US Senator John Edwards spoke today at the Clergy Leadership Network’s National Gathering being held this week in Cleveland. The former presidential candidate was here on behalf of the John Kerry campaign. He used his address to thank religious leaders for their efforts to address important social issues and to talk about the anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education. Edwards stressed racial justice issues and told the interfaith group:
The white only signs that I grew up with myself in South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina are gone. I grew with an America that was growing up with this decision. I’ll never forget in 6th grade living in a small town in George watching my 6th grade teacher come in and saying that he wouldn’t teach the next year because it was being integrated. If you think for a moment that we still don’t have two public schools systems in America you’re living in a fantasy world. It’s not just educational equality; it’s economic equality.
The senator is frequently mentioned as a possible vice-presidential candidate. He forcefully advocated Kerry’s candidacy by reminding the audience about the importance of federal judicial appointments, public education funding, and Kerry’s support for social programs. Edwards never mentioned the incumbent administration. He also avoided any discussion of the Iraq conflict and his own support for the resolution that gave the president authority to launch the invasion. Iraq is clearly one of the most important issues for the crowd gathered here in Cleveland, but the senator received a warm reception and several standing ovations.