New Jersey U.S. Senate candidate and Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) spoke Saturday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, noting that, despite the progress made in the last half-century, "we still have work to do."
Booker, speaking on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, said his father frequently reminded him of the privileges he had growing up in the late 20th century.
"When I used to walk around the community, walk around our home, he used to look at me and say, 'Boy, don't you dare walk around here like you hit a triple because you were born on third base. You are enjoying freedoms, opportunity, technology, things that were given to you bought by the struggles and the sacrifices and the work of those who came before. Don't you forget where you come from,'" Booker said.
He continued, "The truth of the matter is, that the dream still demands that the moral conscience of our country still calls us, that hope still needs heroes. We need to understand that there is still work to do."
Booker, who won the Democratic nomination for the New Jersey Senate race last week, pointed to a number of issues still plaguing the black community and the country as a whole, including gun violence, childhood poverty and urban air and water quality.
"We still have work to do," he said.
Booker was followed by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), who echoed the Newark mayor's message.
“Too many have no voice in our democracy because they’re told they have no valid ID with which to vote," Hoyer said, referencing the surge in harsh voting laws passed by Republican legislatures in recent months. "We will not rest. That is our pledge today. It was our pledge in 1963. And a half-century later we renew that pledge."
Over 100,000 individuals were expected to attend Saturday's events on the National Mall, which mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic "I Have A Dream" speech.