Democratic presidential candidate and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker spoke with OU student leaders before his event began on Thursday, thanking them for their political participation.
Booker only met with them at Volare Pizzeria Bar + Lounge for a few minutes, but he introduced himself and shook hands with members of the Student Government Association, Voto Latino, the Gender + Equality Center, the Black Student Association and the OU College Democrats, as well as the College Democrats of Oklahoma.
SGA President Adran Gibbs said the experience was “pretty surreal.”
“He said a few words, mainly about activism and engagement, thanking us for participating in political discourse, for getting involved and for essentially fighting the good fight,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs said he’d been following Booker’s career since the 2016 Democratic National Convention, where he’d spoken and Gibbs was “inspired by his words.” When they shook hands, he chatted with Booker for a few moments.
“I thanked him for his willingness to get up on the big stage and represent people of color,” Gibbs said. “It gives myself and others a platform and an opportunity to feel empowered, like they can do the same thing and accomplish the same goals.”
Having Norman host presidential candidates and being able to meet with Booker has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Gibbs said.
“It's incredibly important for people who feel underrepresented by the current leadership, whether it's at the state or the federal level, just to have a different group of people come through,” Gibbs said. “It's just good to see some people — knowing they might not fare well in Oklahoma — just to still make their way here and listen to us.”