Jack’d is announcing its support of DeRay Mckesson, a prominent #BlackLivesMatter activist who is openly gay, in his bid for Baltimore Mayor. As part of the app’s “Change the Game” initiative, focused on facilitating conversations about LGBTQ progress and inclusion, Jack’d is pledging the maximum campaign contribution allowed, $6000.00, to the Democratic mayoral hopeful. The app is also rallying its 1.5 million members − 80% of who are under the age of thirty − to listen and engage in the conversation DeRay Mckesson has pushed forward. It is encouraging its tens of thousands of gay men in Baltimore to register to vote and consider supporting Mckesson in the democratic primary on April 26.
“DeRay Mckesson is a voice for this generation,” said Hector Camacho, CEO of Online Buddies, the parent company of Jack’d, at this morning’s announcement. “His passion, activism and relentless commitment for justice have forced the nation to reflect and respond. We applaud DeRay’s courage and dedication in the demand for equal rights, not only in Baltimore but throughout the nation.”
“The fight for justice is long,” explains DeRay Mckesson. “It is a fight to ensure equity within systems and structures that affect so many of us from communities that have traditionally been marginalized because of race and/or identity. As a proud Black gay man, I’m honored by the support of Jack’d to help mobilize the young, LGBTQ voters of Baltimore. Let’s use our platforms to continue to build community and honor the complexity of our identities.”
While Maryland’s LGBTQ community has secured several wins in recent years, including the right to marry, and the right to be free from gender identity discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations, there are still issues needing desperate attention, especially with regard to LGBTQ youth. If elected, Jack’d hopes Mckesson will help lead efforts to address the community’s many challenges.
“Over 30,000 LGBTQ students attend Maryland’s public schools,” explains Phil Henricks, the VP of Strategy and Business Development at Jack’d. “A vast majority of them face harassment by students and faculty on a daily basis. A third report that they skip school due to fear. We need a leader who will be committed to implementing anti-bullying policies.”
Jack’d is also voicing concern over Baltimore’s high rate of homelessness among LGBTQ youth and abuse in the juvenile justice system.
“Nearly half of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ and they are 40% more likely to be arrested than straight youth,” Henricks continues. “It is important that we develop resources that meet their specific needs.”
This spring, Jack’d will launch its global “Change the Game” campaign, celebrating bold, and inspiring people and projects that are challenging the ways in which people live and identify.
“It is shocking to see that even today, within a community all too familiar with prejudice and erasure, we still struggle with self-segregation,” notes Kevin Letourneau, Director of Marketing for Jack’d. “Our campaign to ‘Change the Game’ will initiate constructive conversations about self-empowerment, stereotypes, body-shaming, transgender inclusion, and bisexual acceptance in order to facilitate a welcoming and fun space for more meaningful connections. By supporting DeRay’s mission and leadership, we hope others will join the conversation on Jack’d, and help us champion all those who set out to ‘Change the Game.’”