Netflix’s Reed Hastings and Other Tech Execs Back Black Lives Matter’s DeRay Mckesson’s Bid for Baltimore Mayor

 

The Black Lives Matter movement is often highlighted as an example of Twitter’s and social media’s ability to catalyze social change.

Now, executives of those same services are giving back to activists who have made their names on those platforms. Twitter’s executive chairman, Omid Kordestani, donated $6,000 to the Baltimore mayoral campaign of DeRay Mckesson, the BLM organizer known for his Twitter presence and his blue Patagonia vest. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who is politically active, also contributed $6,000 to McKesson’s election effort. The donations are included in a campaign finance disclosure filed earlier today.

Gisel Kordestani, wife of Omid and co-founder of the political data analysis company Crowdpac, donated $6,000 as well, according to the filing. Other tech industry figures include Slack founder Stewart Butterfield (he gave $6,000) and YouTube exec Malik Ducard (who kicked in $2,500) — you can search the full filing for other names (we’ve embedded it below).

Though Mckesson is known primarily for his work with Black Lives Matter, the Teach for America alumnus is drawing a lot of support from well-known figures in the education reform movement. People from TFA and charter-friendly groups like StudentsFirst are among the donors to Mckesson’s campaign; Reed Hastings is a high-profile supporter of charter schools and other education initiatives.

In Slate, Rachel M. Cohen has argued that these education reform initiatives — which are a big deal in Baltimore — are likely going to be where Mckesson’s campaign will fight its biggest battles:

What Mckesson will soon have to decide is whether he is committed to keeping Baltimore’s charter sector as is—with unionized teachers, a close relationship to the school district, and substantial oversight—or join the coalition of charter operators and national education reform groups that seek to significantly revamp chartering in Maryland. That decision may also force him to choose between competing groups that may try to back him. Some national charter networks have expressed disinterest in setting up shop in Baltimore, namely because they don’t want to work within the school district and employ unionized teachers.

Mckesson has previously met with workers and executives at tech companies like Google and Twitter, and he’ll be appearing onstage at this year’s Code conference alongside Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and fellow activist Johnetta Elzie. Mckesson is running as a Democrat against more than a dozen others in the party primary.

Embedded below is the Mckesson campaign finance filing:

 

First reported by Noah Kulwin & Dawn Chmielewski at Re Code