She cited her work with civil rights leader Dorothy Height, recalled attending a speech by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as a young woman and noted the work of the late Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, D-Ohio, a prominent member of the sorority. Clinton said the issue of voting rights resonated after she attended a congressional hearing on the issue with Tubbs Jones in Cleveland following the 2004 elections.
“The idea that in the 21st century African-Americans would wait in line to vote for 10 hours while whites in an affluent precinct next door waited just 10 minutes, or African-Americans would receive fliers telling the wrong time and wrong day to exercise their constitutional rights,” Clinton said. “That is not the America we would expect or the America we would want for our children.”
Clinton opened her remarks by offering prayers for the family of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager who was killed last year, and “with every family who loves someone who is lost to violence.” She said the week’s developments brought “deep, painful heartache” to many Americans.
“No mother, no father, should ever have to fear for their child walking down a street in the United States of America,” Clinton said.
It was her first public comments on the case since George Zimmerman‘s acquittal in the Martin case. The Justice Department has said it’s considering whether federal prosecutors should file criminal civil rights charges after Zimmerman’s acquittal.
Obama met with members of the sorority in the Oval Office earlier in the day, including former Labor Secretary Alexis Herman and Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio.