Civil Rights and Black Lives Matter Activist
DeRay Mckesson is an organizer, activist, and educator focused primarily on issues of innovation, equity and justice. Born and raised in Baltimore, he graduated from Bowdoin College and has advocated for issues related to children, youth, and families for over 15 years. DeRay has served as an educator, student leader, and founding director of an…
DeRay Mckesson is an organizer, activist, and educator focused primarily on issues of innovation, equity and justice. Born and raised in Baltimore, he graduated from Bowdoin College and has advocated for issues related to children, youth, and families for over 15 years.
DeRay has served as an educator, student leader, and founding director of an after-school/out-of-school program. Spurred by the death of Mike Brown and the subsequent protests in Ferguson, Missouri, DeRay has become a leading voice in the effort to confront the systems and structures that lead to the mass incarceration and police killings of black and other minority populations. The co-founder of the Protestor Newsletter and Campaign Zero, DeRay has worked to connect individuals with knowledge and tools and provide citizens and policy makers with commonsense policies to end police violence. As a civil rights activist, DeRay’s work has had national impact – leading Fortune Magazine to name him one of 2015’s 50 World’s Greatest Leaders.
His community involvement and leadership has been wide-ranging and consistently focused on outcomes. As a youth, DeRay served as Chair of Youth As Resources, Baltimore’s only youth-led grant making organization and spent four years working as an organizer with Baltimore’s Safe and Sound Campaign, leading city-wide youth/adult partnership efforts on behalf of young people. DeRay later became the founding director of the Higher Achievement site in West Baltimore, an academic enrichment center for middle grade students.
In addition to his organizing and advocacy work, DeRay helped lead the largest community center within the New York City’s Harlem Children’s Zone and taught 6th grade math in a public school in Brooklyn, NY. As the Training and Resource Manager with the Baltimore City Teaching Residency, DeRay led training and development for a third of all of the new teachers in Baltimore City. More recently he served as Special Assistant to the Chief Human Capital Officer with Baltimore City Schools, where he managed the day-to-day work for a human capital division of a $1 billion organization with over 12,000 staff and as the Senior Human Capital Director for Minneapolis Public Schools, where he advanced strategic changes to teacher, school leader, and support staff hiring.
The child of two now-recovered addicts, DeRay has intimate knowledge of the struggles facing Baltimore families impacted by addiction. He also knows from personal experience how far-reaching the effects of a successful recovery can be. Both he and his sister have thrived under the love and guidance of his father, Calvin, and a host of extended family committed to their success.
DeRay knows that for Baltimore to be a city where more and more people work and live and where everyone can thrive, our local government and our community must cooperate to make Baltimore a place where we are generous with second chances, where families are healthy and parents are gainfully employed, where children are actively and enthusiastically engaged in learning, and where young people have opportunities to prepare for and participate in college or career-oriented work. We must build neighborhoods that are safe places with vital commercial and cultural activity, where we understand addiction as a public health concern, and where we know that the safety of our communities is predicated on more than the presence of police.
Ernie was perfect for our Elders Conference at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. We will definitely be using PDA again!
LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
Our speaker was great and the crowd enjoyed her! She was very engaging. Thank you again PDA for the great list of suggestions!
Everything went great! and our speaker was wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help PDA! Looking forward to the next one.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY
I hope that this message finds you well. We had a phenomenal time with Atsuko this past Thursday. We wanted to just let you know how amazing she was. All those that were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed her and had nothing but amazing things to say about her. Thank you for working with us to make sure this happened!
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
We had a fantastic day with Inge! She was very engaging with all those that attended. Her personal stories about the holocaust were very special and we were moved that she was willing to share them with everyone. Thank you again, PDA for all your hard work and dedication to make this program such a success!
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dear PDA Group, Thank you so much for your hard work in scheduling our speaker! From the moment we reached out to you the first time, you worked with us on all details and logistics and kept us up-to-date on the progress. Thank you for all your hard work on making our event such a success! We couldn't have done it without you and your team!
Thank you again, Dr. Kimbrough, for a great presentation, our attendees are still talking about it!
Dr. Henry Lee's presentation was entertaining, insightful and wise. I, and everyone at Pfizer, especially appreciate the remarks you directed about following your passion and preparing yourself to excel. Thank you, everyone, at PDA for helping to make this happen!
The event was successful! I received many messages expressing how awesome, outstanding and inspiring Ms. Webb-Christburg's speech was."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL BREAKFAST, BOSTON, MLK SPEAKER
Everything went well. Atsuko was very easy to work with and the students enjoyed her performance! Thank you again for your recommendation and I hope to work with you again in the future!
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Novello left this morning after a very successful event on our campus! Thank you PDA Group for your help from the first phone to the last you were with us every step of the way.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Jordan Carlos was very very entertaining! A majority of students who answered the event survey indicated they really enjoyed Jordan and definitely will bring him back!
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
On behalf of myself and my organization Entertainment Unlimited the Campus Programming Board of Ferris State University, we thank you PDA and Dan for a successful event!! Dan was magnificent! Students really enjoyed the presentation. I know I did. Can't wait to bring in more programs with PDA Group.
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY
It was a great pleasure to work with PDA Group! The communication was always prompt, friendly and helpful. We loved the speakers and events we booked through Mr. Peter Walker (PDA Group).
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Thank you, Peter, for all your help, you'll be happy to know that the event went incredibly well! Aneesa Ferreira was by far one of the best speakers we've ever had!
A Conversation With DeRay Mckesson
The Politics of Liberation
MLK in 2018
DeRay Mckesson Helps Stephen Address His Privilege
DeRay McKesson: We Shouldn't Have To Protest - MSNBC
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