Cory Booker

Growing up, Cory Booker learned that the support of a loving community can overcome even the most impossible-seeming challenges.

When Cory’s parents tried to move into a neighborhood with a good school district, no one would sell them a home because of the color of their skin. A group of volunteer lawyers, who had seen what happened on Bloody Sunday in 1965 and were inspired to help black families in their own community, stepped in to help the family get their home.

Cory’s dad was born poor in the segregated South to a single mom with health problems. His community rallied around him and took him in, putting a roof over his head and passing a collection plate in church to help him pay for college.

From a young age, Cory’s mom reminded him constantly that he and his brother stood on the shoulders of giants: ancestors who struggled, sacrificed, and sweat not just for themselves, but for the greater good.

As a student at Stanford, Cory played varsity football and helped out fellow students by working as a peer crisis counselor. He also spent time mentoring middle school students in East Palo Alto.

Instead of going to work for a big law firm after graduating from Yale Law School, Cory moved to Newark to represent tenants taking on slumlords. Two decades later, including after serving for more than seven years as mayor, Cory still lives in Newark’s Central Ward.