. "It is about demonstrating the ability to turn intentions into reality and maintaining the fortitude to see our ambitions met with strong implementation."

Baltimore's current mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, is not seeking reelection, but the field of candidates still currently includes 13 other Democrats, the Sun reported. The Washington Post described Mckesson's bid as a "long-shot" against candidates including former mayor Sheila Dixon, state Sen. Catherine Pugh, and others.

Baltimore's primary will take place April 26. And due to the city's political demographics, the winner of the Democratic nomination is expected to go on to become mayor.

Jim Dalrymple is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Jim Dalrymple II at jim.dalrymple@buzzfeed.com.

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