Cory Booker, the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, will be the second speaker in the George T. Hunter Lecture Series at UTC on Thursday, November 18, 7 p.m., Roland Hayes Concert Hall, located inside the UTC Fine Arts Center and Vine and Palmetto Streets.

Admission is free and the lecture is open to the public. Seating is limited and is provided on a first-come, first served basis. Overflow rooms with live streaming video of the lecture will be provided in the Benwood Auditorium and the Card Auditorium, both in the UTC Engineering, Computer Science and Math Building.

Since his election in 2006, Booker has focused on the revitalization of Newark, addressing some of its greatest challenges including reducing crime, improving public education, and attracting new businesses to the urban core.

Booker’s lecture will focus on the turnaround of Newark and its implications for Chattanooga, as well as his personal story of achieving success as a young community activist in Newark.

The George T. Hunter Lecture Series is sponsored by the Benwood Foundation, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, the Ochs Center for Metropolitan Studies, and CreateHere.

Writer Malcolm Gladwell kicked-off the series for 2010-2011. Past speakers in the series include Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright; Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, environmental justice advocate Majora Carter, and New York Times columnist David Brooks.

“Mayor Booker has garnered a great deal of attention nationally for his ambitious efforts to revitalize Newark,” said Corinne Allen, Executive Director of the Benwood Foundation. “As we work to address our own community issues here in Chattanooga, there is much that can be learned from the challenges and successes in other cities.”

Booker will conduct a seminar with UTC students, CreateHere Fellows, and other young community leaders. The topic of the seminar will be “Community Leadership and Change.”

“We have definitely been following the progress of Mayor Booker’s efforts in Newark,” said CreateHere Director Helen Johnson. “We are so excited to have him visit Chattanooga, and we believe that he will provide inspiration to young leaders in our community.”

From Cory Booker’s official biography:

Booker took the oath of office as Mayor of New Jersey’s largest city in July 2006 following a sweeping electoral victory, and was re-elected for a second term in another overwhelming majority in 2010.

As his second term gets underway, Booker and his administration have made meaningful strides towards achieving the City’s mission: to set a national standard for urban transformation by marshaling its resources to achieve security, economic abundance and an environment that is nurturing and empowering for individuals and families.

As of July 1, 2008, Newark, New Jersey, led the nation among large cities for reductions in shootings and murders, achieving decreases of more than 40% reductions in both categories. Radical transformation of the Newark Police Department under Booker’s leadership, together with the deployment of over 100 surveillance cameras throughout City, has led to Newark setting the nationwide pace for crime reduction.

Booker’s political career began in 1998, after serving as Staff Attorney for the Urban Justice Center in Newark. He rose to prominence as Newark’s Central Ward Councilman. During his four years of service from 1998-2002, then-Councilman Booker earned a reputation as a leader with innovative ideas and bold actions, from increasing security in public housing to building new playgrounds. This work was the foundation for his leadership as Mayor. For this work, he has been recognized in numerous publications, including, among others, TIME, Esquire, New Jersey Monthly (naming him as one of New Jersey’s top 40 under 40), Black Enterprise (naming him to the Hot List, America’s Most Powerful Players under 40) and The New York Times Magazine.”

Booker is the second speaker in the 2010-2011 George T. Hunter Lecture Series. Subsequent speakers will be:

Geoffrey Canada, founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone– February 15, 2011

Dr. Vandana Shiva, philosopher and sustainable agriculture activist– April 26, 2011

For more information visit www.benwood.org.

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