clock menu more-arrow no yes

Hillary Clinton hails "moms of Black Lives Matter" in South Carolina victory speech

Hillary Clinton is on pace to beat Bernie Sanders by about 37 points in South Carolina, in large part because of her huge 87-13 margin among black voters. Clinton did even better among black voters than President Barack Obama in 2008, according to exit polling.

Her victory speech reflected her coalition. "We also have to face the reality of systemic racism that more than a half a century [after] Rosa Parks sat and Dr. King marched and John Lewis bled still plays a significant role in determining who gets ahead in America and who gets left behind," Clinton said.

Clinton then thanked, by name, five mothers whose African-American children had died. (The women have been referred to as "moms of Black Lives Matter.") All five mothers had been "crisscrossing" South Carolina as part of her campaign, Clinton said.

  • "Sabrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, shot and killed in Florida just for walking down the street."
  • "Lucy McBath, mother of Jordan Davis, shot and killed by someone who thought he was playing his music too loud in his car."
  • "Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontre, shot and killed by police in Milwaukee."
  • "Mother of Eric Garner, choked to death after being stopped for selling loose cigarettes on the street."
  • "And Geneva Reed, mother of Sandra Bland, who died in police custody in Texas."

"They all lost children, which is almost unimaginable. Yet they have not been broken or embittered. Instead, they have channeled their sorrow into a strategy and their mourning into a movement," Clinton said. "And they are reminding us of something deep and powerful in the American spirit."

Below is a rush transcript of Clinton's speech.


Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much — from one end of the state to another. I am so greatly appreciative, because today you sent a message: in America, when we stand together ... there is no barrier to break.

I want to congratulate Senator Sanders on running a great race. And tomorrow, this campaign goes national. We are going to compete for every vote in every state. We are not taking anything, and we're not taking anyone for granted. I want to thank all the local leaders, legislators, mayors, pastors, organizers, volunteers who have worked their heart out for this campaign. I thank all of our great South Carolina friends going back so many years. I especially want to thank two of your former great Democratic governors, Dick Riley and Jim Hodges. And I especially want to thank your champion, your statesman in Congress, Jim Clyburn.

I am so looking forward to working with the congressman to make the changes and continue the progress that we can build on the record and accomplishments of President Obama. And to the almost 850,000 people who have contributed what they could, most giving less than $100, I thank each and every one of you. Now, every day since Iowa, more and more of you have stepped up.

Today, grassroots donors are powering this campaign. And to the millions of people watching across our country, please join us by making a donation to hillaryclinton.com. And here's why. Because together we can break down all the barriers holding our families and our country back. We can build ladders of opportunity and empowerment. So every single American can have that chance to live up to his or her God-given potential. And then, and only then, can America live up to its full potential, too.

This campaign, and this victory tonight, is for the parents and teachers in rural South Carolina. They showed me crumbing classrooms. We're going to work together to give our children the education that need and deserve here in South Carolina and across America. This campaign and our victory is for the entrepreneur who told me more dreams die in the parking lots of banks than anywhere else. And that's especially true for women and people of color. So we're going to work together to give people, particularly young people, the tools you need to start that small business you've been dreaming of.

And this campaign and our victory is for the reverend, a presiding elder of the AME church who looked at all the violence and division in our country and asked me the other night: How, how are we ever going to strengthen the bonds of family and community again? Well, we're going to start by working together with more love and kindness in our hearts and more respect for each other, even when we disagree.

Despite what you hear, we don't need to make America great again. America has never stopped being great. But we do need to make America whole again. Instead of building walls, we need to be tearing down barriers.

We need to show by everything we do that we really are in this together. Today, too many people at the top, too many corporations have forgotten this basic truth about what makes America great. Prescription drug companies that increase the price of ... drugs for no reason than greed and then double and triple bills overnight. Corporations that use shell games to shift their headquarters overseas for no other reason than to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. Companies like Johnson Controls, an auto parts company in Wisconsin, that we taxpayers helped to save with the auto rescue in 2008.

Now, let there be no doubt in any board room or executive suite across this country, if you cheat your employees, exploit your customers, pollute our environment or rip off the taxpayers, we will hold you accountable. If you turn your back on America, you'll pay a price. But if you do the right thing, if you invest in your workers and in your country's future, then we will stand with you. Now, together, we have to break down all the barriers. Not just some. It's important that Wall Street never threaten Main Street again; no bank can be too big to fail, and no executive too powerful to jail. But America isn't a single issue country, my friends. We need more than a plan for the biggest banks. The middle class needs a raise.

And we need more good jobs. Jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced. Jobs that provide dignity and a path to a brighter future. And we can create those good jobs by building on the progress we've made under President Obama. So let's make new investments in manufacturing and small business, in scientific research, in clean energy — enough clean energy to power every home in America. And don't let anybody tell you we can't make things in America. I know we can and I know we will. Let's break down the barriers that keep people on the sidelines of our economy, especially women.

Don't you think we've waited long enough for quality affordable child care and paid family leave? Don't you think it's time for equal pay for equal work? And let's break down the barriers that stop our children from getting the best possible start in life. We need to support great teachers and great schools in every zip code. Let's break down the barriers holding back our young people, especially the student debt that makes it hard to imagine ever living the life you want. And we are going to give special support to our historically black colleges and universities, which play a vital role in this state and across our country. Now, breaking down all the barriers means we also have to face the reality of systemic racism that more than a half a century (after) Rosa Parks sat and Dr. King marched and John Lewis bled, still plays a significant role in determining who gets ahead in America and who gets left behind.

We have to invest in communities of color, reform our broken criminal justice and immigration system. We have to guarantee opportunity, dignity and justice for every American. And tonight I want to pay tribute to five extraordinary women who criss-crossed this state with me and for me.

Sabrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, shot and killed in Florida just for walking down the street. Lucy Mcbath, mother of Jordan Davis, shot and killed by someone who thought he was playing his music too loud in his car. Maria Hamilton, mother of Donte, shot and killed by police in Milwaukee.

Mother of Eric Garner choked to death after being stopped for selling loose cigarettes on the street. And Geneva Reed, mother of Sandra Bland, who died in police custody in Texas. They all lost children, which is almost unimaginable. Yet they have not been broken or embittered. Instead, they have channelled their sorrow into a strategy and their mourning into a movement. And they are reminding us of something deep and powerful in the American spirit.

By now, we all know the story of Flint, Michigan, how a city's children were poisoned by toxic water because their governor wanted to save a little money. But there's another side to the story in Flint. It's a story of a community that's been knocked down but refused to be knocked out. It's hundreds of union plumbers coming from across the country to help install new water fixtures. It's students raising funds for water deliveries and showing up in Flint to distribute supplies, to see United Auto Workers and General Motors donating millions of dollars. We know there are many other Flints out there, communities that have been left out and left behind.

But for every problem we face anywhere in America, someone somewhere is working to solve it. Our country was built by people who had each other's backs, who understood we all have to do our part, and that at our best we all rise together. Imagine what we can all build together when each and every American has the chance to live up to his or her potential. Imagine a tomorrow where no child grows up in the shadow of discrimination or under the specter of deportation."

And, every child in every zipcode gets the education he or she needs and deserves.

Imagine a tomorrow where every parent can find a good job, and every grandparent can enjoy a secure retirement.

Where small businesses thrive, and big businesses play by the rules, and give more back to the country that has given them so much. Where hard work is honored, families are supported, and communities are strong.

With your help, that is the tomorrow we will build for our country. So, please join us. Go to Hillaryclinton.com, become a part of this campaign, or text, "JOIN", 47246 right now. Let's do this together.

Now, I'm heading on.

I am on my way to Texas, Bill is on his way to Colorado. The fight goes on, the future that we want is within our grasp. Thank you all. God bless you.