Former Newark City Councilman Cory Booker Becomes TC Trustee
Published in Inside - Volume VIII, No. 9
In April, the Teachers College Board of Trustees elected former Newark City Councilman and community activist Cory Booker.
A Northern New Jersey native, Booker's passion for politics, justice and education was instilled at an early age by a family committed to change. His parents successfully fought against racial discrimination and shattered corporate ceilings, inspiring him to pursue a life of breaking barriers and working for change. With his election to the Board, he brings his passion to help education to TC.
"One of the last great challenges for our nation, if it is ever to fully achieve itself, is to ensure a quality education for everyone," said Booker. "The very destiny of the democracy will be determined by how we meet this challenge."
Booker, who was an All-American football player, has helped people throughout his academic career. While a varsity football player and class president at Stanford University, he ran a local crisis hotline and organized programs for city youth in East Palo Alto, California. While studying history at Oxford University, he ran a mentoring program for low-income youth.
As a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, Booker made headlines through his friendship with then Lubavitcher Rabbi Schmuley Boteach. Their friendship, and Booker's leadership of the L'Chaim Society, was a powerful example of Booker's strong belief in the strength of diversity and the tremendous possibilities when people move beyond simple racial, ethnic, and religious tolerance.
While earning his law degree at Yale University, he co-founded and ran legal clinics to help low-income residents of New Haven. He is currently the director of "Newark Now," a grassroots non-profit group, a senior fellow at Rutgers University School of Public Policy and Planning, and a partner at Booker, Rabinowitz, Trenk, Lubetkin, Tully, DiPasquale, & Webster, P.C., a law firm in Newark.
As Newark's Central Ward councilman, he introduced dozens of pieces of legislation and resolutions that have impacted housing, youth, safety, jobs, and created better government. He earned a reputation as a leader with innovative ideas and a willingness to take bold actions. From increased security in public housing to new playgrounds, his initiatives are changing lives.
Booker lives his politics, often in unconventional and creative ways. In the summer of 1999, he went on a 10-day hunger strike in one of the most drug-infested housing complexes in Newark, an effort that resulted in increased police presence and improved security for residents. For five months in 2000, Booker took to the streets; he lived in a motor home and parked it on the worst drug corners in the city, inspiring residents and businesses to fight against drug dealing and crime. For this Time magazine called him "The Savior of Newark," and it proved to the city and the nation how dedicated he is to fighting inner-city problems.previous page