WASHINGTON — In his book, “United,” U.S. Sen. Cory Booker called civil rights icon John Lewis “a living legend and a hero of mine and to many.”
He sponsored legislation giving the Congressional Gold Medal to Lewis and others who participated in the legendary 1965 Selma to Montgomery march that led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
Booker, D-N.J., and Lewis, now a Democratic congressman from Georgia, testified together before the Senate Judiciary Committee against President Donald Trump’s nomination of then-U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general.
Now, to mark the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, Lewis joined Booker for what he plans will be the first of a weekly podcast on justice issues. During the first podcast, which airs Monday, Lewis fields questions both from Booker and some of the senator’s 3.8 million Twitter followers.
Booker gets new national platform
The podcast provides Booker another platform in advance of the 2020 presidential election. Booker is mentioned as a potential candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Called “Lift Every Voice,” the podcast is designed to focus on injustice and inequality and highlight the efforts of activists and organizers.
“I know from living in Newark and traveling to communities across New Jersey and the country that many of the greatest, most powerful voices in our political process come from those on the ground who are painstakingly fighting each and every day to improve their neighborhoods,” Booker said.
“I hope this podcast will elevate their voices and shine light on important issues of righteousness and compassion that will inspire others to action.”
I’ll be sitting down with one of my heroes – @repjohnlewis – tomorrow morning to talk about #goodtrouble and how we keep making progress in the fight for justice.
Reply with any questions you have for him – I’ll do my best to ask! pic.twitter.com/KgkCCBlrcp
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) January 8, 2018
Booker responded to Trump’s election last in November 2016 by urging Americans to “recommit to the cause of our country.” In January, he pledged to be a leading voice of opposition to policies he opposed.
“In a democracy, especially, it’s the power of the people that is greater than the people in power,” Booker said at the beginning of the podcast.
Booker, the first black to represent New Jersey in the U.S. Senate, has made overhauling the criminal justice system his signature issue since his election.
He has called for alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders, saying there are more black men behind bars now than were slaves in 1850.
Even his call to legalize marijuana on the federal level has been couched in terms of racial injustice. Booker has said more than half of all drug arrests involve marijuana, and blacks are almost four times more likely to be arrested than whites, even though their marijuana use is the same.
He recently joined the same committee he…