Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton decried the two recent police shootings of unarmed black men – and all those that have proceeded it the past two years – as “unbearable” and “intolerable” and vowed to do something about it as president.
In a speech she gave in a predominantly black neighborhood in Orlando Wednesday, Clinton also decried the targeting of police officers, including the incident in Philadelphia Saturday in which a gunman targeting police killed a civilian and wounded two officers.
She praised police as serving with “extraordinary courage, honor and skill” on a daily basis. But she also expressed strong concern for what she called “upsetting incidents,” the most recent shootings of black men, Terrence Crutcher in Tulsa, Okla., and Keith Lamont Scott in North Carolina.
Clinton then spoke of her conversations with Lesley McSpadden, mother of Trayvon Martin, who was killed just up the road in Sanford in a non-police shooting that started the Black Lives Matter movement.
Clinton’s comments about the shootings and police came at the beginning of her 31-minute speech, and upstaged the primary message of that speech: plans that she said will help millions of disabled Americans enter the workforce and be productive for fair wages.
“There is still much we don’t know about what happened. But we do know we have two more names to add to a list of African Americans killed by police officers,” Clinton said. “It’s unbearable. And it needs to be intolerable.
“I’ve spoken to many of the police chiefs and other law enforcement leaders who are as deeply concerned as I am and deeply committed as I am to reform. Why? Because they know it’s essential to the safety of our communities and our officers. We are safer when the communities respect the police and the police respect the communities.”
Her speech was given in a small venue, the Frontline Outreach Center for Youth and Children, attended by perhaps 500 people.
The campaign of Donald Trump responded to her speech not by answering anything she said, but by belittling her small audience.
“In less than two months, Donald J. Trump has rallied over 80,000 Floridians at his events in the Sunshine State. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton’s sparse appearances in our state are consistently met with low turnout and a lack of enthusiasm, probably in part because she let slip recently at a Wall Street fundraiser that she views half of American voters as either ‘deplorable’ or ‘irredeemable,'” said a statement from Trump’s campaign.
Clinton and several of her warm-up speakers who are disability rights advocates vowed that it would be a high priority of her presidency.
“This issue is very close to my heart,” she said.
Clinton began her discussion on disabilities by relating stories from throughout her career, to show it’s been a lifelong concern. She began in the 1970s as an activist, working on behalf of the Children’s Defense Fund, and discovering that disabled children were being kept out of school because the schools could not or would not accommodate and help them. From there she talked about being instrumental in pushing for education reforms to help disabled students and even for being a key player in the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990.
“Make no mistake. We still have a lot more work to do. We can’t be satisfied, not when 60 percent of adults with disabilities are not in the workforce,” she said. “Not when businesses are allowed to pay employees with disabilities a sub-minimum wage. Not when people with people with disabilities are still subjected to stigma and discrimination every single day.
“One after another has told me the same thing: we don’t want pity. We want paychecks. Wee want the chance to contribute,” she said.
She said she would fight to change all of that, including working with businesses to help them hire and retain people with disabilities, and eliminating the sub-minimum wage. She said she would work with colleges and universities to accept students with disabilities.
“No one is worthless. No one is less than. We’re all of value in the United States of America,” she said.