Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is a 2016 candidate for president. (AFRO File Photo)
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) were the main standouts of the 2016 presidential candidates at the Urban League convention on July 30 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
Clinton came out swinging at Bush in a speech to the predominantly Black audience, ridiculing Bush’s “right to rise” phrase. “I don’t think you can credibly say you have the right to rise, and then say you’re phasing out Medicare or repealing Obamacare,” Clinton said. “People can’t rise if they can’t afford health care. They can’t rise if the minimum wage is too low to live on. They can’t rise if their governor makes it harder for them to get a college education. And you can’t seriously talk about the right to rise and support laws that deny the right to vote.”
Clinton said that racism is a part of American life and it isn’t right. “Race still plays a significant role in determining who gets ahead in America and who gets left behind,” she said. “And yes, while that is partly a legacy of discrimination that stretches back to the start of our nation, it is also because of discrimination that is still ongoing.”
Clinton talked about the deaths of Trayvon Martin and Sandra Bland and quoted statistics
on Blacks receiving longer sentences than Whites and noted the mortgage inequality between the races. She talked about working as a lawyer for the Children’s Defense Fund, founded by noted Black child advocate Marian Wright Edelman, and about her years as first lady of Arkansas and the United States fighting for child health care insurance and economic equality for women.
Clinton said that she, as president, would work to eliminate systemic inequities and racial disparities in the country because it is part of her belief that all Americans should be treated fairly.
In his remarks, Bush ignored Clinton and touched on the shooting deaths of the nine worshippers at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina two months ago, saying that “for too long we’ve been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present.”
However, Bush said that for too many Americans, struggling to survive is a way of life. “In our cities, we’ve got so many people who have never known anything but poverty, so many young adults with no vision of a life beyond the life they know,” he said.
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and Sen. Bernie Sanders were the other Democrats that spoke to the Urban League. Dr. Ben Carson was the only other Republican, and African American candidate, that spoke at the Urban League convention.
Editor’s note: Due to a miscommunication, The AFRO will not have interviews with the five candidates who addressed the Urban League, as we said we would last week.