Hillary: 'America's long struggle with race is far from finished'
© Getty Images

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCountering the ongoing Republican delusion Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future MORE said Tuesday that the shooting deaths of nine African-Americans at a black church in Charleston, S.C. at the hands of a white suspect is evidence the nation has not gone far in addressing the issue of race.

“I know it’s tempting to dismiss this tragedy as an isolated incident, to believe in today’s America that bigotry is largely behind us, that institutional racism no longer exists,” Clinton, the 2016 Democratic frontrunner, said at a black church outside of St. Louis. “But despite our best efforts and highest hopes, America’s long struggle with race is far from finished.”

“We can’t hide from the hard truths about race and justice,” Clinton continued. “We have to name them and own them and change them.”

ADVERTISEMENT
Clinton lauded South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R-S.C.) for pushing to remove the Confederate flag from her state’s Capitol grounds, and hailed Walmart, Amazon, EBay, and Sears by name for taking merchandise with the Confederate symbol off their shelves.

But Clinton argued that the move to remove the Confederate flag from public grounds is just the first step in eradicating what she described as institutional segregation in the U.S.

“You know and I know this is just the beginning of what we have to do,” Clinton said. “The truth is that civil rights in America are still far from where they need to be. Our schools are still segregated. In fact, they’re more segregated than they were in the 1960s.”

The former secretary of State said there were nearly 6 million young Americans between the ages of 16 and 24, many of whom are minorities, that are currently out of school and out of work.

“Statistics like these are a rebuke to the real progress we’ve made, and an urgent call for us to act publicly, politically, and personally,” Clinton said.

Clinton's comments came at a church in Florissant, Mo. just miles from where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed in an altercation with Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. 

That shooting sparked the "Black Lives Matter" protests that have continued throughout the year, magnified by a rash of high-profile incidents in which black men have died in altercations with white police officers.

“We need to do all we can to ensure that communities respect law enforcement, and that law enforcement respect our communities,” Clinton said to big applause on Tuesday.

The issues of race and guns have been reignited after a 21-year-old white man allegedly shot and killed nine congregants in a historic black Charleston, S.C. church.

Dylann Roof, the suspect, can be seen in pictures before the shooting posing with the Confederate flag and wearing the flag of apartheid South Africa. He reportedly told investigators he carried out the attack to start a race war. 

In the days after the Charleston shooting, Clinton has aggressively lobbied for action on gun control, calling for expansions on background checks and rules to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.

“We need to come together for common sense gun reforms that keep our communities safe,” Clinton said Tuesday.

Clinton also ticked through policy proposals she said would help create opportunities for minorities.

She renewed her call for universal voter registration, and advocated for tax credits that invest in apprenticeships for the economically disadvantaged, programs to attract investment into communities that have been “ignored or written off,” and incentives for women and minority entrepreneurs.