DeRay Mckesson talks racial wealth gap and mass incarceration on CTRL+T

On this week’s episode of CTRL+T, it’s all about flamethrowers (yes, the devices that throw flames), startups trying to get inside your mouth and education in the prison system.

Later on, I chat with the one and only DeRay Mckesson, who is known for his social justice activism via #BlackLivesMatter protests in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland. He’s also the host of Crooked Media’s Pod Save the People and co-founder of policy platform Campaign Zero.

This year, McKesson and his team are focused on two areas: the racial wealth gap and mass incarceration, Mckesson told me on CTRL+T. Specifically, Campaign Zero is trying to “create an entrance for people that’s an easy entrance but also high impact” and solutions-oriented, he said.

Mckesson said a lot of people don’t know how, in states like Virginia, theft over $200 is considered a felony.

“Most people would say a felon is someone who killed somebody or shot ten people,” he said. He later added, “I’m not convinced that stealing an iPhone is a felony or stealing a bike is a felony.”

Mckesson also pointed to Immigration Customs and Enforcement’s detention bed quota, which requires ICE to detain a minimum of 34,000 people every day.

Through Campaign Zero, Mckesson said he and his team are helping empower people with knowledge about how these structures and systems operate and impact people. The idea, he told me, is to get people thinking about what it looks like when people are entrapped by systems.

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