Senator Cory Booker has made his announcement on the first day of Black History Month that he will run for president in 2020.
In a morning tweet and an email to his supporters featuring his first campaign video, the New Jersey Democrat made it official that he was seeking to run for president after weeks of speculation, writing: “I’m running for president. Join me on this journey.”
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) February 1, 2019
In his campaign video, Booker shares of the story of how his parents’ struggled to move their family into a predominantly white neighborhood with great public schools. He also highlighted how as an adult, he moved into Newark’s Central Ward, a low-income inner-city neighborhood where he continues to live.
“Together, we will channel our common pain back into our common purpose,” Booker said at the end of the video announcement. “Together, America, we will rise.”
Fighting for Criminal Justice Reform
The former mayor of Newark added in the campaign video that he envisions a country “where our criminal justice system keeps us safe, instead of shuffling more children into cages and coffins; where we see the faces of our leaders on television and feel pride, not shame.”
Booker’s passionate speech last December on criminal justice sent up flags of hope that he just might be gearing up to step into the Presidential fray for a run in 2020.
“I’m the only U.S. senator that lives in the inner city. I don’t know if any other senator had shootings on their block this year,” Booker said at a Bend Toward Justice event hosted by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
Booker reminisced about the killing of a 28-year-old man earlier this year that he once knew.
In front of civil rights advocates and advocates, Booker passionately spoke about the difficulties and disparities that exist when it comes to how African-Americans are dealt with in the criminal justice system compared to whites.
It is a “crisis in our whole body politic” he said. He argued that drug crimes are harsher for young Black men which is problematic given that the offenses are for things “two out of the last three presidents have done,” given mention to an admission by former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush’s past indiscretions on reportedly using drugs.
Drugs and guns, he said, have claimed countless lives across the country, but he vowed to keep up the fight even as a bipartisan prison and sentencing reform bill hangs in the balance in Congress.
“We have come this far by faith. The faith our ancestors never gave up,” he added. “Stay faithful, and know that faith without works is dead. We have work to do. We have battles to fight. Our country still calls. The dream still demands. America is in the balance.”
Authorities say on October 26, 2018, Simmons allegedly used his personal cell phone to call Booker’s Camden office and repeatedly promised to put a 9mm gun in his face. Simmons also included several racial slurs in his angry tirade.
“I’m just doin’ my guns a blazin’ pal. I got a nine millimeter I’ll put in your (expletive) face, you (expletive). You wanna, you wanna challenge me?,” he taunted in the message, according to a copy of the indictment.
NJ.com reports that, according to a federal indictment unsealed Monday, Ricky Lynn Simmons faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for leaving a threatening voicemail for senator full of expletives.