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The BoF Podcast: Activist DeRay Mckesson on the Realities of Social Injustice

The Black Lives Matter activist recently launched 8CantWait, a new campaign aimed at reducing police violence.
DeRay Mckesson | Source: Getty Images for The Business of Fashion

Over the past week, thousands of people in the US have participated in nationwide protests in response to the senseless killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and many more black Americans before them.

In this week’s special edition of the BoF Podcast, we revisit a conversation with DeRay Mckesson, a pillar of the Black Lives Matter movement, at BoF VOICES in 2018. Mckesson’s most recent campaign, 8CantWait, which he launched this week, pushes for the implementation of eight policies that aim to reduce police violence, including the banning of chokeholds, the requirement of warning before shooting and the requirement of all force to be reported.

OXFORDSHIRE, United Kingdom — When police officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, in August 2014, the small town of of Ferguson, Mo. became the site of protests whose impact were felt across the United States. Leading the charge on this nationwide discourse was the Black Lives Matter movement, of which DeRay Mckesson was a prominent voice.

The repeated slogan "no justice, no peace" came to be associated with Black Lives Matters protesters. Mckesson says the adage signified to him an awareness of the fragility of freedom and the collective desire for "a living, breathing justice ... a justice made real."

Like the lead-contaminated water of Flint, Mich. or disproportionate incarceration of black youths, police brutality is just one of many issues that highlight the ingrained legacy of racism in American society. But when it comes to translating awareness into action, Mckesson notes, "people are more in love with the idea of resistance than the work of resistance."

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To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions, or speaker ideas please e-mail podcast@businessoffashion.com.

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