Hillary Clinton on Tuesday praised those who are calling for the removal of Confederate flags from state capitols and stores, but said that the conversation about race relations in America need to go further.
“I know it’s tempting to dismiss a tragedy like this as an isolated incident, to believe that in today's America, bigotry is largely behind us. That institutionalized racism no longer exists,” Clinton said at a speech at Christ the King United Church of Christ in Florissant, Missouri. “But despite our best efforts and our highest hopes, America's long struggle with race is far from finished.”
The church where Clinton spoke is just a few miles from Ferguson where a white police officer shot black teen Michael Brown last August.
Clinton has spoken about last week’s shooting of nine black parishioners in North Charleston before. She did again on Tuesday, calling it “an act of racist terrorism perpetrated in a house of God.”
Specifically, Clinton praised South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley for calling for the Confederate flag to come down from the statehouse.
“We can't hide from hard truths about race and justice. We have to name them, own them and change them,” Clinton said. “That's why I appreciate the actions begun yesterday by the governor and other leaders of South Carolina to remove the Confederate battle flag from the state house, recognizing it as a symbol of our nation's racist past that has no place in our nation's present or future. It shouldn't fly there; it shouldn't fly anywhere.”
She also singled out WalMart, Amazon, eBay and Sears for halting the sales of items with Confederate flags. “I urge all sellers to do the same thing,” she said. “You know and I know that's just the beginning of what we have to do.”
Clinton called for a series of changes, including early education programs, as well as common sense gun legislation.
In 2007, Hillary Clinton said Confederate flags should be “removed from the Statehouse grounds.” Her Democratic opponents, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, also had called for the flag to come down.