DeRay Mckesson, Baltimore mayoral candidate and famous activist was interviewed in Newsweek about his campaign.
It’s tough to run a campaign in a crowded race. You have to make the case that you are the obvious choice, and unless you start piling on the qualifiers — “I am the only candidate with executive experience who is also left handed” — your claims can sound doubly dubious.
In his nationally covered campaign for mayor of Baltimore, Mckesson told Newsweek what makes him stand out from the field:
“The only way the city will be the city we know it can be is if there’s new leadership and a fresh face and someone who is willing to tell the truth in public and who understands the issues at a deep level, and I am the only candidate who offers that.”
Mckesson’s work as an activist in the Black Lives Matter movement certainly suggests that he appreciates the depth of the problem when it comes to community-police relations and the pervasive nature of racism, but can he really say he’s the only one willing to tell the truth in public?
The statement suggests — and primarily to a national audience with a limited knowledge of the other candidates — that the mayoral field is made up of 12 candidates with their heads in the sand regarding Baltimore’s racial disparities plus DeRay Mckesson. What truth is Elizabeth Embry* — whose crime-fighting plan includes ending the war on drugs, cutting arrests, assisting ex-offenders reintegrate into society, strengthening CeaseFire and SafeStreets, increasing employment opportunities, and guaranteeing safe and affordable housing — unwilling to tell in public?
*: To be fair, Embry has called herself the “only candidate who does not represent the status quo.” Whatever kind of mayor Mckesson would be, he wouldn’t represent the status quo.