Booker says NAACP must ‘rally our nation towards justice’ in video message to convention in N.J.

Published: Jul. 18, 2022

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker rallied delegates to the NAACP’s annual convention in Atlantic City Monday, criticizing recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court on abortion, guns and climate change and telling the civil rights organization to organize and vote.

“We have unfinished work to do,” he said in a video played at the convention.

Booker, the first Black elected to the U.S. Senate from New Jersey, singled out rulings by the high court’s Republican-nominated majority that revoked abortion rights, threw out state restrictions on guns and made it harder for the federal government to address climate change.

The GOP-appointed majority already has rolled back the rights guaranteed under the landmark Voting Rights Act and weakened the rights of workers to organize into unions.

“We must protect this nation against an onslaught, against a court that as moved more radically to the right, against what they are going to do to undermine constitutional rights,” Booker said. “A lot of the benchmark rights of our nation are now under threat.”

Like the voting rights decision, which has led to a bevy of new restrictions in Republican-led states, the recent rulings disproportionately affect people of color, said Booker, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

For example, he cited one study that said that overturning the Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision could increase Black maternal deaths by 33%. And minority communities will be hardest hit by the failure to address climate change and reduce pollution.

He said he was issuing the “same clarion call of those who came before us to rally our nation towards justice.”

The NAACP helped lead the civil rights battles of the 1950s and 1960s that prompted landmark legislation giving Black Americans the rights denied them for decades.

Booker’s call to action came in advance of the 2022 midterm elections, where Republicans —who have blocked efforts to make abortion rights the law of the land, to pass strict new gun laws, and to expand voting rights  are favored to wrest at least one house of Congress from the Democrats who now hold slim majorities

“It’s all about mobilizing and informing and organizing folks around this country,” Booker said. “When we lift every voice and vote and work, we can win fights we can advance this nation. We can make a difference.”

Booker highlighted the ascension of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court.

“We must celebrate this moment,” he said. “We know that this accomplishment was achieved because of the work we have done.”

That historic moment was a sign that there are good times ahead, he said.

“This is not a time to despair,” he said. “Let us look forward to the days ahead. let us be prepared for the work and the challenges before us.”

And he concluded his speech by quoting the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King at the 1963 March on Washington.

“We can overcome,’' Booker said. “We shall rise. We will make our nation truly one where justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

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published this page in News and Politics 2022-07-19 02:46:23 -0700