Hillary hit the ground running today in the Sunshine State! She began her day with a “voting brunch” at an Irish pub in Miami, went to Sunday services at the New Mount Olive Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, joined supporters for a bite to eat at Betty’s Soul Food, greeted supporters in Pompano Beach, and, finally, rallied voters at The Manor Complex in Wilton Manors, Florida.
At the Mount Olive Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Hillary Clinton made the case that the upcoming election is the most important in our lifetime, since “this election is not just about issues – as important as issues are […] it is also about how we treat each other and how we show respect for one another.” Clinton vowed if elected to pass end-to-end criminal justice reform, implement common sense gun reform and combat systemic racism in our society. Clinton spoke of the Mothers of the Movement, who lost their children to police-involved incidents and gun violence, and the families in Flint, who were poisoned by lead in their water, as testimony to the urgent need to break down all the barriers still facing African-Americans families, adding, “We’re going to do everything we can in the remaining days of this election, but also afterwards, to make it very clear there’s a place in America for everyone of us. Everyone deserves to have a place, and we’re not going to shy away from taking on injustice, and that includes systemic racism, sexism, prejudice against other people – because when someone is being treated with bigotry and discrimination, that opens the door for everyone, then, to be subject to the same kind of mistreatment.”
Clinton ended by urging the crowd to get out and vote and take advantage of early voting, so we can continue the progress of the last eight years and build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. More than 20 million people, including 3 million Floridians, have taken advantage of early voting, Clinton said, so that America not only remains great but so that we make it even greater. Clinton added, “We cannot get distracted by all the noise in the political environment, we have to stay focused and remember what Michelle Obama taught us – when they go low, we go high! So no matter what is thrown at us, we have to stay focused on our goals.”
Clinton’s remarks, as transcribed, are below:
“This the day the Lord has made. I am so honored to be here with you, and I thank, I thank Reverend Davidson for that very warm welcome, also Reverend Kennedy. I just learned you have two pastors from Alabama!
It is also a great honor to be here with my longtime friend Congressman Alcee Hastings. But the special treat is to be here with all of you, the members of the New Mount Olive Baptist Church, and anyone who, like me, is visiting today can feel the warmth and embrace of this congregation. Please be seated.
I am, I am, I’m up so high. It is very kind of Pastor Davidson to put this box because he’s a tall man. But for me, it is a special, special honor. I looked into the history of this church, and for nearly a century now, you have been a source of strength and solace, not only to your members but also to the community. And that means a great deal to me because you answered the charge that Jesus gave us – to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to visit the sick, and to welcome the stranger.
And as we know, we are not asked to love one another. We are not encouraged. We are not even urged. We are commanded. In fact, Jesus said that was his greatest commandment. And this church has answered that call – by serving our youth, providing affordable housing for families, ministering to the sick, and investing in neighborhoods neglected for too long.
So this is a remarkable faith community. Congressman Hastings, when we were talking about where we could go to church, he said, ‘This is the place. This is the place.’ But I want to just spend a minute talking about this great commandment because when I used to occasionally teach Sunday school back in Little Rock, I would talk about how we were commanded to love our neighbor as ourself. So to me, it’s really a two parts commandment. We want people to love themselves because it is out of that love and acceptance that we can go and love another. And one thing we have to do in our country now is to make sure that everyone, everyone who is equal in God’s eye is equal in our eye, right?
It doesn’t matter how much money they have or what their profession is or what their background has been. We are commanded to love one another as we love ourselves so I hope we will keep that in mind because we’re called to treat one another with acceptance because every one of us has value.
I have made kids and families the cause of my life. I want to make that the mission of my presidency where I will do everything I can if I am so fortunate enough to be elected to serve you. Every single day in the White House to think about what can be done to give every single child in America the chance to live up to his or her God given potential. I think that is what we are […].
We have to continue to knock down those barriers that stand in the way of people being able to fulfill their potential. But I know we can do this. It’s something I learned from my mother who remains my greatest inspiration and motivation. She was abandoned by her parents as a young girl. She was sent to live with grandparents across the country who decided they didn’t want her either. She ended up on her own at the age of 14 as a maid and babysitter in someone else’s home. When I learned about all of this as I got older and started asking my mother questions about her life, I was so struck by something she said when I asked, ‘How could you, how could you keep going?’ She said, ‘It was the kindness of strangers and people in her life who kept her going.’
The first-grade teacher who saw she had nothing to eat at lunch and brought enough food to give her lunch every day. And even the woman whose house she had to work in, who knew my mother wanted desperately to go to high school, said to my mom, ‘If you get up early and you get your chores done, you can go to high school, but you’re going to have to come right back.’ Now that might sound harsh to our ears, but to my mother, it was a gift. So for four years, she got up early, she got her chores done, and she ran to high school. She couldn’t stay after school to do any activities, but getting her education was that important to her. So when I see young kids struggling against some pretty high odds, I think about my mom and I think about how she got through with the help and kindness of others to form a loving family. And I know that we have to look out for each other and lift each other up. That takes strength, that takes resilience. Everyone, everyone is knocked down in life, and as my mother taught me and showed me is whether you get back up.
And those of us who are people of faith know that getting back up is part of what we are called to do, for ourselves, for those around us. Scripture tells us to ‘rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.’
And I want all of us to look around and think about the disappointments we’ve had in our own lives and how we were able to overcome them. It is, for me, part of my mission, because I want people to understand that this election is not just about issues – as important as issues are. Not just about getting the economy working for everyone, not just those at the top. It’s not just about making college affordable for everybody and helping you pay back and pay down and get rid of your student debt. It’s not just about healthcare for everybody. It is about all of that, but it is also about how we treat each other and how we show respect for one another.
In the last year and a half, I have met so many people who have also inspired me. I’ve met women who call themselves Mothers of the Movement who’ve lost their children to gun violence or police incidents. Now they spend all of their time reaching out to others who have been similarly struck with the loss of a child but also to change what has happened to prevent other parents from experiencing the same pain.
I’ve met parents and kids in Flint who are going to schools that are falling down around them, who can’t drink the water that comes out of the taps in their communities, who wonder whether anybody really sees them or cares about them. And we’re going to do everything we can in the remaining days of this election, but also afterwards, to make it very clear there’s a place in America for everyone of us. Everyone deserves to have a place, and we’re not going to shy away from taking on injustice, and that includes systemic racism, sexism, prejudice against other people – because when someone is being treated with bigotry and discrimination, that opens the door for everyone, then, to be subject to the same kind of mistreatment.
We need to fix our criminal justice system from end to end, and I know that we will do that working together, communities and the police, because everybody is safer when the police respect the communities they protect and the communities also work with the police, right? And we’re going to fight for common sense gun safety reform to get these guns out of the hands of people who should not have them in the first place.
But it’s more than just being against things. We’ve got to be for what will make a difference. I want to end the so-called ‘school-to-prison pipeline.’ Let’s start with early childhood education. Let’s make it possible for every single child to be prepared to learn in school. Are there any educators and teachers or retired teachers who are here? I want to be your partner, but I also want to partner with the faith community and with civic and non-profit groups to reach every single family, particularly young families, to help them know how best to prepare their children to learn, to develop the skills and the vocabulary. 80 percent of our brain is physically formed by the age of three, and the more we can talk and sing and read to our babies, the better prepared they will be to actually succeed when they get to kindergarten and first grade.
And then we’ve got to do more to make sure that every school in every zip code has what they need to be able to prepare our young people for the future. We need more computer science teachers, and we need to end the digital divide. We have five million homes in America with school-aged children that do not have access to the Internet. So when the teachers here give an assignment and assume that the child is going to be able to go on the Internet to look for information, they can’t. That is wrong. That is unjust. We’re going to finish the job of making sure every single family is connected to affordable, high-speed Internet.
And we are going to make sure that we bring technical education back into high school, because we have disadvantaged a lot of our kids who have different skills. They learn differently. I want to make it possible for everyone who wants a four-year college education to be able to go and afford it, but I also want people who want to be machinists and welders and tool-and-die makers and computer coders and health aides and other worthy, important jobs to feel that they’re included, too.
And when it comes to college, I want you to know my goal is that, for every public college and university, you can go tuition-free if you make less than $125,000 a year. And I’ve got to say, that’s most people in America. But if you are among the fortunate who make more than that, we’re going to make it debt-free: which means maybe you’ve got five or five kids and you’re over that line. Pay what you can afford, but otherwise, don’t go into debt. This should be an investment that we make in the young people in America who make it possible for you to afford to go to college.
And I have a particular commitment to historically black colleges and universities. Think of all the professionals, all of the business and political leaders, people who have gone through the halls of HBCUs. I want to be sure that we continue to support them, and I will do everything I can with a $25 million fund to make sure that the facilities and the resources and the faculty are able to continue to perform this important service.
And then, if you already have debt, we are going to get your interest rates down. We are going to help you pay it back as a percentage of your income. It is just wrong. If you go out to be a teacher or a social worker or a nurse or a police officer or a firefighter and you don’t start out making a lot of money, you can barely afford to pay that. I want it to be a set percentage of what your income is, and if you’re willing to do public service in the professions I just mentioned, you should be able to get it paid down even faster. And if you do some national service, you should be able to be forgiven from the debt that comes from attending college. And I’m going to defend President Obama’s legacy. And especially his Affordable Care Act which gave 20 million people the chance to get income insurance. I know how hard it is to be president. I’ve worked through one, I live with another.
This is a tough job. I’ve said before. You’ve seen these young men, they go into office like my husband and President Obama. And when they […] they turn […] Now I’ve been coloring my hair for years and years, and you will not see me go white. But seriously, we have some big issues we have to address. And the last thing we need, is someone who is a loose cannon. I’m willing to believe the slogan of my campaign, we are stronger together. And I want to be the president for everybody. Democrats, Republicans Independents, everybody. But I can’t do that without the help of people who understand that our future is at stake in this election. My name may be on the ballot, but every issue you care about – […] and so many more […] because whether we go forward or backwards is really up to us. And I – how many of you have seen the debates, I stood next to Donald Trump for three debates – for and a half hours, proving, conclusively that I have the stamina to be president.
But in the third debate when he refused to say he would respect the outcome of the election – nobody has ever said that before. No Democrat, no Republican. It really is so troubling. We move forward – and it has not been easy, making progress in America. Moving toward a more perfect union. And we need to understand the work still to be done, but also, what we have accomplished as President Obama has said many times, we have made progress. So we have to protect that progress while we build an even better, stronger, and fairer future. So, we have nine days left in the most important election of our lifetimes. And there is some good news. With all the negativity and everything happening, 200 million people – the most in our history have registered to vote.
I think they believe there’s a lot at stake, and of that number, more than 50 million are young people. Which is really exciting. 20 million have already voted, including three million right here in Florida. And so we cannot get distracted by all the noise in the political environment, we have to stay focused and remember what Michelle Obama taught us – when they go low, we go high! So no matter what is thrown at us, we have to stay focused on our goals. We have to understand that the best way to repudiate a negative, hateful, bigoted vision is to […] as scripture tells us, where there is no vision, […] perish and I would only slightly edit that – where there is a slightly negative, hateful, divisive, negative vision, the people also perish. So we need to lift up our eyes and have a vision of what we will do and become together. No matter what is thrown our way, we will not back down. We are not going to give up. We are going to reject anyone […] and remember that […] commended to try and love each other. And as the pastor said, there’s always early voting places, all over Broward County, all over Miami-Dade County that are just waiting for you to vote.
And I always like to end with a Scripture that’s particularly important to me. ‘Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.’ So let us, my friends, have faith in one another. I pledge to you that I will do everything I can to heal the divides, to repair the breaches that have been created. I don’t want to be the president of only some Americans. I want to be the president for all Americans. If you will give me your prayers and your support going forward, I believe that we can build on what has been accomplished by President Obama. We can go even further. We can become even greater, because we already are great – if we could just recognize that, accept that, and do our part to make it better for everyone.
And I will conclude with thanking you, thanking you for having me here with you in this church, at this point in time, and certainly for welcoming […] in my heart. And I look forward to working with you to be your partner in making America […]. Thank you, and God bless you!”