We’ve long admired New Jersey senator Cory Booker for his plant-based M.O. and for promoting animal welfare. Now we’re applauding Booker for his inspirational words in the wake of the death of George Floyd in the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

In an emotional video from an MSNBC interview with news anchor Chris Hayes that Booker—the first black senator for the state of New Jersey—recently shared on Instagram, we see how deeply he was personally impacted by Floyd’s murder. “Our rightful outrage over George Floyd's murder must result in meaningful action and real change,” Booker captions the video clip. “In this moral moment, we must choose to be agents of justice.”

When asked how Floyd’s death has personally impacted Booker, the senator responds, “It’s gut-wrenching. It’s deeply painful. I think what’s painful about it is the frustration that yet another black man had died, an unarmed black man at the hands of police officers,” he begins. 

“I’ve seen this pattern play out where you see an uproar of outrage but then we get back into a regular system where we don’t understand this is not a sometimes thing. This kind of racism, this kind of bigotry is so institutionalized that it puts so many of our fellow countrymen and women at risk every day,” he continues, noting the inequalities in not only our criminal justice system but also our physical environments and healthcare system, citing the example of black women dying at four times the rate of white women during childbirth.

In the seven-minute clip, Booker goes on to talk about racism and society and what we can do to fight these pervasive injustices. 

“I hope you and I can continue to be agents to inspire the consciousness of others so that we can do something really about this, make real change,” he concludes in his thought-provoking discussion with Hayes. Watch below.

Indeed, the Black community is disproportionately underrepresented in our vegan one, and at The Beet, we’re working hard to provide the resources and information to help be part of the change. Check out this article about Tracye McQuirter, a public health nutritionist, who is launching the “10,000 Black Vegan Women” and 10 Black Vegan Influencers Who Inspire Us Every Day. For more stories and info, check out our Vegans of Color category here.