Secretary Hillary Clinton was scheduled to speak to the National Association of Latino Elected Officials 32nd Annual Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada today about early childhood education and immigration.
She did discuss those important topics, but she also weighed in on the horrific tragedy of the mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, speaking for many of us as she said, “You know the shock and pain of this crime of hate strikes deep. Nine people—women and men—cut down at prayer. Murdered in a .house of God. It just broke my heart.” Clinton said that today is a day to hold each other even closer, “The church where these killings took place is known as Mother Emanuel. And like any mother, it holds its flock close. Today is a day to hold each other even closer.”
Clinton added, “More than fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told the families of the girls killed in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, ‘You do not walk alone.’ Today we say to the families of Mother Emanuel and to all the people of Charleston, ‘You do not walk alone.'”
Below is the full section of Secretary Clinton’s speech that addressed the pain and agony of the victims’ families and friends and the nation, so you can read it in context:
Before I begin, I want to say a few words about the tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina. I was in Charleston yesterday. I went to a technical school—Trident Tech—where I met with young people who are serving apprenticeships. It was such a positive, upbeat, optimistic event. So many of those young people were for the first time seeing what they could do and being paid for doing it.
The administration and faculty of the school was so proud. The businesses that were employing the diverse group of apprentices were getting their money’s worth. And I left feeling not only great about Charleston, but great about America.
When I got to Las Vegas, I learned about the horrific massacre in the church. You know the shock and pain of this crime of hate strikes deep. Nine people—women and men—cut down at prayer. Murdered in a .house of God. It just broke my heart. That of course is the last place we should ever see violence. We shouldn’t see it anywhere.
In the days ahead we will once again ask what led to this terrible tragedy and where we as a nation need to go. In order to make sense of it, we have to be honest. We have to face hard truths about race, violence, guns, and division.
Today, we join our hearts with the people of Charleston and South Carolina—people everywhere—who pray for the victims, who pray for the families, who pray for a community that knows too much sorrow. And we pray for justice. That the people of Charleston find peace and that our country finds unity.
The church where these killings took place is known as Mother Emanuel. And like any mother, it holds its flock close. Today is a day to hold each other even closer. More than fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. told the families of the girls killed in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, “You do not walk alone.” Today we say to the families of Mother Emanuel and to all the people of Charleston, “You do not walk alone.”
You do not walk alone because millions of Americans—regardless of race or creed or ethnicity or religion—are walking with you. In grief. In solidarity. In determination. We are with you. And we stand with you as we seek answers and take action. How many innocent people in our country—from little children, to church members, to movie theater attendees—how many people do we need to see cut down before we act?
So as we mourn and as our hearts break a little more, and as we send this message of solidarity, we will not forsake those who have been victimized by gun violence. This time we have to find answers together. I pledge to you, I will work with you—those of you who are local officials, those of you who are thinking hard about your own communities. Let’s unite in partnership, not just to talk, but to act.
Clinton assured Americans whose hearts are hurting that they aren’t alone, that she will work with them and local officials, to unite in partnership to take action.
As president, Clinton would face the same uphill battle on this matter as President Obama, unless voters wise up and vote non-NRA puppets into Congress, where laws are made. But direction matters from leaders, and this is the perfect note to hit for a leader. Clinton unified and expressed compassion, called for action and let people know they don’t face the dark evil of hatred alone.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.