On Wednesday, Ashley Williams, a Black Lives Matter activist, confronted Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during a fundraiser in Charleston, South Carolina before the Democratic primary on Saturday.
Activist Ashley Williams, interrupts private $500 per person speech of Hillary Clinton to ask her why she called Black children "super-predators" 20 years ago? Here's the video… I'll give this a Reality Check next week
Posted by Ben Swann on Friday, February 26, 2016
During the fundraiser, Williams held up a sign containing a quote from a speech Hillary gave in New Hampshire in 1996. The sign read, “We have to bring them to heel.”
Williams confronted Clinton and said, “I’m not a ‘super predator,’ Hillary Clinton.”
Williams demanded that Clinton apologize for calling black children “super predators” and for “the mass incarceration of black people.”
Clinton responded by saying, “You know what? Nobody’s ever asked me before. You’re the first person to ask me and I’m happy to address it.” But Williams was escorted out by the secret service before she heard any response from Clinton.
Clinton’s comments created a firestorm on social media. The hashtag #WhichHillary started trending, which put into question if she has really been honest with black voters on criminal justice reform.
Clinton said in 1996: “They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators.’ No conscience, no empathy, we can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”
The term “super predator” was not first coined by Clinton; according to the Washington Post, “the idea wasn’t Clinton’s, but rather it had been invented by researchers studying crime in the 1990s. And it was used to explain the rise in violence perpetrated by youths— particularly in predominantly minority inner cities. The concept has since been largely abandoned and decried for its racial undertones.”
Many activists, including Williams, are calling out Clinton’s comments and questioning whether her concern for the mass incarceration of black individuals in America is authentic, or just an attempt to win the black vote.
Clinton provided a statement regarding the incident via the Washington Post:
“In that speech, I was talking about the impact violent crime and vicious drug cartels were having on communities across the country and the particular danger they posed to children and families. Looking back, I shouldn’t have used those words, and I wouldn’t use them today.
My life’s work has been about lifting up children and young people who’ve been let down by the system or by society. Kids who never got the chance they deserved. And unfortunately today, there are way too many of those kids, especially in African-American communities. We haven’t done right by them. We need to. We need to end the school to prison pipeline and replace it with a cradle-to-college pipeline.
As an advocate, as First Lady, as Senator, I was a champion for children. And my campaign for president is about breaking down the barriers that stand in the way of all kids, so every one of them can live up to their God-given potential.”
In response to Clinton’s statement, Williams reportedly told CNN: “One of the things I don’t hear in that response is an apology for mass incarceration. I also don’t hear her taking responsibility for the ways in which those words and her backing certain policies has affected black communities and communities of color.”