A day after nine people were shot and killed in a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged the country to "face hard truths about race, violence, guns and division," including hateful rhetoric directed at immigrants.
"When I hear words of hatred and anger directed at any of our fellow human beings, I ask myself, what is motivating that?" she said in a speech at the National Association of Latino Elected Officials conference in Las Vegas. "Do the people who feel so much hatred and anger ever look in the mirror and realize that they too are fellow human beings?"
Clinton began her speech by addressing the shooting by a white gunman at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. She said it "broke her heart."
"We are with you and we will stand with you as we seek answers and take action. How many innocent people in our country -- from little children to churchgoers to movie theater attendees -- how many people do we need to see cut down before we act?" she said.
Division and the need for unity were underlying themes of much of her remarks, particularly the educational and economic disparities between whites and Latinos. Clinton reiterated a number of her campaign promises, such as universal pre-kindergarten, free community college for all, better health care and improved voting access. She implored immigrant parents to speak to their children in their native languages, regardless of cries for "English-only" education.
All of those issues came up before immigration, which is somewhat rare for a speech at a Latino-focused event. But polling has found that immigration is not the top issue for most Latino voters. Rather, many Latinos know an undocumented immigrant, making that issue more personal.
So when Clinton finally got to immigration, more than 20 minutes into her speech, she got some of the loudest applause of the day.
"If Congress continues to refuse to act, as president I will do everything possible under the law to go even further than what President Obama has attempted to achieve," she vowed, repeating a promise she made last month in Las Vegas to expand deportation relief to undocumented immigrants.
Later, she recounted hearing Dr. Martin Luther King speak in Chicago when she was young. She said he challenged the crowd "to stay engaged in the cause of justice, not to slumber while the world changed around us."
"Well, the world is still changing and it's up to us to shape that change, to build the future that we want," Clinton said.
Most of the 2016 presidential candidates are skipping the NALEO conference in Nevada, a state where Latinos make up 15 percent of the electorate. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is challenging Clinton for the Democratic nomination, will speak at the conference on Friday. The only Republican to attend was retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
BEFORE YOU GO
06/19/2015 10:10 PM EDT
Murdoch Owned New York Post Calls Removal Of Confederate Flag
The New York Post's editorial board joined the chorus opposing South Carolina continuing to fly the Confederate flag at the State Capitol after the shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, writing, "Time to take it down, folks."
The Post is owned by Rupert Murdoch, the current chief executive of 21st Century Fox and its property, the conservative Fox News.
More from the Post:
Yes, some white Southerners point to it as a symbol of regional pride. But it represented a bloody rebellion against the United States in defense of slavery.
The Confederate flag isn’t quite as clear-cut; many no doubt honestly display it to honor ancestors or just the "rebel spirit." But at core it remains the emblem of those who fought to defend secession and slavery.
That flag has no place on any government institution.
06/19/2015 9:13 PM EDT
Reverend Makes Fervent Call To Take Down Confederate Flag
During a Friday night vigil for the victims in the shooting at a Charleston church, Rev. Nelson Rivers III of Charity Missionary Baptist Church offered support to the families of those killed, and made an impassioned call for the Confederate flag to be removed from the South Carolina State Capitol.
Reverend Calls For Confederate Flag To Come Down
During a Friday vigil for the victims of the Charleston church shooting, Rev. Nelson Rivers III passionately called for South Carolina to take the Confederate flag down from the state Capitol.See what else was said at the vigil http://www.buzzfeed.com/jimdalrympleii/charleston-shooter-failed-miserably-to-divide-city-mayor-say?bffbnews&utm_term=4ldqpho#4ldqphoPosted by BuzzFeed News on Friday, June 19, 2015
(h/t BuzzFeed News)
06/19/2015 8:57 PM EDT
Lawmakers Moving Away Confederate Flag
On Friday night, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) tweeted, "We will have many conversations over the coming days and weeks, and the placement of the Confederate flag will certainly be one of those topics."
Also, South Carolina State Rep. Norman Brannon (R) told MSNBC that he would sponsor a bill that would "take down" the Confederate flag from state government buildings.
SC state Rep. Todd Rutherford just told @chrislhayes that a Republican state rep, Doug Brannon, will sponsor bill to remove Confederate flag— Steve Kornacki (@SteveKornacki) June 20, 2015
.@RepRutherford just announced on MSNBC that GOP State Rep Doug Brannon has agreed to sponsor a bill to take down the confederate flag in SC— Tyler Jones (@TylerMJones) June 20, 2015
06/19/2015 7:54 PM EDT
Vigil Held For Charleston Church Victims
Crowd. Bagpipes playing Amazing Grace pic.twitter.com/EWy6APzWRY— Christina Elmore (@celmorePC) June 19, 2015
"God wants Charleston to be a lighthouse. ... We are one family in this community" - Elliott Summey, chairman of Charleston County Council— Joel D. Anderson (@byjoelanderson) June 19, 2015
NBA Star Dwight Howard in attendance.
06/19/2015 7:25 PM EDT
Martin O'Malley Is 'Pissed,' Calls For Assault Weapons Ban
Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley didn't mince words in the wake of the massacre of nine people at a historic black church in Charleston.
"I'm pissed," the former Maryland governor said in a Friday email to supporters, in which he derided Congress for its inability to pass tighter gun control measures.
“I’m pissed that after an unthinkable tragedy like the one in South Carolina yesterday, instead of jumping to act, we sit back and wait for the appropriate moment to say what we’re all thinking: that this is not the America we want to be living in,” O'Malley wrote.
Read more here. -- Kim Bellware
06/19/2015 7:12 PM EDT
What It's Like To Be Black And Live Under A White Neighbor's Confederate Flag HuffPost's Dave
HuffPost's Dave Jamieson reports from Summerville, South Carolina, just outside Charleston: Annie Caddell proudly flies the Confederate flag in her front yard here in the Charleston suburbs. She maintains a cache of spare flags on her front porch, replacing the one on her white flagpole every few months, after it gets tattered. A visitor to her home -- if the "no trespassing" sign doesn't turn him back -- is greeted near the door by a green, imitation street sign that reads "Confederate Circle."
Caddell said she'll die before her stars and bars stop blowing in the wind.
"Would you let your family history die like that? I don’t think so," Caddell, who's "pushing 56," said. "That’s tantamount to treason in my family. You just don’t do that."
Her neighbors know to take her at her word. Read more here.
06/19/2015 7:06 PM EDT
Louisiana Gov. Orders Flags To Half-Staff
In a statement, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said, "Out of respect for those murdered in Charleston, I issued an Executive Order to fly flags over state buildings at half-staff."
06/19/2015 5:39 PM EDT
Roof Family: Shock, Grief Over Shooting
The family of suspected Charlotte church shooter Dylann Roof issued a statement on Friday night, expressing shock over the killings, and offering sympathies and condolences to families of victims.
JUST IN: Roof family statement: 'Words cannot express our shock, grief and disbelief as to what happened that night.' #CharlestonShooting— WSOCTV (@wsoctv) June 19, 2015
Roof family statement pic.twitter.com/wtPAPNhqUn— Rodrigo (@RodrigoEBR) June 19, 2015
The full statement:
Words cannot express our shock, grief and disbelief as to what happened that night,” the statement continues.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those killed this week. We have all been touched by the moving words from the victim's families offering God's forgiveness and love in the face of such horrible suffering.
06/19/2015 4:08 PM EDT
Rick Santorum: Charleston Shooting 'Clearly' Motivated By Race
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (R) didn't equivocate Friday when asked about the nature of an attack by a white gunman on a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina.
"It was clearly racially motivated. Clearly," Santorum told The Huffington Post at the Faith & Freedom Coalition Conference in Washington, D.C.
The presidential candidate took issue with news reports that said he blamed the attack on a broader assault against religious liberty. He explained that he didn't know all the facts when he was first asked about the shooting on Thursday morning.
Read the full story here.
-- Igor Bobic
06/19/2015 4:07 PM EDT
Justice Department To Expedite $29 Million Grant Funding To South Carolina For Victim Assistance
The Department of Justice will expedite a $29 million formula victim assistant grant funding to South Carolina, according to DOJ spokesman Kevin Lewis. Some of the grant funding can be used to help victims of the recent tragedy at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.