FLORISSANT, Mo. -- Hillary Clinton on Tuesday told a crowd at a black church near where the police killing of an unarmed teen propelled the "Black Lives Matter" movement that "all lives matter."
During a campaign stop minutes from where a white police officer fatally shot black teenager Michael Brown last summer, Clinton told a mostly African-American crowd at Christ the King United Church of Christ that “America’s struggles with race are far from finished.”
“We can’t hide from hard truths about race and justice," she said. "We have to name them, own them, and change them.”
Clinton, running for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, was criticized last year for not immediately speaking about Brown's killing. On Tuesday, she addressed racial inequity, the Confederate flag, forgiveness, and last week’s racially motivated massacre at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina.
She said her mother, abandoned by her parents and forced to work as a teenager, taught her the importance of "kindness along the way from someone who believed she mattered.
"All lives matter," Clinton said.
The phrase garnered most of Twitter’s attention about her speech, much of it negative.
ouch, Hillary Clinton just said "All Lives Matter".
— Zora Neale Baéston (@bdoulaoblongata) June 23, 2015
Saying "All lives matter" in a black church, in ferguson... Who advised Hilary?! Who told her that was a brilliant idea?
— ShordeeDooWhop (@Nettaaaaaaaa) June 23, 2015
Did ya'll boo Hilary when she says all lives matter? Please say you did.
— Dr. Cornel Fresh (@WyzeChef) June 23, 2015
Clinton made pointed remarks about education.
“Our schools are still segregated. In fact, more segregated than they were in the 1960s," she said. "Nearly 6 million young Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 are out of school and out of work. Those numbers are higher for people of color.
“Statistics like these are rebukes to the real progress we have made and they pose an urgent call for us to act publicly, politically, and personally.” Clinton told the crowd.
According to a study by Missouri research group For The Sake of it All, the unemployment rate among African-Americans in the St. Louis region is four times that of whites.
On the Charleston church massacre that killed nine people, Clinton asked,“How do we make sense of such an evil act of racist terrorism perpetrated in the house of God?” She suggested that people respond with forgiveness.
Clinton recently vowed to press for reforming gun laws. She said she approved of removing the Confederate battle flag from South Carolina’s state capitol, calling it “a symbol of our nation’s racist past.”
“It shouldn’t fly there, it shouldn’t fly anywhere,” said Clinton.
“I am here to listen, but also to engage -- the kind of open and honest discussion that I hope is happening all across America," Clinton said.