Kenneth recently had the honor of introducing his good friend, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, at a forum hosted by Columbia University for students participating in the Kenneth Cole Community Engagement Program. Booker, who’s credited with significantly lowering gun violence, improving schools, and raising the quality of life for residents, has an astoundingly impressive resume of public service and community building.
Sharing firsthand stories, Booker passionately (and with lots of funny asides, including a riff about his shaved head offering “less wind resistance on the climb up the mountain to success”) told the group that “being an agent of change has nothing to do with chance and everything to do with choice.” He talked about the “moral imagination” it takes to change the things you can’t accept and to “play large in the world.” “The world you see outside is a reflection of what you see inside yourself,” he explained. “If you see only darkness, then you’re not someone who can help. But if you see beauty and promise inside, you’ll see hope and opportunity on the outside.” As he went off to an interview with Piers Morgan, he left his audience of next-generation change agents with the challenge to take responsibility and yell to the world ‘let me be of service.’