Yesterday at the Central Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at an emotionally charged “Breaking Down Barriers Forum.” Her guest speakers were Ms. Sybrina Fulton (mother of now deceased Trayvon Martin), Ms. Maria Hamilton (mother of now deceased Dontre Hamilton), Mrs. Lucy McBath (mother of now deceased Jordan Davis), Ms. Gwen Carr (mother of now deceased Eric Garner), Mrs. Geneva Reed-Veal (mother of now deceased Sandra Bland); collectively known as “Mothers of the Movement,” with former Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona (victim of gun violence), and NASA Commander Mark Kelly.
According to Sybrina Fulton, when no one stood up for “Mothers of the Movement,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stood up for them. When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton showed up, no one took notes for her, she took notes herself.
Ms. Maria Hamilton said the killing of her son Dontre Hamilton did not gain national attention. At the age of 31, Donte had a future that was bigger than life and he spoke of bringing duffle bags of money home. He had a digital license plate that he was working on and was in the process of getting it done before his life was cut short by 21 bullets that riddled his body. A Starbuck’s manager believed Dontre was sitting too close to her stand in a parking lot. Police were called twice and after talking to Dontre they told the Starbuck’s manager that Dontre was doing nothing wrong. At that point, the Starbuck’s manager called a beat cop that she was familiar with and upon arrival Dontre was struck 8 times by the officer’s baton and when he had taken the baton to stop the unlawful assault on himself, he was viewed as possessing a weapon. Ultimately, the officer was suspended with pay after being charged internally with perjury. Ms. Hamilton said the police are more concerned with getting home safe after their shift than they are with respecting people in urban areas as human beings.
Ms. Lucy McBath said her son Jordan Davis was really happy about Black Friday and was hanging out with friends. They had planned on going to the mall where girls were going to be and Jordan thought it best to buy some chewing gum before they get there. They were playing loud booming music and stopped at a convenience store to get chewing gum and cigarettes. Michael Dunn, a 47 year old White software developer, pulled up to the convenience store and within three and a half minutes Michael Dunn begins an argument with Jordan about the high volume of the music. Michael Dunn was emboldened by Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law and his racist attitude toward the Black teenagers, he pulled his gun and unloaded 10 rounds of bullets into the vehicle. Of the 10 rounds, ballistics had shown that Mr. Dunn aimed his gun at Jordan and 3 bullets hit and killed him instantly. The other 7 bullets were aimed at the other teenagers who were trying to escape and tracked them as if he were a police officer as they moved out of the parking lot. Ms. McBath spoke of the disproportionate incidents of gun violence occurring in Black and White communities. She says she was honored to stand with President Barack Obama as he signed an Executive Order aimed at reducing gun violence. Ms. McBath said she had been watching First Lady Hillary Clinton, Senator Hillary Clinton, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bring allies who had long been forgotten about back into the fold and has done a good thing.
Ms. Gwen Carr said they “have a personal experience” with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, “we didn’t have to go looking for her, she came to us!” She explained that her son Eric Garner had died at the hands of police officer Pantaleo and five other police officers. She vehemently requested that we not leave the other five officers out who had taken her son’s life and he lay on his back dying saying, “I can’t breathe!” Says she finds it insulting that police officer Pantaleo had not been indicted in light of the full video showing how her son was killed. Ms. Carr asked rhetorically, “Where is the Justice? What kind of world do we live in?” Afterward she said, “If Eric Garner was a White man in the suburbs standing on the corner selling cigarettes; it would not have gone down that way!” Ms. Carr said her candidate for President of the United States is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton because she endorsed “Mothers of the Movement” first.
Ms. Geneva Reed-Veal spoke of receiving a phone call about her daughter Sandra Bland who was 6 foot tall was found hanging from a 5 foot partition a jail cell. “Something is wrong!” Ms. Reed-Veal said. Sandra went down to Texas for a job interview at her alma mater as a student ambassador and she had gotten the job. Says Sandra was extremely smart and was a lady who would say, “Listen, I know my rights . . . and I’m not going to allow you to put your foot on my neck because I know what you are not supposed to be doing!” A controlling officer Encinia let his ego get the best of him. She said the police videotape was piecemeal. The video shows she was pulled over for a failure to signal. However, she was ultimately charged with an assault on an officer. Ms. Reed-Veal said, “As a mother I say to any officer and to anyone who is here to serve and protect, make sure that is what you are doing.” Unlike the Dontre Hamilton case, officer Encinia had been indicted on a perjury charge and the date of trial is unknown. Ms. Reel-Veal said, “Don’t mistake it. Don’t let the suits fool you. Don’t let the smile fool you. Don’t let the peace fool you. I am very angry. But I am not angry enough to ride. I am angry enough to vote for this lady!”
Commander Mark Kelly of NASA said Representative Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords was at a supermarket trying to reach across the aisle with her constituents. She was shot first and suffered a serious traumatic brain injury. She was shot by a man who should not have been in possession of a firearm. Commander Kelly said “We need to recognize that elections matter.” Gabby said, “Hillary is tough! She is courageous. She will fight to make our families safer. In the White House she will stand up to the gun lobbyists.” In a phone call with Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina yesterday, he said that previously he did not customarily endorse a presidential candidate until after the primary. However, he decided to break tradition this year and go with his heart instead of his head. He said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had always had his heart. In addition, she was the only presidential candidate that asked for his endorsement. Representative Clyburn showed up to the “Breaking Down Barriers Forum” to show his support of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. On the other side of town at the University of South Carolina School of Law, there were Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters holding signs outside the law schoool. This week supporters of Hillary Clinton have begun running a commercial that speaks to the deaths of unarmed African-Americans by Whites and the video is very emotional and very intense to watch. Today, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has endorsed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
For video of the Hillary Clinton event please click on the following links: Breaking Barriers Forum with Hillary Clinton 1, Breaking Barriers Forum with Hillary Clinton 2, and Breaking Barriers Forum with Hillary Clinton 3.