On Tuesday, February 23, 2016, Hillary Clinton was joined by Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, and other mothers whose children were killed by gun violence at a roundtable discussion at which she urged the public to make gun control a voting issue.
The mothers in attendance, at a town hall meeting at Central Baptist Church in Columbia, S.C., were Geneva Reed-Veal (Sandra Bland), Gwen Carr (Eric Garner), and Maria Hamilton (Dontre Hamilton).
This isn’t the first time she extended an olive branch. Last November, Lesley McSpadden, the mother of slain Ferguson, Missouri teenager Michael Brown, called a private meeting with the Democratic presidential hopeful with Hillary Clinton “intimate and powerful.” She visited Chicago on Monday, November 2, 2015, where the former first lady and U.S. secretary of state also met with the family members of victims of gun violence.
Today, February 24, Clinton spoke with SiriusXM’s Joe Madison about her support for closing Guantanamo Bay; her emotional response to meeting with the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Dontre Hamilton, and Jordan Davis; and why the country needs to end “the epidemic of gun violence.”
She said in part:
“Hard to hold back the tears” when talking with mothers of the victims of police violence:
…as a mother and a grandmother it’s something that really affected me so deeply over the last few years….I have reached out and have had the great privilege of meeting with a lot of the mothers in Chicago some months ago, just to hear their stories. There was no press there…I just wanted to hear them. They came with pictures of their children, with stories any mother would tell about their son or their daughter. I’ve stayed in touch with them. I’ve tried to support them in their efforts to turn their mourning into a movement and their sorrow into a strategy because we have to end this.
Yesterday in Columbia we had an event at Central Baptist Church with five of the mothers…and, I tell you, it was hard to hold back the tears. A lot of people in the audience were not holding back because you hear these stories and the women themselves are so powerful, so courageous, and I am grateful for their help. I know it is something they’re doing because they want me to do everything I can working with them to try to end this epidemic of gun violence and to try to reform and change the practices. And I intend to do everything I can to bring that about.
Listen for yourself: