Speaker Bio

DeRay-McKesson's picture
DeRay McKesson
Activist, Organizer

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. He was named one of 2015’s 50 World’s Greatest Leaders by Fortune MagazineDeRay 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. More recently, he served as Special Assistant to the Chief Human Capital Officer with Baltimore City Schools and as Senior Human Capital Director for Minneapolis Public Schools.