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DeRay Mckesson's Advice On Revolution: 'Systems Break In Pieces'

DeRay Mckesson was on the ground during the infancy of Black Lives Matter. Two years later, he's fighting for major change piece by piece.

By Jamal Andress | December 1, 2016

"The next part of the work is how do we make sure that the solutions get implemented at scale that actually leads to demonstrative changes in people's lives? That is what comes next," DeRay Mckesson said. 

Black Lives Matter has grown from protests across the country coupled with a hashtag to a national movement. But Mckesson, an organizer and activist, says to make major shifts across the country, people need to push for subtle changes. 

SEE MORE: What Black Lives Matter Is And Isn't — From The Co-founder Herself

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"When I think about the people who talk about revolution, however you define that, that is often about whole systems and structures changing — huge shifts that often take a little bit more time. ... Systems break in pieces, so part of our work is to find the pieces that we can pull that allow us to do the huge transformational change," Mckesson said. 

"We can let people out of jail today and tomorrow. We can stop the death penalty today and tomorrow. ... This is not an either/or. This is about a both/and," Mckesson added. 

Many of the reforms Mckesson wants to accomplish today and tomorrow are laid out in Campaign Zero, a police reform platform he and three other organizers published in October of 2015. 

The platform covers several different aspects of reform rather than focusing on one problem. Mckesson says that strategy is purposeful. 

SEE MORE: More Use-Of-Force Rules Could Keep Everyone Safer — Including Police

"So it's this idea that we can live in a world where the police don't kill people — that's how we get to the zero. ... It's not just police union contracts, it's not just use-of-force policies, it's not just body cameras — it's all of these things working in concert with each other that's gonna get us to the change that people deserve. ... There is no one silver bullet," Mckesson said. 

"Two years ago, people thought there was a crisis in Ferguson, Missouri. They did not yet accept there is a crisis across the country. And two years later, people have. I think that is the biggest single victory of the movement," Mckesson added. 

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