What We’re Learning: Civil Rights Activist DeRay Mckesson Teaches SEED MD Seniors How to Be Effective Advocates

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At SEED, learning life skills is just as important as achieving academically. That’s why, in addition to our college-preparatory curriculum, we’re focused on providing students with the professional development experiences—including internships, social and emotional programming, and international travel—they need to explore their passions and gain real-world experiences.

On February 8, The SEED School of Maryland welcomed DeRay Mckesson as a guest speaker for its College and Career Transition class, which is led by the External Opportunities team. A Baltimore native, Mr. Mckesson is a civil rights activist focused primarily on issues of innovation, equity, and justice. A leading voice in the Black Lives Matter movement, Mr. Mckesson is also the founder of Pod Save the People, an award-winning weekly podcast.

Mr. Mckesson spoke with SEED MD seniors about the importance of learning to advocate for yourself and organizing for change in your own community. In addition, he shared key facts about police violence and talked to students about best practices in orchestrating a peaceful protest.

Chelsea Brown, the External Opportunities coordinator for The SEED School of Maryland, organized the event. She said, “We were so pleased to have Mr. Mckesson join us. The students are really interested in hearing from leaders like Mr. Mckesson, who are making a tremendous impact in the world. They enjoy learning about different careers and meeting professionals who look like them. This enables them to dream big when applying to college and making plans for their future careers.”

During the lively question-and-answer session, students learned more about what it takes to be a community activist. They also wanted to know if Mr. Mckesson ever gets tired or wants to stop protesting.

Mr. Mckesson said, “There are times I think about quitting, but the blue vest I wear serves as a reminder of what I’ve been through and encourages me to keep moving.”

“In this polarized time, our students need to be able to stand up for themselves,” Ms. Brown told us, “and that means finding and using data to advocate for themselves, versus only coming from a place of emotion. A lot of our students are applying to predominantly white institutions. Navigating a college experience is tough, and they will inevitably confront challenges. When they do, I want them to know their rights and be educated and informed.”

To learn more about DeRay Mckesson, click here.

To learn more about the External Opportunities program at SEED MD, click here.