Tuesday, December 7, 2021
DeRay Mckesson: On The Other Side Of Freedom 
By Shaquille Woods, Contributing Writer 
Published October 11, 2018

DeRay Mckesson speaks upon his new book “On The Other Side Of Freedom.” (courtesy photo: Varon Panganiban)

Civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson newest book “On The Other Side Of Freedom: The Case for Hope” shares his story of triumph, tragedy, and tribulations. Mckesson’s current book tour made a stop in downtown Los Angeles at The Ace Hotel on Oct. 1. The evening was hosted by the Los Angeles Times and moderated by L.A. Times reporter Tre’vell Anderson.

The memoir shares an in-depth analysis of Mckesson’s transition from schoolteacher to a national political activist.

In 2014, Michael Brown was gunned down by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri. This prompted Mckesson’s journey to protest the treatment of Black bodies across the nation.


“I didn’t really have anything with me.  I didn’t know anyone in Missouri,” Mckesson said to a packed house.

“I went on Facebook and asked people for help. That first night I had tear gas thrown at me.”

Tear gas didn’t stop Mckesson. He continued his venture to activism by organizing protests, initiating public dialogues, and creating communities throughout the country.

“If I would’ve wrote the book three years ago, I would’ve written about the pain of protesting, but I wasn’t at the point at where I could talk about what the lessons were at that moment. I finally got to a point where I was able to share all the lessons I’ve learned.  That’s the main reason I wrote the book,” said Mckesson.

Wearing his signature blue vest, Mckesson spoke about the risk his organizers endured.

“People walked into the risk. We didn’t know everything in 2014, but we knew that Michael Brown should be alive. We moved confidently every day and walked in the same truth.”

“On The Other Side Of Freedom” shares Deray Mckesson political journey. (courtesy photo: Varon Panganiban)

Though the book dwells into his political activism, Mckesson shared personal stories.  One of which involved his sexuality.


“This is also the first time I wrote about being gay,” said Mckesson.

He continued to share more personal journeys.

“My mother left me when I was three and didn’t come back until I was 30.  That’s something I wanted to incorporate in the book.”

“On The Other Side Of Freedom: The Case for Hope” shares startling statistics between race dynamics and wealth.  Mckesson shared some thought provoking data.

“White high school dropouts have more wealth than all Black graduates combined,” Mckesson told the audience.

Mckesson went on to share a story on what happened when he went to a party and shared those statistics.

“A White man walked up to me and said, the only reason that White people have more wealth is because there are more White people. I said, well the only reason there is more white people is because your history killed us and you enslaved the rest.  At that moment he was looking at me highly confused.”

The podcast host also told the audience the difference between being an ally and an accomplice.

“An ally stands on the side waving and supporting,” said Mckesson.

“An accomplice loves you up close. Accomplice says, ‘let me know what can I do.’  They say, ‘let me stand beside you, let me help you in this work.'”

“On The Other Side Of Freedom: The Case for Hope” is available currently where books are sold.

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