Nov. 6, 2016 - Mt. Airy Church of God in Philadelphia, PA

In Philadelphia, Clinton Asks Voters to Choose Her Vision of America – One Where We Break Down All the Barriers Holding Families Back 

At Mt. Airy Church of God in Philadelphia on Sunday, Hillary Clinton laid out the stakes in this election, calling it not just a choice between two candidates but between two very different visions for our country. Clinton vowed to break down all the barriers holding Americans back, outlining her commitments to end-to-end criminal justice reform, more investment in underserved communities like Flint, Michigan, common sense gun reform so African American men's lives are not disproportionately cut short by gun violence and a concerted effort against systemic racism in all corners of our society. Clinton told the crowd we must overcome efforts to "destroy President Obama’s legacy" and preserve the gains made in the last eight years, saying, "This election is about much more than the two candidates. Our names may be on the ballot, but make no mistake: everything you care about, everything that I care about and I’ve worked for is at stake."

Clinton made the case that the stakes in this election are especially high for the African American community because of this clear choice. Clinton asked the crowd to vote on November 8th so we can continue the progress of the past eight years and build an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top. Clinton added, "Proverbs tells us, ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.’ So let us have a positive vision that we hold in common that brings us together to make those changes that will give more support, more empowerment, more tools to everyone to make the most of their God-given potential."

Clinton's remarks, as transcribed, are below:

“This is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it. It is with joy and gladness being here in this great congregation and listening to what we just heard. I needed that baby. I needed that.

I am so grateful for the artistry and the faith and […] us all today. And I have to express my gratitude to your pastor, Pastor Felton, members of the Mount Airy Church of God in Christ of course and to all the […] who minister and to serve Mount Airy.

I am so honored to be here and I have to start by thanking my dear friend Senator Cory Booker who – who's from your neighbor New Jersey but he’s really from America. He embodies the heart and soul, the spirit of this country. I expect great things from him and I look forward to working with him.

And I always love it when he quotes Maya Angelou. Maya Angelou was a friend of mine and I really miss her in this election. She would have a lot of choice things to say, wouldn't she? She famously said, ‘When someone shows you who he is, believe him the first time,’ right?

For me, to be here, in this magnificent house of worship, is especially sweet because I can congratulate you in person on your 50th Anniversary. For 50 years, this church has been a source of strength and solace, not only for its congregants, but also for the community in which you live and serve. You have answered the charge that Jesus gave us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and welcome the stranger. And it is important to remember that we are not asked to love one another, are we? We're not requested, we're not urged, we are commanded to love one another

In fact, Jesus said it was his greatest commandment and that commandment is very much on my mind in these closing days of this presidential race. When I used to teach school -- Sunday school -- back in Little Rock, I would often either teach on this commandment or I would refer to it in the lesson that I was discussing, because really, when you think about it, love your neighbor as yourself requires you first to love yourself.

To love what God has given us individually and uniquely – all of us stray, all of us fall, all of us are knocked down. To get back up knowing of that love. And then to go out as commanded to love one another. It's so fitting that as we end this election, we gather here in Philadelphia, and we will be back tomorrow night at Independence Hall with President and Mrs. Obama for the final big event.

This city where our Founders declared that God gives us life and also liberty. Now, it took a while before reality was anywhere what it needed to be. Those ideals in our founding documents were not true at the time were they? But they were aspirational, and I view them as something of a commandment.

Jesus knew that we weren't all going to love each other, but that we had to get up every day and keep trying. And here in America, when our founders said, ‘All men are created equal,’ they left out African Americans, they left out women, they left out a lot of us. But that didn't stop generations of Americans from pushing forward, making it clear we were not satisfied with just half-measures or in the case of our Founders, African Americans only counting as three-fifths of a person.

We weren't about to accept that. And the courage and the fortitude of so many that came after, kept moving us toward more perfect union. Our founders said, ‘Our democracy should be shaped by ‘we the people.' But we didn't all get to vote, did we? And even when the Constitution was amended to allow African Americans to vote, it was still only men, and then finally when it was amended to allow women to vote, it took decades before that became a reality too.

We know the painful chapters of our past, but the greatness of our country lies in our willingness and our ability to right these wrongs. We do see progress. As President Obama reminds us, we have made progress. We see it in our daily lives, but we have not yet done enough.

And this election, in many ways, is about what kind of future our country will have.  Will it be dark and divisive, calling up the spectres of our past, as Cory said a rerun of some of our worst moments?

Or will it be hopeful and inclusive and united?

I personally believe we have come too far to turn back now. Throughout our history — from Seneca Falls to Selma, the California farmfields to Stonewall Inn – people have stood up and spoke out to meet the tests of their times.

On Tuesday, we face a test of our own. This election is about much more than the two candidates. Our names may be on the ballot, but make no mistake: everything you care about, everything that I care about and I’ve worked for is at stake. This election is about doing everything we can to stop the movement to destroy President Obama’s legacy – in fact it is about building on the gains and the progress we’ve made in the last eight years.

It is about choosing hope over fear, unity over division and love over hate. Now, we know that everyone is equal in God’s eyes, no matter who they are, where they’re from, what they look like, how much money they have. And, as God’s children, we are called to see one another in exactly the same way — or at least, try our hardest, and when we fail, do better.  

We are called to be respectful. Everyone has value. That's something I learned from my late mother, who had a very difficult life. Abandoned by her parents, abandoned by her grandparents. At the age of 14, she was working as a housemaid. But she was able to build a good life for herself, against the odds, because she was sustained and nourished by the kindness of others.

Not those closest to her, but the first grade teacher who brought her food every day because my mother came to class without anything to eat. And even the woman whose house she went to work in when she was 14 knew my mother wanted to go to high school. The woman said to my mother, ‘If you get out early and you get your chores done, you can go to high school, but you have to come right back.’

Now, that my sound harsh in our ears when we think about the 14-year-olds we know, but to my mother, it was a gift. She got out early every day for four years and she ran to high school. And then, after it was over, she ran back.

She married my dad, who worked hard every single day as a small business-owner to provide us with a good, solid, middle-class life. I am grateful for all of the blessings that my family and nation have given to me. And I am going to do my very best to expand opportunities for others every single day.

Let us remember what Scripture tells us, ‘To whom much is given, much is required.’ So, despite all the noise and distractions of this campaign, I have tried to stay focused on what matters – and that's you and your families, your communities across America.

And that is what I want this election to be about and that’s what I want my presidency to be about as well: breaking down the barriers that hold Americans back.

I have spent the last year and a half meeting with and listening to people – people like the Mothers of the Movement, who’ve lost their children to gun violence or in police incidents and are now trying to prevent other parents from experiencing that tragic loss. I’ve met parents and kids in Flint, Michigan, who drank water that was poisoned, but they're holding on to their hope and fighting hard for a healthier community. I’ve met families who lost everything in the Great Recession, who saw generations of work wiped out, lost their homes, many of them; lost their jobs, many more. Lost all their savings. And now they're trying to rebuild so they have some sense of security and something to pass on to their kids. I’ve carried those voices with me every day in this campaign. And I will promise you this: I will carry them with me into the White House every single day I am there.

Now, I know we have some tough challenges ahead of us. I am so grateful for President Obama's leadership. He does not get the credit he deserves for everything he did to save our economy, put us on the right track. And I love it when he talks – and I'm so grateful for all of his support in this election. Both he and Michelle have been amazing on the campaign trail. And I love it when the president talks about supporting me, and he said he wants to "pass on the baton" to me. And I'm just hoping he will bend low enough that I can reach it, because he’s a tall man. I’m not sure. So he’s going to have to bend, and I’m going to have to stand on my toes. Those are big shoes to fill.

But we have got to continue to take on the problem of systemic racism, to rid ourselves of deep-rooted injustice, hatred, and fear. We need end-to-end reform in our criminal justice system – with real follow through. I want us to get rid of what is called the “school to prison pipeline” and replace it with the ‘cradle to college pipeline.’

We have got to make sure that we have a commitment to ensure that everyone knows we are safer, when the police respect the communities and protect them and when the communities respect the police, who serve them. That must be our goal. And we have to also fight for common-sense reforms to stop gun violence, which is by far the leading cause of death for young black men in America.

So I have set forth an ambitious agenda. And I’m doing everything I can to win this election so that I can get to work the next day to implement that agenda, working with people like Cory Booker, hoping that I’ll have not just Bob Casey to work with, but Katie McGinty, as well, in the United States Senate. And we’re going to invest in communities that have been left out, because there is so much talent. Honestly, everywhere I go, I meet people who are truly diamonds in the rough. We have got to get them polished up and get them on their way to take their rightful place as leaders in every walk of life.

Proverbs tells us, ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.’ So let us have a positive vision that we hold in common that brings us together to make those changes that will give more support, more empowerment, more tools to everyone to make the most of their God-given potential.

We have just three days left, if you count Election Day. Every hour and every minute counts. Here in Pennsylvania, you don’t have early voting like there are in other states, so I have to ask you to please come out and vote on November 8th. Vote for yourselves, vote for your children, vote for your grandchildren. Talk to your friends and your neighbors. Make sure they have a plan to vote. Ask for help if you need a ride or somebody to get you to one of the polling places. We cannot get this wrong. The stakes are too high.

And there is a lot of noise and a lot of distraction, and it’s meant to throw us off our path. It’s meant to undermine our faith and confidence in ourselves and in each other.

You listen to […], what he said. ‘No matter what happens, we have to stand.’ And I hope by standing we are reaching out to other people in a great chain of people from one end of this country to another. We are not all going to agree on everything, but if we come together with that common vision, with that common faith, we will find common ground. And on that common ground, we will make a difference in the lives of Americans.

And remember what Scripture tells us: ‘Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.’ Let us have faith in each other. Let’s not grow weary. Let’s not lose heart. Let us work for that season when we reap the future that our children and grandchildren deserve. Thank you, Mount Airy. God bless you!”

For Immediate Release, November 6, 2016