CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In the wake of Keith Lamont Scott’s death, Hillary Clinton made an impassioned plea to heal racial divides at a black church here Sunday morning, urging the country to see recent violence “through our children’s eyes.”
“Our entire country should take a moment to really look at what’s going on here and across America to imagine” how young people view tensions between police and minority communities, Clinton argued.
“I’m a grandmother and like every grandmother, I worry about the safety and security of my grandchildren. But my worries are not the same as black grandmothers,” Clinton said, adding that every child, regardless of race, “deserves the same sense of security” and “deserves the same hope.”
The Democratic nominee was first invited by faith leaders to visit Charlotte after Scott was shot and killed by police earlier this month. Ensuing protests and unrest made the trip more challenging. Last Sunday, Clinton postponed the visit after city officials worried it would divert security resources.
Clinton, seated next to Rep. Alma Adams in the second row of Little Rock A.M.E. Zion Church, nodded along and listened intently for the entirety of Sunday’s service. She also mouthed the words to several songs throughout.
As usual, she started her remarks with the Psalm she uses to open all of her church appearances: "This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Clinton noted the city's recent wound.
"Now we don't yet know all the details about the shooting, but we do know this family and this community is in pain. And therefore we pray for them and we pray for all families who have suffered similar loses," she said.
Clinton was joined by Zianna Oliphant, a young girl who made headlines after her tearful appeal before the Charlotte City Council last week. “We are black people and we shouldn’t have to feel like this,” Oliphant said Monday.
“When I read what she said, I had tears in my eyes too,” Clinton told the congregation. “What courage and clarity that young lady showed to the world, but can you imagine? Nine years old. She should be thinking about happy adventures, dreaming of all the wonderful things her future holds for her.”
Near the end of her speech, Clinton invited Oliphant to join her at the pulpit. They hugged as the congregation rose to its feet and gave both of them a standing ovation.
Clinton did not mention Donald Trump’s name once, but intentionally alluded to the GOP nominee's divisive rhetoric and call for more “law and order” in response to police shootings.
“There are some out there who see this as a moment to fan the flames of resentment and division, who want to exploit people's fears, even though it means tearing our nation even further apart. They say that all of our problems would be solved simply by more law and order, as if the systemic racism plaguing our country doesn't exist,” Clinton said.
After church, according to aides, Clinton is expected to meet with a group of young African-American men "to discuss the urgency of addressing racial, economic and social justice issues.”
Apart from Sunday’s visit, Clinton has made several trips to North Carolina in as many weeks, a sign that the campaign sees the battleground state as increasingly in play on November 8.