Faith and Family Have Always Guided Cory Booker
Over 100 years ago, my great-grandmother moved to Iowa from Alabama with her nine children looking for opportunity.
She found it in a coal mining town called Buxton, a community where during the time of segregation, black folks and white folks, the descendants of slaves and European immigrants, worked together and lived together.
It is in part because of that community that my son, Cory Booker, is now running for president.
Cory’s commitment to service is a family tradition that stems from the community values of Buxton. While Cory has dedicated his life to public service-- as a tenant right’s lawyer representing low-income families, as a city councilman, as mayor of Newark, and now as a U.S. Senator-- he was not the first in our family to dedicate his life to helping others.
My father was an active union organizer in Detroit during the early days of the United Auto Workers. Later on, when my parents moved to Las Vegas, my mother helped found the city’s chapter of the Urban League. And I am proud that 56 years ago, I volunteered to help plan the March on Washington and left my mark on the moral development of our country.
From my father to me, and now to Cory and his brother, the torch of serving others has been continually passed from one generation to the next.
My late husband Cary and I raised Cory and his brother to understand the power of that kind of fellowship, of service and the understanding that we truly need one another.
When our boys were growing up, I taught Sunday school, and in our faith tradition, we are taught what is written in Galatians 6:2, “Carry each other’s burdens.”
For our family, Galatians 6:2 has a special significance as my husband and I relied on help from a white couple and white lawyer associated with the Fair Housing Council to help shoulder our burden during the height of real estate steering and redlining.
When we were unable to carry the burden ourselves, others stepped in. As a result, we were able to purchase the home Cory and his brother grew up in.
Raising Cary and Cory, we never let them forget that it was the selfless acts of others that enabled them to be who they are today.
It is the power of faith and others that drives and unites us.
Which is why I am not surprised that Cory has emerged as a leader on so many moral issues that affect black and brown communities -- from his bold leadership on gun violence prevention, to his plan to end homelessness and ensure everyone has access to affordable housing to his proposal to dramatically reduce the number of American children living in poverty. Cory’s faith guides him in everything he does.
The truth is, that is who Cory has always been -- someone who brings people together to get things done for people who are struggling and who have been left out and left behind. He has never forgotten that it was the actions of others that allow him to now help carry the burdens of others.
That’s why, at the age of 28, when he could have gone anywhere in the world fresh out of Yale Law School, Cory chose to move to Newark, New Jersey, and help families take on slumlords.
That’s why, as mayor of Newark, he brought together philanthropists, developers, businesses and government partners to implement a series of policies that his city couldn’t afford on its own but needed to help turn the city around and improve the lives of his constituents.
That’s why, as a United States Senator, he was able to reach across the aisle to get criminal justice reform passed into law under the Trump administration.
That is why, for these reasons and countless more, there is no doubt in my mind that he is the best choice to unite the Democratic party and our country in common cause and he will fight every single day to make justice and opportunity real for everyone.
Just recently we marked the seventh anniversary of the passing of my beloved husband, and Cory and his brother’s beloved father.
I know how proud Cory’s dad would be of him right now, of what and who he is fighting for, and more importantly, that he has remained true to himself the entire time. And I know that Cory will be the kind of president who makes us all proud -- of him and of our country.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carolyn Booker is a Las Vegas resident and the mother of presidential candidate and U.S Senator Cory Booker