Cory Booker is not satisfied with the direction of the nation. If we want to tackle our biggest problems - a criminal justice system that robs future generations, underfunded schools, and a lack of jobs in our communities - we need to stand up as agents of activism. We can be as great as the civil rights pioneers who came before us.
Cory Booker is a U.S. Senator from the state of New Jersey and a PowerPAC+ leader. This video is a part of the series Replay: Race Will Win the Race.
The prison crisis is a race crisis
“If you just look at the problem along racial lines, a state like mine which has 12% African Americans but the prison population is over 60% African Americans, if you look at all the blacks in America that are under criminal supervision right now, there are more blacks under criminal supervision right now in America than all the slaves in 1850. The tragedy of this is that it’s not making us safer. In fact, it’s making us less safe.”
Lagging behind in higher education
“Fifty-one percent of your median income to go to college in the United States. Germany? Around 4%. Canada? Around 5% of median income. England? Around 6%. And so, when I think about what’s going to keep our country competitive, we are not, as a nation, empowering our most valuable natural resource, which is young people. Human beings.”
Dollars and sense
“Here we are as a nation where the barriers to productivity, the barriers to fueling our economy, the barriers to making manifest the genius of our people - are getting higher and higher and higher. And it’s hurting not just poor folks, but all of us, who are bereft of that productivity and that genius. So many of these things in the policy landscape I don’t even talk about anymore in simply of the moral urgency, but I talk about them in terms of economic urgency. The dollars invested in many of these things produce massive returns. But instead, we are a society that wants to invest more on the back end of problems than on the front end of the problems.”
A state of ‘sedentary agitation’
“That’s the problem right now, our democracy is becoming a spectator sport, and we’re all implicated in that. Come on, if you’re sitting at home watching MSNBC, or if you’re like me you're sitting home, I switch to Fox News, just to see how upset I can get. It’s no longer information to engage and ignite action, it’s information to entertain, and we get stuck in a state of what I call sedentary agitation, which means we get so upset about what’s going on, but we don’t do something about it.”
Leadership through love
“Real leadership is not the elected official type. We are in urgent need of leaders in and around America, because change does not come from Washington. It comes to Washington. And it’s led by grassroots soldiers like Frank Hutchins who never give up on their vision of America because they love this country, and love is not a passive word. It is not a soft word. It is not a ‘being’ word. It is a word that demands sacrifice, that necessitates sweat, sometimes blood, an urgent, indefatigable commitment to a greater vision for us.”
"I really do believe we need those agents of activism, who are righteous forces of love that could help to increase the vision of our country for what we can be, should be, and must be."