Sandra Bland's 'Heartbreaking' Death Matters for Hillary Clinton

Campaign stop includes emphasis that "black lives matter" this time around.

ByABC News
July 23, 2015, 1:50 PM
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton listens to questions at an event, July 23, 2015 in Columbia, S.C.
Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton listens to questions at an event, July 23, 2015 in Columbia, S.C.
Stephen B. Morton/AP Photo

— -- Hillary Clinton today called Sandra Bland’s “heartbreaking” death in a Texas jail cell “another African-American life cut short.”

“And that’s why I think it is essential that we all stand up and say loudly and clearly, ‘Yes, black lives matter.’ And we all have a responsibility to face these hard truths of race and justice honestly and directly,” the 2016 Democratic front-runner said to cheers during a campaign stop at the Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia, South Carolina.

Bland, 28, was found dead in a Hempstead, Texas, jail cell three days after being pulled over in a traffic stop earlier this month.

Clinton was criticized last month for saying “all lives matter” at an event at a historic black church close to Ferguson, Missouri, where protesters last year widely used the phrase “Black Lives Matter.”

Her remarks come just days after “Black Lives Matter” activists interrupted Clinton’s Democratic rivals last weekend during the liberal Netroots Nation conference in Phoenix.

“Every life matters,” Martin O’Malley told the protesters. “Black lives matter, white lives matter, all lives matter.”

Clinton didn’t attend the conference, but Monday in a Facebook chat, Clinton answered a question from a Washington Post reporter about what she would have said to those activists.

She answered, “Black lives matter. Everyone in this country should stand firmly behind that.”

"We need to acknowledge some hard truths about race and justice in this country, and one of those hard truths is that that racial inequality is not merely a symptom of economic inequality. Black people across America still experience racism every day,” she answered in the chat.

Clinton also told the audience today in the important early voting state it has been a “remarkable time” there in the aftermath of the Charleston shooting, as well as the death of Walter Scott in April, and praised the state for removing the Confederate flag from the statehouse grounds.

“I think it’s been a remarkable time for South Carolina and, as President Obama recently said, an example of true grace. And that did not come from above; that came from people in communities rising up, speaking out, acting together.” We all were grateful that the leaders of this state did the right thing and removed the Confederate Battle Flag from statehouse grounds, but you know better than most the work of healing our communities and taking on the challenge of systemic racism is far from finished,” she said.

“It’s also important to recognize that we have to tackle these problems together, you have to rebuild bonds of trust and respect between elected officials and those they serve, between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”