October 2, 2009

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Newark’s mayor discusses positive change at college forum

Booker: "Do we have
the will to do it?"

NEW PALTZ – Since Cory Booker became mayor of Newark, NJ in 2006, the murder rate dropped by more than a third, one of the largest decreases nationwide.

Booker, a Rhodes Scholar with a Yale law degree who was originally elected as a Newark City councilman in 1998, has been warned not to be too optimistic, but he does not see public service in any other way.

Booker imparted some of his wisdom and experience as a guest speaker during SUNY New Paltz Distinguished Speaker series Thursday.

“In America today, it’s no longer an issue of can we do something,” he said. “It’s only now an issue: Do we have the will to do it?”

Booker is hopeful positive change can turn around lives, but he’s also aware that America’s apathetic past can lead to a hypocritical stance that’s unfair and harmful.

“How dare we as a nation resign ourselves to the problems as we see it,” he said. “The land of the free and the home of the brave should not warehouse more people in prison than any other country on the globe. We should not see people, as I do in my city, go to bed fearing for their lives. Aren’t we a bolder nation than that?”

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