Five mothers whose children died at the hands of gun or police violence told their stories Tuesday at a campaign event with Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
"Where no other candidate would listen to us, Ms. Clinton did," said Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, a Florida teenager who was shot and killed while walking through his father's apartment complex.
Addressing a packed sanctuary at Central Baptist Church in Columbia, Clinton briefly introduced the "mothers of the movement," who have been campaigning in South Carolina this week as part of Clinton's get-out-the-vote effort ahead of Saturday's contest.
“That's too many deaths, too many young lives cut short, too many questions still unanswered. Something is very wrong when we have these incidents where kids can get arrested for petty crimes and lose their lives,” Clinton said. “And none of us can forget the nine faithful people murdered at Bible study in Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston.”
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Clinton has been pushing her gun-control platform, highlighting U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont’s past opposition to legislation instituting waiting periods for background checks.
The mothers campaigning for Clinton are part of an effort to solidify the former secretary of state’s support among African-American voters, expected to cast more than half the votes in Saturday’s primary.
Clinton said there are local efforts underway to investigate independently police-involved shootings and in-custody deaths, adding she would push for federal resources to help support those investigations.
Two prominent gun-control activists – former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in a 2011 mass shooting in Tuscon, Ariz., and her astronaut-husband Mark Kelly – also joined Clinton at Tuesday’s event.
"Speaking is difficult for me,” Giffords said in brief remarks. “But, come January, I want to say these two word: Madame President."