Upon arrival at Clark Atlanta University in Georgia there were huge clusters of students gathered at two entrance gates secured by law enforcement officials. They were peaceful and very respectful students simply waiting for their group to be called to get in to see Secretary Hillary Clinton speak at the African-Americans for Hillary grassroots event. Before the arrival of Secretary Clinton, Representative John Lewis of Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, a child of the historic Civil Rights Movement, had been seen walking around the gymnasium speaking to several attendees and being photographed. Joy Reed of MSNBC was in the gymnasium watching the event from the press section.
Mayor Kasim Reed of Georgia appeared on stage and introduced R&B artist Usher Raymond IV. Usher didn’t give a speech, but made a very brief appearance on stage with Mayor Reed and was well received by an energized youthful crowd. Mayor Reed did an excellent job of prepping the audience for the soon-to-come Secretary Clinton. Grant Hill of the Los Angeles Clippers provided historical background about Secretary Clinton. Grant Hill’s mother attended Wellesley College and had a difficult time adjusting. Thanks to her roommate Hillary Clinton she was able to graduate Wellesley College. Grant Hill encouraged everyone in the gymnasium to vote for Hillary Clinton. Representative Stacey Abrams of District 89 of Georgia’s House of Representatives told the audience that African-Americans must effect change from the inside of federal and state government.
Without skipping a beat, an impassioned R&B singer Monica appeared on stage to garner support for Secretary Clinton. However, R&B singer Kelly Price sang an immaculate “Star Spangled Banner” to an audience with right hands covering their hearts. Ms. Price’s singing created a nationalist mood in the gymnasium which readied the audience for Secretary Clinton. In the gymnasium’s doorway stood Secretary Clinton with U.S. Representative John Lewis. Both seemed extremely pleased with Kelly Price’s performance and ready for their introduction. It was time, both were called to the stage to a loud clamoring crowd shouting, “Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!”
Walking toward the stage with that guarded Hillary Clinton smile, Representative John Lewis took the podium and Secretary Clinton stood by his side. Representative Lewis spoke about his history of standing up for Civil Rights. Finally, the moment arose where Representative Lewis introduced Secretary Clinton who took the podium with a smiling face and waving hand. Secretary Clinton began her introduction by recognizing a few of the dignitaries that were present in the gymnasium.
However, a group of students began chanting, “Black Lives Matter!” It should be noted that there were African-Americans who didn’t trust Secretary Clinton because they didn’t know where she stood on the issue of Black Lives Matter. However, Secretary Clinton put that to rest when she said: “Now, my friends, I am going to get to some very important points that actually prove that Black lives do matter and we have to take action together.” The entire gymnasium cheered and chanted, “Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!” with excitement. Secretary Clinton followed-up by saying: “And I hope that we’ll have a chance to talk more, as I have been meeting with activists from the Black Lives Matter movement.” Making the case for a more participatory citizenry, Secretary Clinton said: “So to all the young people here today, those who are listening and those who are singing, let me say this: We need you. We need the promise of a rising generation of activists and organizers who are fearless in your advocacy and determination.”
While speaking with leaders from the African-American community, Secretary Clinton provided a profound statement from an African-American female: “You know, in that meeting a young woman said they spoke about being outsiders in their own country, and those words broke my heart, coming from someone so young. And they also should stiffen our spines, because life does matter and we need to act like it matters.” Based upon what Secretary Clinton has seen in race relations, she has come to the following conclusion: “And I know very well for many white Americans it is tempting to close our eyes to the truth, to believe that bigotry is largely behind us, that institutionalized racism no longer exists. But as you know so well, despite our best efforts and our highest hopes, America’s long struggle with race is far from finished.”
Appearing to make the case that Black Lives Matter, Secretary Clinton said: “And the facts are really clear. You know, the median wealth for white families is more than $134,000, for African American families it is just $11,000, because African Americans are three times as likely as whites to be denied a mortgage. African American men are far more likely to be stopped and searched by police, charged with crimes, and sentenced to longer prison terms than white men convicted of the same offenses.” These are facts that resonate with African-Americans!
Just when you thought Secretary Clinton was nearing an end to her speech, she just kept on giving more ways to correct racial injustice, “I’m talking about us exercising empathy to make it possible for people from every background, every race, every religion, to finally come together as one nation.” “And let’s not pretend to ignore hard truths about race and justice in America. We need to say them, own them, and then change them.” Secretary Clinton was on fire with her impassioned speech at Clark Atlanta University African-American grassroots movement and she finally found her voice.
Hillary Clinton’s Administration would frown on racial profiling, mass incarceration, private prisons/detention centers. She stated that she would make these practices unlawful when she’s in the White House and will do what she can on the federal level to make ban-the-box a reality so felons can fairly compete for employment which they are qualified. Secretary Clinton identified the Republicans as favoring the policies that make it difficult for minorities by stating: “And I think it’s fair to say all of the Republican candidates for president support economic policies that would further stack the deck for those at the top, and do little or nothing to help families in the middle class who are trying to work their way up. And some talk in coded racial language about free stuff, about takers and losers. They demonize President Obama and encourage the ugliest impulses of the paranoid fringe. You’ve heard this. We’ve all heard this before. It has no place in the politics of a great country, and it needs to stop.”
For those who seem to distrust Secretary Clinton because she didn’t appear to be running on President Barack Obama’s record, she put that to rest too in the following statement: “And I’ll tell you this, throughout this campaign and then in the White House, I’ll get up every single day and fight to defend the progress we’ve made under President Obama and build on it and go even further.” “I’m aware there are some who say President Obama is on the wrong trajectory, that we need a course correction. Well, I think that’s wrong. It plays right into the hands of Republicans who want to rip away everything we’ve achieved. We have to keep moving forward. We have to keep marching. We have to keep organizing. We have to keep our eyes on what we need to do in the 21st Century to give every child the chance to live up to his or her God-given potential no matter who they are, where they come from, or what they look like. That is my mission as your president. That is what I am fighting for in this campaign.”
Secretary Clinton is undoubtedly one of the best orators on the Democrat side of the campaign. However, it appears that she may be faced with a campaign against Marco Rubio who is also well spoken. Having answered all the lingering questions in the minds of African-Americans, Secretary Clinton should see a surge in her polling numbers. At the end of the day all is well in American politics!