Speaking from inside the historic church where the Montgomery Bus Boycott was organized, Hillary Clinton today renewed her calls for criminal justice reform, gun control, and “more love and kindness” during remarks at an event to honor the 60th anniversary of the demonstration.
“Those of us who serve in politics, or want to lead our country, have a special responsibility to bring Americans together, not pull us apart,” Clinton said from the pulpit of the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery, A.L. where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once served as pastor, "And it may be unusual hearing a presidential candidate saying we need more love and kindness, but that’s exactly what we need right now."
Clinton invoked a sermon Dr. King gave at this church the first night of the bus boycott. "Justice is really love in calculation,” he said, "Justice is really love correcting that which works against love. Standing beside love is always justice."
Inside Montgomery's historic Dexter Avenue Baptist Church on the 60th anniversary of the city's bus boycott pic.twitter.com/vdMaEQaIug— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) December 1, 2015
Reiterating her calls for criminal justice reform and gun control, she added: "It’s time to change our approach and end the era of mass incarceration. And we must do more to address the epidemic of gun violence that is plaguing our country. I consider this a national emergency."
On Dec. 1 1955, the Montgomery Bus Boycott was ignited after Rosa Parks, an African-American seamstress, was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to on a bus to a white person. The boycott lasted through December 1956, when city was ultimately ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court to integrate its bus system.
The event today, hosted by the National Bar Association, commemorated the 60th anniversary of the boycott and focused on the role lawyers played in it and the civil rights movement.
Standing ovation for Hillary Clinton as she enters the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church pic.twitter.com/MNY0vDe3aG— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) December 1, 2015
Fred Gray, the legendary civil rights lawyer who represented Rosa Parks during the boycott, was also in attendance today, as well as Benjamin Crump, the president of the National Bar Association, who has represented the families of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin.
Bernice King, Martin Luther King’s youngest daughter, delivered the benediction.
The event ended with the churchgoers -- including Clinton -- holding hands and singing "We Shall Overcome."