Black Lives Matter activist and recently announced Baltimore mayoral candidate DeRay Mckesson will attend an event Thursday at the White House in honor of Black History Month, The Baltimore Sun reported.
The event will bring together civil rights leaders at a reception celebrating Black History Month hosted by the president and first lady Michelle Obama, according to a White House press release. Mckesson, as well as other members of the Black Lives Matter movement, have met with Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in the past.
In a surprise move, Mckesson filed as a Democrat running in the Baltimore mayoral race just before the 9 p.m. deadline on Feb. 3. The primary election for the race is April 26. Mckesson, who hails from Baltimore, has also worked as a youth organizer, teacher and administrator for the Baltimore public school system.
Mckesson brings to the race a relatively sizable following on Twitter, as well as a reputation as being a leading voice on police brutality, racial injustice and activism. Currently Mckesson has 308,112 followers and counting on Twitter. A Mckesson supporter even created a separate social media account dedicated to the blue vest that’s become a signature of the activist’s attire. That account, @deraysvest, has 4,691 followers. In comparison, Baltimore mayoral front-runner Sheila Dixon currently has 3,342 followers on Twitter.
Mckesson also made his debut on the Baltimore debate stage Tuesday. During the debate, Dixon also faced a lot of questions about being forced to resign as Baltimore mayor in 2010 amid a campaign finance corruption probe, The Baltimore Sun reported.
But despite his arguable popularity on Twitter, some critics say Mckesson remains a long shot for the office, and they noted that he will have to reach out to older women voters and other Baltimore locals. In the past 15 days since Mckesson launched his campaign, he has also raised $119,974 through CROWDPAC on his campaign’s website. That’s nearly half of his goal of $250,000 for the race.