One of the most prominent activists in the Black Lives Matter movement on Wednesday announced he is running for mayor of Baltimore.
DeRay Mckesson, whose stature among the loosely organized movement grew following racially-charged killings in Ferguson and elsewhere, filed to run as a Democrat before Wednesday’s 9 p.m. deadline, NBC affiliate WBAL-TV reported.
Mckesson, 30, made an announcement on Twitter and Medium.com, where he acknowledged that he is not a traditional candidate.
"The traditional pathway to politics, and the traditional politicians who follow these well-worn paths, will not lead us to the transformational change our city needs," McKesson said.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced in September that she would not seek re-election. She was criticized for missteps she made during riots and civil unrest in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody.
Mckesson joins a crowded Democratic field. A dozen other Democrats are running for mayor, according to the state Board of Elections, including former mayor Sheila Dixon. Dixon resigned in 2010 as part of a plea deal after she was accused of accepting illegal gifts.
McKesson is a native of Baltimore, where he has been a youth organizer and administrator who worked with a program designed to attract quality staff for the city’s public school system, according to his LinkedIn profile.
The Black Lives Matter movement has fought for issues affecting the African-American community to be part of the presidential campaign, with activists at times interrupting Democratic candidates. The movement has helped to shape the conversation on race and policing across the nation.
Mckesson and other members of the movement have met with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Mckesson has nearly 300,000 Twitter followers.
The primary in the mayoral election is April 26.