PHILADELPHIA -- Reflecting on the fatal shootings in Louisiana, Minnesota and Texas this week, Hillary Clinton called for a "just accounting" of each case and implored Americans to strive "to walk in one another's shoes" and reach for common ground.
"If we do this right," she said, speaking to thousands gathered for a conference organized by the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, "and have the hard conversations we need to have, we will become even stronger, like steel tempered by fire."
Prior to the shooting in Dallas on Thursday night that killed five police officers and wounded seven others, and also two civilians, Clinton was set to travel to Scranton for her first campaign event with Vice President Joe Biden. She had planned to address the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, both shot and killed by police officers. But, in light of the attack in Dallas, her campaign decided to postpone her appearance there.
Instead, Clinton invoked the memories of Clementa Pinckney, Eric Garner and Freddie Gray while praising the work of police officers across the country, and used her remarks in Philadelphia to call for both greater support for law enforcement as well as criminal justice reform and an end to systemic racism.
"I know that, just by saying all these things together, I may upset some people," she said. "I'm talking about criminal justice reform the day after a horrific attack on police officers. I'm talking about courageous, honorable police officers just a few days after officer-involved killings in Louisiana and Minnesota."
"But all these things can be true at once," she said.
Clinton said that there is "too much hate" and "senseless killing" in America and reiterated her pledge to develop "national guidelines" for the use of force by police officers and to commit $1 billion in training programs. She warned against vilifying police officers.
"Let's put ourselves in the shoes of police officers, kissing their kids and spouses goodbye every day and heading off to do a dangerous job we need them to do," she said.
And she asked white Americans to try to understand the experience of black Americans and "to imagine what it would feel like if people followed us around stores, or locked their car doors when we walked past."
Clinton said churchgoers, in particular, could play a "special role" in bringing people together. She closed by reading a Bible passage that she has often quoted on the campaign trail. The crowd stood in standing ovation.
"Let us not grow weary in doing good," she said, "for in due season, we shall reap, if we do not lose heart."