Cecil and Celeste welcome author and activist DeRay Mckesson to KBOO ahead of his Portland appearance at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on September 20th. Call (503) 231-8187 during this Fall Membership Drive to join the conversation and to get a copy of DeRay's new book On the Other Side of Freedom.
DeRay Mckesson is an internationally recognized civil rights activist, community organizer, and host of the popular Crooked Media podcast,Pod Save the People. In his first book, ON THE OTHER SIDE OF FREEDOM: The Case for Hope , he offers an intimate and powerful portrait of the Black Lives Matter movement from the front lines—part deeply personal memoir and part timely meditation on politics, justice, and freedom. The result is a full-throated argument for hope, and against cynicism, from one of the most electrifying voices of the resistance.
In 2014, when Michael Brown was killed and the Ferguson protests began in earnest, Mckesson was sitting at home in Minneapolis, checking Twitter, and noticed a discrepancy between what was on his timeline and what was on his TV screen. Feeling called to action, he headed to Ferguson without much of a plan—and ended up staying for 400 days. So began his journey as an activist and public figure. In ON THE OTHER SIDE OF FREEDOM, he shares his memories of being on the streets of Ferguson, Charlottesville, Baltimore, and more, as well as memories from his childhood and his work as an educator and a public official—all of which shaped his path to the movement and inspire him to keep fighting.
Passionate and provocative, ON THE OTHER SIDE OF FREEDOM is a work of both immediate relevance and enduring consequence—a visionary’s call to action, designed to empower a new generation of leaders and activists.
Mckesson was an organizer in Baltimore City as a teenager, notably as the Chairman of Youth As Resources, Baltimore's youth-led grant-making organization. He graduated in 2007 with a degree in government and legal studies from Bowdoin College, where he had been president of the student government and his class.
After graduation Mckesson began his education career by working for Teach for America for two years in a New York City elementary school. Mckesson later worked as special assistant in the office of human capital with the Baltimore City Public Schools, for the Harlem's Children's Zone, and as a human resources official at Minneapolis Public Schools. In June 2016, he was appointed Baltimore City Schools' interim chief human capital officer, i.e., chief personnel officer, by district CEO Sonja Santelises.