Clinton town hall in North Charleston about gun violence, inequality

Hillary Clinton North Charleston
Hillary Clinton speaks to the crowd during a town hall in North Charleston, S.C. (Caroline Kenny/MEDILL)

By Caroline Kenny

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C.– During a town hall on Thursday night at Royal Baptist Church, Hillary Clinton spoke to a crowd of mostly African-Americans about the issues of gun violence and police brutality-both of which have plagued this specific community in the past year.

Clinton spoke to a predominantly African-American crowd about her recent meeting with the mothers of young African-American men who have been murdered by guns, including Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Jordan Davis. The mothers have endorsed Clinton and have been traveling around South Carolina with her this week to speak at events at black churches and roundtables with community leaders.

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With just 36 hours until Democrats hit the polls in South Carolina, Clinton wasted no time separating herself from her opponent. She criticized Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on his previous Senate votes concerning gun control during her opening remarks, setting herself apart as the gun safety candidate.

“We need to close the gun show loophole, also known as the Charleston loophole,” Clinton said. “Which my opponent supported.”

The event was set up as a town hall, with State Sen. Marlon Kimpson asking questions of the Secretary. They were accompanied on stage by Charleston-area legislators including state Rep. Seth Whipper, Rep. Mary Tinkler, Sen. Margie Bright Matthews and Charleston County Democratic Chairman Brady Quirk-Garvan.

Following the question and answer session by Kimpson, members of the crowd stepped up to microphones in the crowd and asked the Secretary questions directly. A fourth grader asked Clinton about her differing stance on the minimum wage from her opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). A man wearing a Human Rights Campaign t-shirt asked Clinton what she plans to do to address racism and close the gap between whites and minority groups.

“White people bear a special burden,” Clinton said. “We need to get the conversation about race going and put ourselves in the shoes of African-Americans.”

Gun violence was a major part of the conversation throughout the night. In June, nine African-Americans were shot and killed by a white supremacist during a bible study at Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston. In April, a black man, Walter Scott, was shot multiple times in the back and killed by a white police officer, just steps from the Royal Baptist Church where the town hall took place last night.

PHOTO AT TOP: Hillary Clinton speaks at a town hall forum in North Charleston, S.C. on Thursday evening. (Caroline Kenny/MEDILL)