tv Road to the White House 2020 Sen. Cory Booker in Selma Alabama CSPAN March 4, 2019 5:22am-5:52am EST
mission must be. i, too, come from a faith tradition of being a doer, not just a hearer of the word. part, that if we do our we can take back this country and put it back on the path that selma 54 and forged in years ago. god bless you, brown chapel. sen. booker: all right. all right. all right. thank you. thank you. don't use it down. i'm hoping -- don't you sit
down. i'm hoping there are no math quizzes. i did not study. we are gathered today and i want to give honor to god who is the head of my life. i want to give my respect to bishop wright and supervisor right. i want to give all the clergy gathered here -- i need to give reverend jesseo jackson. he is the first person i ever voted for. old in 1988.s a ballplayer at stanford university and i cast the first vote in my life for the man to my left. i think him for being a trailblazer. to my to give my love sister and a peaceful warrior to
justice. remiss if i did not point out one of my best partners in the u.s. congress, sheila jackson lee. stand up, congresswoman. congresswoman, thank you very much. i want to give honor to the man with a heart. is here.rown i want to recognize him always. that,want you all to know for many years, i have felt this deep sense of gratitude. a leader who win they were first to --they were not going when she was a senator from a neighboring state, she stood up
for farmers and factory workers. she was a leader. i am thankful for that. i am thankful that she went around the planet earth standing in the faces of dictators and tyrants who were suppressing the rights of women. she said women's rights were human rights. she brought peace to conflict. she banished diseases. i want to say today what i am thankful for. the she is my friend. give another round of applause. here.xcited to be she got more votes. she got more votes. wants to remind me
-- he never forgets. he sent me a document about the electoral college being a legacy of slavery. compromises that were made. maybe we need to address that, too. i am here tonight to talk about the blessing of this church. i am here almost quite literally because of something that happened in this church and on that bridge. forgett want anyone to that it was a young man who was shot and beaten following a nonviolent protest while trying to protect his mother and his grandfather. man spent days clinging to life and the only hospital that would treat a young black man. good samaritan hospital.
on februaryears ago 26, 1965. i'm sorry, i forgot pastor strong here. extended to me the hand of friendship and kindness and asked me to come give not just words, but a sermon. and his kindness makes me have to begin by saying that i want to make sure that i will be speaking from bible verse. genesis chapter 37, versus 19 and 20. brother.ke a plane, my so it was jimmy lee jackson. life and death. and the underlying conditions of our society in this country that point of thenition
march that we come here to recognize. to say the name of jimmy lee jackson. and that bible verse that we know. so purposeful because we are here at a time when we still thatunderlying conditions steal the lives and contribute to the deaths of many of our children. wherehere and right now, children and young men are dying . we gathered here that they did then were the conditions are morally unacceptable. where too many young people are dying and dreams are being slaughtered. responde community must
. it was right here in this church. cap -- jimmy lee jackson's casket was held open. the community came together not just to mourn. they answered the question from the bible verse that was spoken when joseph's brother saw him approaching. this dream interpreter. joseph's brother spoke those words and through him into a well. let us slay him and see what becomes of his dream. it was this church right here that answered that call into this faith community with a defiant law that said we will answer what will become of the dream.
to become morally maladjusted. we will not allow ourselves to be corrupted by unacceptable culture. before you even speak to me about your religion, you have to show it to me in how you treat folks. it was this church that did not show the shame of indifference. it was shown to a man beaten and left by the side of the road by a priest. of ah show the love samaritan that understood that we are gathered for a purpose. that thisremind you church gathered in this sanctuary at a time when it was illegal for black folks together together.
even though it was illegal on the day of the march, folks gather the -- gathered with the .nderstanding 600 came together and knew that the unity with strength. hate, youst of raging can form a sanctuary of love and you can still have a beloved community that gathers with testimony. that the true definition of hope is not allowing despair to ever have the last word. and in unity, they began their mark across the bridge. in love that was not a feeling but love that demands sacrifice and action.
they marched together and crossed that bridge. they marched into history. i want to take a step back and let you know that we are here because of that stubborn defiant love. we are here. boys one of those young growing up. my parents got upset walking around like i had somehow earned the privileges of my time. boy, don't walk around this house like you hit a triple. you were born on third base. you have more degrees than the month of july but you ain't hot. life ain't about the degrees that you get but the service that you give. we've got to remember that we cannot handle the moral amnesia to forget the roots that are in the soil and poisoned with
hatred and bigotry. we may be the fruits, but we cannot forget the roots. my roots go back to slavery. poverty, up through segregation, hardship, and pain. up through black churches to the civil rights organization. the roots rose up in the 1960's. when my parents tried to buy their house, they were told by the real estate agent when they saw it was a black family looking for a home in a white neighborhood that this house was pulled off the market. parents told me, remember the struggle it took you to get here. was the grace of god but it was something deeper than this.
it was the embrace that we show each other. it was this decency and this love that we showed one another. my family looked for places to live. they were denied housing because of the color of their skin but they found a group of americans meeting in a living room in new jersey. we may not be able to stop all the hate and bigotry in this world but we will do something about it. they set up an operation where the parents would go look at a house and be told it was sold. the white couple would follow them and find out the house was still for sale. up in in i grew harrington park, new jersey, my parents were told the house was sold. the white couple put a bid on ,he house, papers were drawn up a closing was set and on the day of the closing, the white couple didn't show up.
my father did and a volunteer lawyer. they marched into that office and the real estate agent thought he was caught. angry that he stands up and punch is my dad's lawyer in the face. and he six a dog on my dad. every time my dad would tell that story, the dog would get bigger. eventually i was a teenager getting ready to go to college and he said, you better appreciate what you [laughter] senator booker: we are all here, not because of individual action. i'm not discounting the truth that we have had some heroic individual actions. we have had incredible examples of self-reliance, incredible examples of rugged individuals.
i honor those themes in our country evidenced by millions of individuals. but you all know rugged individualism did not get us to the moon. it did not beat jim crow or the nazis. we did these things together. groups of people pulling together saying, i will not wait for washington. we are going to bring the change to our communities. we did not beat back the denial of women to have the right to vote because a bunch of men in washington around 1900 said it was time for those women to have the right to vote. we did not get voting rights because a bunch of people in washington said it is time for those negro people to have the right to vote. we did not get the right to vote because strom thurmond had an epiphany. frederick douglass said there must be a demand.
we are here because of the grace of the beloved community of people sought to plow seeds of love and watered those with tears, sweat, and blood. we are here today because of that sacrifice. but we cannot indulge in moral amnesia. in this day and age, forget that you honor history not just by reflecting or reciting it. you honor history by emulating it, letting it challenge you and demand from you that you show the lessons you have learned. we come together to honor the
sacrifices today. but we also know that the only way we can honor the work done before us is recommitting ourselves to it. i tell you what. the challenges we face, people want to make it just about the people in the highest offices of the land, people who traffic in hatred who cannot even condemn nazis or white supremacists. people want to point fingers and forget the lesson of king that what we must repent for is not just the words and actions of the bad people but the appalling silence and inaction of the good people. bobby kennedy said that it is violence, the violence of indifference and inaction is what threatens our country. we have become a nation that is too adjusted to injustice, too content with the suffering of our neighbors, a nation too divided against ourselves where
people have lost the common sense of purpose. we have pitiful politics now that pits americans against americans. we failed to honor the creed of our country. we must mutually pledge to each other our lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. turn on the tv and tell me where you see the sacred honor. we are failing to follow in the footsteps of the foot soldiers who brought us thus far and called on us to lift every voice and sing, who from the sanctuary began to form a more beloved community. behold, here cometh the dreamer. the dream is under attack.
the dreamers are in danger. and we need each other more than we realize. we have one nation and one destiny. the dream is under attack. the dream is in danger. the dream is in danger when we have a nation where we are the greatest industrial power on the globe, but now we are leaving our industrial peers in the lowest life expectancy. opioid addiction and suicides pointing to moral pain in this nation. the dream is in danger when actions in this country have shown that we have a callous disregard for life and lead industrial nations in infant mortality. the dream is in danger when the violence of poverty proliferates. when the richest nation has one
out of every five children living in poverty. the dream is in danger when every day people are putting aside life-saving drugs, one in five americans, because they cannot afford it. the dream is in danger when children all over this land are being poisoned by what is in the water in the neighboring county with neglected tropical diseases, where we have millions of children who find it easier to find unleaded gasoline than unleaded water. the dream is in danger when this nation has a criminal justice system that treats you better if you are rich and guilty than if you are poor and innocent. the criminal justice system tortures children by putting them in solitary confinement, shackles pregnant women, locks people up for something that two of the last three presidents admitted to doing. the dream is in danger when we
have a nation that pays teachers poverty wages. the dream is in danger when we can fund the greatest war machine on the planet earth, but when our soldiers come home they have an adequate health care and dequateout of -- ina health care and their suicide rates speak to a poverty of priorities. the dream is in danger when it is easy for criminals to get our hands on guns because we do not pass commonsense gun safety laws in our country. [applause] senator booker: behold, here cometh the dreamer. let us slay him and see what becomes of his dreams. the answer to the demand of the dream is the foot soldiers of history, many of whom are in this room. the answer is we are called to
love each other again, to have a more courageous empathy in this country. the answer is to understand that patriotism is love of country, and you cannot love your country unless you love your fellow countrymen and women. we now are called to understand the spiritual cords that ties together are stronger than the lines that divide us. to remember the lesson of our lives. i said i was here directly because of those marchers. this is what i mean. i went to go back when i was a senator to find those people who helped my family moved into a home. i found the head of the fair housing counsel easily because she still has the fair housing council now. she is 92 years old. now she represents same-sex
couples, muslim americans, americans with disabilities. because for her, justice has no color, race, or religion. she confirmed facts of the story i needed to know. was it a pack of wolves or a dog? i needed to know. to thed -- she sent me lawyer who organized the other lawyers was a businessman when he started organizing. now he was a retired new jersey judge, 84 years old. as a young man in the 1960's, he had just started a business. he was struggling to support a new family. i wanted to know why this man would help black families moving into new jersey. what he told me knocked me over. he said, "i remember the moment
i made the decision." he said "i was sitting on a couch in new jersey watching tv and there was a movie called "judgment at nuremberg."" this was one we had three channels, y'all. they would go off at 11:00 p.m. and then they suddenly had breaking news. it was 1965. we have breaking news all the time now. melania has a jacket, breaking news. but back then, it was a rare thing. they broke away from an ongoing movie to show a bridge in alabama. and he said he watched the news as these marchers left a sacred sanctuary and went to march across that bridge. he said he watched them as they were confronted by alabama state troopers. the marchers were going to kneel and pray but they did not get a chance. i know they were going to kneel
and pray, because i talked with some of the foot soldiers, my heroes. john lewis told me they were going to kneel and pray. just as they went to pray, they get gassed, tear gas shot at them. they get stormed at with billy clubs beating them viciously. this man on the couch in new jersey is horrified by what he sees. he thinks to himself, "i should go to alabama," but realizes he cannot leave his new business. he cannot even afford a plane ticket. but he did not give up. he knew that this was not the beloved community our country is called to be. he knew that he pledged an oath to liberty and justice for all that demanded more from him than just work. knowing he could not go to alabama, he decided to get up right there and say to himself "i'm going to do the best i can
with what i have, where i am." he gets on the phone and starts calling around for who might need an hour of legal work you could spare. he found a woman named lee porter who needed help. they started working together to represent black families. four years later, he gets a case file with two names on it. my parents. they went to work moving my family into the home i grew up in. i'm going to tell you right now, i would not be here if it was not for marchers on the bridge who inspired a man 1000 miles away in new jersey -- [applause] senator booker: who then went on and changed the outcome for a generation not yet born. we are connected to each other. we are tied in one destiny. you are not alone in your fight. when you stand up for justice, when you stand up for truth, when you stand up for love.
and that is where i want to end. behold, here cometh the dreamer. let us slay him. jimmie lee jackson, february 26, 54 years ago. trayvon martin died on february 26, just seven years ago. we are here in selma with gun violence, children are dying. from new orleans to newark, behold, here cometh the dreamer. this is a moral moment in america. the very idea of our country, people are losing faith. it is a moral moment in america.
people are feeling like the forces tearing us apart are stronger than those that bring us together. this is a moral moment in america. here cometh the dreamer. it is time for us to defend the dream. as langston hughes said, to save the dream for one, we must save the dream for all. it is time that we dare to dream again in america. the dream that we can be a country that every child has clean water and clean air, great public schools with professionals who are well-paid. it is time that we dream bigger dreams in america that health care is a right, that poverty is a wrong, and where the days of our children dying from gun violence are long gone. we have got to dream bigger
dreams again in america where we don't lead the world in incarceration, but in job creation and higher education. we must dream bigger dreams again in america that we can banish bigotry and heal hate. and that we will elect leaders that know the only way to unite people. that is what it takes to make america great. i know in my heart that love still thrives in this nation. i know in my bones that we are still a nation that has the capacity for grace in our civic spaces. i know we are here in a church and we are not alone. all across this country, people still are dreaming that america can work for their families and children and seniors. but it is up to us to do the work it takes to make the dream real. and so i call upon everyone, not just to say the words "liberty
and justice for all," but make the sacrifice necessary to make it real. not to say we are a nation of equal justice under the law, but to make the sacrifice to make it real because our politics can be a place where joining together in a civic space, we can have our children joining together. black children, white children, brown children singing the song of our nation. "oh say can you see" that we are finally a nation where everyone can be free. thank you. god bless you now. [applause] stephanie: