Kentucky Politics

State Rep. Charles Booker spoke at the March on Washington, D.C. on Friday, calling for demonstrators to continue demanding racial justice and accountability for police.

Booker ran for the Democratic nomination to take on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this year, but narrowly lost to retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath during the primary election in June.

Booker experienced a late surge in support during the race amid protests over the police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd.

Booker said that his candidacy shows that “we are ready for this moment.”

“If we march together, if we bend that arc together there is nothing we can’t do. There is no mountain we can’t do. And there is no root of racism that we cannot pull up,” Booker said.

Thousands of people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial for the event, which hearkened back to the August 28, 1963 March On Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his iconic “I Have A Dream” speech.

Booker is not running for reelection to his seat in the state House of Representatives; because he ran for U.S. Senate, state law prevented him from running for two offices at the same time.

Since then, he has formed a political outreach organization called Hood To The Holler, echoing his campaign slogan and pushing for policies to help people in both rural and urban parts of the state.

During his speech on Friday, Booker said that action on racial justice and police brutality is needed everywhere.

“The cries we’re hearing across the country right now — from Kenosha to Kentucky, from the hood where I’m from to the hollers in Appalachia, to everywhere in between — those cries let us know that we have more marching to do,” Booker said.

Family members of Breonna Taylor, who was killed by Louisville police in March, will also speak at the the March On Washington.

Booker ended his speech with “Breonna, I’m representing you right now.”

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.