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Hillary Clinton Discusses Laquan McDonald, Sandra Bland In Springfield Speech

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jul 13, 2016 7:41PM

Hillary Clinton spoke to a crowd of 150 guests at the Old State Capitol in Springfield on Wednesday. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee referenced Abraham Lincoln's historic House Divided Speech, which Lincoln delivered at the state house in 1858.

In the speech, Clinton also cited the controversial deaths of Laquan McDonald and Sandra Bland, according to a Time transcript.

Clinton was careful to not draw an explicit parallel between the Civil War era and the present moment, but she iterated that America's racial struggles are "far from finished" while referencing the tumultuous week in which Philando Castile and Alton Sterling were fatally shot and sniper Micah Xavier Johnson shot to death five police officers in Dallas, in separate incidents.

"The challenges we face today do not approach those of Lincoln’s time. Not even close, and we should be very clear about that. But recent events have left people across America asking hard questions about whether we are still a house divided,” she said. “Despite our best efforts and highest hopes, America’s long struggle with race is far from finished. In just the past week, we saw black men killed by police and five police officers killed by a sniper targeting white police."

Clinton told the crowd of 150 guests that the country has "too much violence and hate" and "too little trust and common ground" while stressing the necessity of dialogues about race and income disparity. "It can feel impossible to have the conversations we need to have to fix what is broken. And despite being the richest country on earth, we have too much economic inequality. And that also undermines the foundation of our democracy."

The speech was delivered a day after Sen. Bernie Sanders formally endorsed Clinton, saying "she must become our next president."

Clinton also drew a local connection, mentioning Laquan McDonald, the black 17-year-old who was fatally shot by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, and Sandra Bland, the Napervile woman who died a year ago Wednesday while in the custody of Texas police.. "Time after time, no one is held accountable. And surely, we can all agree that’s deeply wrong and needs to change. And yes, we do need to listen to those who say 'black lives matter,'" she said. Van Dyke faces a first-degree murder charge for his role in the McDonald killing.

Clinton continues her Illinois visit on Wednesday with a scheduled visit with Laura Ricketts, co-owner of the Cubs, in Wilmette.