Girl Whose Speech About Charlotte Went Viral Finds A Fan In Hillary Clinton

Clinton asked 9-year-old Zianna Oliphant to join her on stage.
Clinton asked 9-year-old Zianna Oliphant to join her on stage at a church in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Clinton asked 9-year-old Zianna Oliphant to join her on stage at a church in Charlotte, North Carolina.

During her speech at a black church in Charlotte, North Carolina, Hillary Clinton invited a “bright, energetic, impressive young woman” on stage.

On Sept. 26, 9-year-old Zianna Oliphant gave a tear-filled speech to the Charlotte City Council that has been viewed more than 28 million times on Facebook. Oliphant spoke about the reality of being a black child.

“It’s a shame that our fathers and mothers are killed and we can’t see them anymore,” she said. “It’s a shame that we have to go to their graveyard and bury them. And we have tears, and we shouldn’t have tears. We need our fathers and mothers to be by our side.”

Clinton referenced the 9-year-old’s powerful words and made an important point about her own role as a grandmother, specifically about the fears black grandmothers face that she doesn’t.

“I’m a grandmother and like every grandmother, I worry about the safety and security of my grandchildren,” she said. “But my worries are not the same as black grandmothers.”

The Democratic presidential nominee added later:

“[B]ecause my grandchildren are white, because they are the grandchildren of a former president and secretary of state ― let’s be honest here. They won’t face the kind of fear that we heard from the young children testifying before the city council.”

Clinton visited the church about two weeks after Charlotte police fatally shot a black man named Keith Lamont Scott. Following the shooting, Clinton called on the city to release the police footage of it to “ensure justice.” (The city later released footage, which did not have clear evidence as to whether Scott was in possession of a handgun like authorities said.)

During her speech, Clinton said the United States should not delay taking action against racism, learning to acknowledge implicit bias and reforming its criminal justice system because “every child deserves the same sense of security.”

“Every child deserves the same hope,” she said. “They should not be facing fear. They should be learning and growing, imagining who they can be and what their contributions to our country could be as well.”

Listen to part of Clinton’s speech below.


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