New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker on Thursday became the second Democratic candidate for president to visit Tulsa this month.
Community leaders took Booker on a tour of the Greenwood District, letting him see firsthand where the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre happened. Booker said he heard about the massacre as a child.
"I thought I knew a lot about it, but a lot of Americans think it’s about one street and not an entire community. I was one of those Americans. I thought this was just a business district and not the kind of widespread devastation I learned about," Booker said.
Booker said the present is repeating that ugly past, as most terrorist attacks since 9/11 have been tied to right-wing extremists and white supremacist groups.
"It’s why as president that I’m going to have an office that deals with hate crimes and white supremacist violence, because we cannot tolerate terrorism in our country. We must name it. We must deal with it. We must fight it. And we must elevate the ideals of this country, which are about unity," Booker said.
After his tour of Greenwood, Booker spoke at Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church to help kick off celebrations of the church's centennial.
In his roughly 40-minute speech, Booker called on Democrats to come together around goals like health care for all, criminal justice reform and rejecting resurgent white supremacist groups.
"The call is not to beat Republicans, it’s to unite Americans in common cause and common purpose. This is not a partisan fight. It is a moral moment," Booker said.
Booker also pledged $1,000 to Vernon AME's renovation campaign and its Black Wall Street Memorial. The Rev. Dr. R.A. Turner presented Booker with a brick from the church basement, originally laid in 1919.
Booker was scheduled to attend an OU College Democrats block party on Thursday evening.
Booker is among 10 candidates who qualified for the second Democratic presidential debate on Sept. 12. He trails several candidates in the polls but says the past two Democratic presidents were considered long shots at this stage in their campaigns.