The 49-year-old lawmaker is the second African-American to enter the contest to take on Trump.
By Dartunorro Clark, NBC News
Sen. Cory Booker officially launched his 2020 presidential campaign for president on Friday, joining a fast-growing field of hopefuls who are vying to take on President Donald Trump.
The New Jersey Democrat released a video and sent an email to supporters announcing his decision to run for the White House, invoking a message of economic populism and racial justice along with a veiled swipe at the president’s leadership.
“I believe that we can build a country where no one is forgotten, no one is left behind; where parents can put food on the table; where there are good paying jobs with good benefits in every neighborhood; where our criminal justice system keeps us safe, instead of shuffling more children into cages and coffins; where we see the faces of our leaders on television and feel pride, not shame,” Booker said.
“It is not a matter of can we, it’s a matter of do we have the collective will, the American will? I believe we do. Together, we will channel our common pain back into our common purpose. Together, America, we will rise.”
Booker, 49, who previously served as mayor of Newark, New Jersey, is the second African-American to enter the 2020 race, after Sen. Kamala Harris of California. His decision to announce his candidacy on Feb. 1 — the first day of Black History Month — could be seen as a nod to the historic nature of his bid to become the nation’s second black president.
“The history of our nation is defined by collective action; by interwoven destinies of slaves and abolitionists; of those born here and those who chose America as home; of those who took up arms to defend our country, and those who linked arms to challenge and change it,” Booker said.
Booker kicked off his first day as a presidential candidate with phone interviews with Black radio hosts on two shows and an interview almost entirely in Spanish on Univision’s morning show, Despierta América.
“Folks are feeling left out, folks are feeling left behind…I’m running for president to change that,” Booker said on the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show.
He also spoke about mass incarceration and inequality, advocating for criminal justice, drug law reform and an end to marijuana “prohibition,” while pushing a message of unity and inclusion.
This article originally appeared on NBC News.