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Despite Steep Odds, DeRay Mckesson Draws Lessons From Mayoral Bid

DeRay Mckesson, at NPR's headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Brandon Chew
DeRay Mckesson, at NPR's headquarters in Washington, D.C.

It has been nearly a year since the death of Freddie Gray, the Baltimore man whose death in police custody set off days of street protests that turned violent. Since then, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the city's mayor, decided against a re-election bid, leaving a vacancy that's drawn more than a dozen Democrat candidates.

Among them is DeRay Mckesson, perhaps the most visible member of the Black Lives Matter movement. Since leaving a high-profile education job, Mckesson has amassed hundreds of thousands of loyal Twitter followers attracted to his brand of activism.

But, like other BLM activists around the country, Mckesson has had trouble translating his online fame into a foothold in political office, even in a year that's seen success from other outsider candidates across the ideological spectrum.

He tells NPR's Michel Martin that, despite his low poll numbers, his foray into politics isn't over. "We won't undo 400 years of oppression in 400 days," he says.

Listen to the full interview at the audio link above.

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