WATCH: Hillary Clinton Courts Wisconsin Blacks by Focusing on Gun Violence


With the Wisconsin primary approaching, Hillary Clinton reached out to one of her most loyal constituencies on Tuesday, speaking passionately to African-American parents about the gun violence and clashes with the police that have plagued their communities. 

“The epidemic of gun violence spares no one, but it is concentrated in areas that are short on hope and where we still face the effects of systemic racism,” Mrs. Clinton said at the Tabernacle Community Baptist Church in an area of this city where the deaths of young black men to gun violence are particularly prevalent. “We can’t go on like this, my friends.”

Sitting onstage with mothers who had lost children to clashes with the police or guns, Mrs. Clinton checked off the statistics. “We lose 90 people a day to gun violence, that is 33,000 Americans a year,” she said. “If anything else, a disease were killing 33,000 Americans a year, we would come together and say ‘How do we deal with this?’”

For all the emotional impact of the event, speaking about gun violence has also proved politically beneficial to Mrs. Clinton. The issues of gun control and criminal justice reform have been central to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, as she relies on the bulwark of support from black voters across the South and in the Midwest. She has consistently criticized Senator Bernie Sanders for his record on gun control measures as a senator representing Vermont.

With Mrs. Clinton’s prospects in next Tuesday’s primary, where she lost by 18 percentage points to Senator Barack Obama in 2008, appearing dim, the black voters concentrated in Milwaukee can help deliver delegates and cushion a potential loss to Mr. Sanders. She is also looking to shore up her support among blacks ahead of the April 19 New York primary, with a rally scheduled in Harlem on Wednesday.

Milwaukee is 40 percent black, compared to the state’s 13.2 percent overall black population, according to census data, and has been the site of recent clashes between the police and unarmed black men. The local congresswoman, Representative Gwen Moore, has endorsed Mrs. Clinton and appeared with her on Tuesday, calling guns “a scourge in our community.”

As Mr. Sanders holds rallies with thousands of supporters, Mrs. Clinton spoke to a small congregation on Tuesday, not far from where Dontre D. Hamilton was fatally shot by a white police officer in 2014. She paraphrased Galatians 6:9, telling churchgoers, some of whom cried and wailed thinking of lost loved ones, “Let us not grow weary of doing good because in due time we will harvest, if we stay focused.”

At one point, Annette Nance-Holt, whose 16-year-old son, Blair, was shot on a Chicago bus in 2007, denounced Mr. Sanders for not making gun control a priority.

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Source: The New York Times |  Amy Chozick