DeRay Mckesson on why a Trump presidency would be 'treacherous' for minorities

Story highlights

  • DeRay Mckesson is a social justice advocate
  • Mckesson says the effects of a Trump presidency would be "treacherous" for minorities

The Axe Files, featuring David Axelrod, is a podcast distributed by CNN and produced at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics. The author works for the podcast.

Chicago (CNN)One of the most prominent leaders in the Black Lives Matter movement says that while activists have successfully elevated issues of social justice and police violence at the national level, it is now time to make a broader case for change.

"I do think that what comes next is continue to develop a holistic understanding about what's happening," DeRay Mckesson told David Axelrod on "The Axe Files" podcast, produced by the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN.
    "So, it is not just a matter of the police -- I get that," said Mckesson, who fused his activism with electoral politics when he ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Baltimore earlier this year. "That it is about public education, it's about health, how do we think about health differently. It's about economics. It's about infrastructure. All of these things, we'll have to address.
    "And I think we can build a critical mass to do it," Mckesson said.
    Mckesson, the co-founder of a police-reform platform called Campaign Zero, also discussed his endorsement of Hillary Clinton, a decision he reached after months of back and forth and only once he was convinced of her commitment to address issues of social justice and police violence
    "I met with Hillary before there was actually a platform around racial justice. So, in that first meeting there were about 10 of us, and we were pressing her on some concrete things that we wanted to see show up in the platform," Mckesson said.
    Mckesson, who met with Clinton twice during the campaign, cited her commitment to invest in low-income neighborhoods, community-based police training and other social justice priorities as being persuasive in his decision.
    "She's made some commitments that I think are actually strong anchor commitments that we need to continue pushing on," he said. "My sense, too, is that she's done the homework and understands [these issues] at a deep level; that she is not just leaning on the policy people to whisper in her ear."
    Mckesson took issue with those who suggest that a victory by Donald Trump would ultimately benefit the cause of change, even if the short-term impacts are negative.
    "There are some people who believe that Trump would usher in what I keep calling 'a productive apocalypse' -- that in a Trump presidency, so much would happen that would be bad that it would force things to come to the surface. That we'd finally have to confront all of these tough issues. And I think that that is a dangerous notion.
    "The impact of that on black and brown people would be so treacherous, that I think we can't afford that," Mckesson said.
    To hear the whole conversation with Mckesson, which also covered what he learned from his unsuccessful mayoral campaign, the importance of public education from the perspective of an educator and administrator, and how his turbulent childhood shaped who he is today, click on http://podcast.cnn.com. To get "The Axe Files" podcast every week, subscribe at http://itunes.com/theaxefiles.