Mayoral candidate Joshua Harris (Twitter Photo)

Joshua Harris started out running for mayor of Baltimore City as a Democrat and wound up on the Green Party ticket.

The reason, Harris said in an interview with the AFRO, is “The Green Party is very progressive – they’ve been progressive in supporting the Black Lives Matter movement a real economic strategy is built on issues of social justice.

“We need leadership that is unafraid to go against the grain and status quo and do what is right,” he added.

In making the switch, Harris joined several other people of color also running for office under the banner of the Green Party. He is one of the party’s three candidates for mayor, all of whom are Black. There are also Green Party candidates of color running for city council and for the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Green Party holds a separate mayoral primary from the Democrats and Republicans to determine its nominee. The winner of that primary represents the party on the ballot in November.

Baltimore Green Party Co-Chair Andy Ellis, who is White, said that in a city as racially diverse as Baltimore, it makes sense that Green candidates would be more diverse, too.

“We don’t think it makes sense to appeal to those who live in Baltimore City with candidates who are old, White hippies,” he said.

Ellis said that now, more than ever, it is important that voters in Baltimore have options at the ballot box.

“I think that this election season has highlighted a lot of issues that people have with Baltimore City,” he said. “We don’t think you can hold people responsible for choices they haven’t had in the past.”

Jamie Frierson, who is Black, is a Green Party candidate who is running to represent the ninth district in Baltimore City Council. She said she only recently became familiar with the party.

“I’ve never wanted to go with what somebody says I am,” Frierson said. “Looking into the values and beliefs and principals it was really along the lines of my thoughts and feelings. I don’t agree with all the Democratic views; I don’t agree with all the Republican views.”

She added, “They (the Green Party) think more economically…. If you ever look at their values and principles they keep it black-and-white and do what makes sense.”

Emanuel McCray, a Black community organizer, is making his second mayoral run with the Green Party. He said that before becoming a member, he was a registered Republican.

“I’m not really big on national politics because they’re so broad. But city-wise, Democrats were the dominant party. They had that ‘next-man-up’ mentality and I wasn’t really feeling that. I want to come out and step out on my own,” McCray said. “I believe in hard work. To work my way up not because I’m related to this person or I went to church with this person.”

The Green Party’s primary will be held on May 1. The party’s three candidates for mayor – Harris, McCray and David Mariott – will face off via mail-in ballots and in-person voting. Because of Maryland law, third parties cannot hold a taxpayer-funded primary election.

The party’s city council and U.S. Senate and House of Representative candidates will compete on the General Election ballot in November.