Clinton: It’s Tempting To See Charleston Killings As An Isolated Incident

Photo: Charlie Neibergall/ AP Photo.
For months, America has been engaged in a national debate about race, gun violence, and policing abuses. With another, particularly tragic massacre just behind us, Hillary Clinton, more than most other presidential candidates, is using her campaign to join that conversation. At a church in Florissant, MO, today, Clinton spoke at a community meeting, calling last week's murders of nine members of a Bible study group at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC, "racist terrorism." That word, "terrorism," has been used by many people but has largely been avoided by most political leaders. "It's tempting to dismiss this as an isolated incident," she said, and to believe "that institutionalized racism no longer exists. But despite our best efforts and our hightest hopes, America’s long struggle with race is far from finished." Clinton continued, saying, "We can’t hide from hard truths about race and justice. We have to own them and name them and change them." The former Secretary of State highlighted her support for universal pre-K, incentives for businesses to establish apprenticeship programs, stronger gun laws, and automatic universal voter registration when people turn 18. Clinton has made serious efforts to include systemic racism and its effects as a part of her campaign for months, and her trip to a town so close to Ferguson, MO — where the death of Michael Brown last August sparked massive protests and helped form the Black Lives Matter movement — is an important if not unexpected move. Young voters and voters of color will be essential to any potential victory for Democrats next year, which means there will be more community meetings and listening sessions ahead for Clinton and her supporters. Although several Republican presidential candidates avoided taking a stance on the Confederate flag flying over the South Carolina statehouse grounds until after Gov. Nikki Haley announced she wanted it taken down, Clinton called for its removal this weekend.

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