BLACK VOICES

DeRay On Voting For Hillary: I Agree With Clinton More Than I Disagree With Her

The prominent Black Lives Matter activist explained why he's with her this election season.

DeRay McKesson, a standout figure in the Black Lives Matter movement, has publicly declared that he is voting for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

In a piece he published in the Washington Post on Wednesday, McKesson wrote about why he believes Clinton is best suited for the presidency. And while he says he doesn’t see eye-to-eye with Clinton on everything, he writes, “I agree with Clinton more than I disagree with her.”

“I am voting for Hillary Clinton,” he wrote. “Clinton has the plan to move American forward.  I believe in moving forward.”

McKesson, who has been at the front lines of protests across the country demanding justice for black lives, has become a public figure for his relentless activism. Earlier this year, he ran for public office when he campaigned to be the mayor of Baltimore, Maryland, his hometown city where protests sparked in April 2015 over the death of Freddie Gray. Mckesson has also separately met with Bernie Sanders, during his run for president, as well as Clinton to discuss various policy proposals. Through it all, racial progress has always been a priority for McKesson, and while he refers to Clinton’s weaknesses with regard to issues of race earlier in the campaign, he says he's confident she's evolve. 

 “When Clinton started this campaign, she didn’t appear to understand the urgency of the need to address racism. When I first met with her in October 2015, she had not yet released comprehensive policy positions dealing with racial justice. She seemed slow to grasp why it was important to act with comprehensive proposed solutions.”

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at a Sunday service at Union Baptist Church accompanied by "Mothers of
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks at a Sunday service at Union Baptist Church accompanied by "Mothers of the Movement," a group of women who have lost their children in a series of police shootings which galvanized the "Black Lives Matter" movement, in Durham, North Carolina, U.S., October 23, 2016.

McKesson said he also credits the civil unrest that has erupted over the unjust police killings of black men and women as reasons for why Democrats have pushed for stronger proposals on issues he believes matter most. They include the use of private prisons, increasing the minimum wage, examining the role of institutional and implicit bias and acknowledging the need to address racism directly, among others.

“Clinton’s platform on racial justice is strong: It is informed by the policy failings of the past and is a vision for where we need to go,” he wrote, before going on to explain how Clinton’s new proposal promises to undo key parts of the controversial 1994 crime bill that was signed into law by Bill Clinton. 

As for his take on Trump, McKesson says the republican presidential nominee is an abomination to American democracy and that he only wants to take the country backwards.

“When Trump says, ‘Make America great again,’ he is referencing an era when people were singled out and harmed because of their race and religious beliefs, and when violent enforcement of Jim Crow masqueraded as the will of the people,” he wrote. 

McKesson said America needs to look past Trump and although Clinton may not be perfect, he believes that she is best equipped to lead the nation as its next president. 

“Politics is compromise, by its very nature,” he said. “But we never compromise on our values and beliefs. I will vote for Clinton and plan to continue to challenge her on her platform and these commitments when she’s in the White House.” 

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

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