A Challenge From Cory Booker

“This has got to be a MOVEMENT election.”

As news continues to swirl about the current man occupying the White House—and the latest social media challenge, some good, others, not at all—U.S. Presidential candidate, Cory Booker stopped in Chicago to set the bar higher for voters hoping to see a new and better America in 2020.

Booker, who served as mayor of New Jersey from 2006 to 2013, currently holds office as the first African-American Senator from New Jersey. Now, he has his sights set on the White House. The presidential hopeful offered a humble challenge to supporters on July 15 at Harry Carray’s, “Get behind someone who represents the best of our values,” said Booker. “This has got to be an election where we speak to the heart and gut of this nation.”

The need for more vision and direction from U.S. leadership—particularly from all who have stepped up to campaign for the highest office in the nation—was also mentioned as an area of concern. According to Booker, too much focus is on defeating Donald Trump in 2020. “The election is not about one man,” he said. “We should have higher ambition. Beating Donald Trump is the floor, not the ceiling; it gets us to the valley, not the mountaintop.”

As concern, sadness, and downright disgust grows regarding the conduct of the 45th President and his administration, Booker urged the audience to channel their energy and emotions elsewhere. He invited everyone to visit his community and familiarize themselves with an ongoing crisis, where children drink bottled water at school because of the amount of lead in the plumbing system—levels twice that of Flint.

If that was not enough of a reminder of the tragedies surrounding us every day in the midst of an election season, Booker reminded the room of the Trillions of dollars of infrastructure problems that await Millennials and Generation Z.

“You know what infrastructure is now?” Booker asked. “It looks like broadband.”

Senator Booker closed out the evening with a story that served as a reminder of the atrocities African-Americans have endured in the fight for equality. He offered a fond but troubling story about his parents, who moved from Washington, D.C. to New Jersey, only to face housing discrimination. While his family eventually secured their desired home, it came at a cost. One involving his father being attacked by a dog in the office of a real estate agent—even with legal representation present—to close on a home for which they had previously been denied.

Booker urged us all to not shudder or wave off the importance of love at a time when the current president freely spitefully suggests that four elected officials—all women of color—should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done.”

“The more we hate each other the less we will be able to solve problems,” said Booker.

He followed with a promise to challenge citizens to “Do more, be more engaged, and fight moral vandalism with defiant dreams.” 

More than anything, Booker urged attendees to follow the advice of his later father; to serve. He recalled a directive given to him during his journey as a public servant.

“You pay a price for the blessings you have—it’s called service.”

If the world is eager for another internet challenge to partake in, Senator Cory Booker proposed a great one on Monday night. That challenge should include each of us being living examples of the power that lies in reminding ourselves and our loved ones that leadership is not about position “It’s about fulfilling purpose.”

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