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Black Lives Matter Activist & Host, Pod Save the People

DeRay Mckesson: Biography at a Glance

  • Leading voice in the Black Lives Matter Movement, and co-founder of Campaign Zero and
  • Host of the wildly popular podcast, Pod Save the People, which focuses on activism and social justice
  • Named as one of the World's Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine in 2015 and as one of the 30 Most Important People On The Internet by Time Magazine in 2016 
  • His book, On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope, offers a new framework for understanding the nature of oppression, and charts a course to dismantle the structures that limit freedom

DeRay Mckesson is a civil rights activist focused primarily on issues of innovation, equity and justice. Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, he graduated from Bowdoin College and holds  honorary doctorates from The New School and Maryland Institute College of Art. 

DeRay has advocated for issues related to children, youth, and families since he was a teen. As a leading voice in the Black Lives Matter Movement and a co-founder of,, and DeRay has worked to connect individuals with knowledge and tools, and provide citizens and policy makers with commonsense policies to ensure equity.

Spurred by the death of Mike Brown and the subsequent protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and beyond, DeRay has become a key player in the work to confront the systems and structures that have led to mass incarceration and police killings of black and other minority populations.

He is also the host of critically acclaimed Pod Save The People, a weekly podcast creating space for conversation about the most important issues of the week. The podcast is also about making sure people have the information they need to be thoughtful activists and organizers.

DeRay was named one of the World's Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine in 2015 and as one of the 30 Most Influential People On The Internet by Time Magazine in 2016.

“I cannot think of a more powerful, fitting, and inspirational keynote. The conference would not have been the same without DeRay and his insight on such important and relevant topics.”


“DeRay’s clarity, passion and candor about everything from policing to education brought us hope and mobilization. He eloquently brought truth to situations that are often viewed as too complex to solve. ”

The Prosperity Summit

“The event was a huge success! We had 500 people in the audience and over 500 views of the live stream! DeRay is an incredibly dynamic speaker and I've only heard positive remarks since the event.”

University of Denver

“DeRay was fantastic, we really enjoyed having him here! The lecture he gave was so well put together and he is a wonderful speaker.”

Kalamazoo College

“DeRay was amazing and everyone was so impressed. We’ve had some good speakers and I was told he was the best yet.”

Fordham University

“DeRay was an incredibly enlightening speaker who offered insightful dialogue and left the audience wanting more!”

Penn State College Democrats

“He was an absolute dream to work with - could not have been lovelier. His panel was very well attended and received.”


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