"Now, I lived in Arkansas and I represented Upstate New York. I know that gun ownership is part of the fabric of a lot of law-abiding communities. But I also know that we can have common sense gun reforms that keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and the violently unstable, while respecting responsible gun owners. "What I hope with all of my heart is that we work together to make this debate less polarized, less inflamed by ideology, more informed by evidence, so we can sit down across the table, across the aisle from one another, and find ways to keep our communities safe while protecting constitutional rights. "It makes no sense that bipartisan legislation to require universal background checks would fail in Congress, despite overwhelming public support. It makes no sense that we wouldn't come together to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, or people suffering from mental illnesses, even people on the terrorist watch list. That doesn't make sense, and it is a rebuke to this nation we love and care about. "The President is right, the politics on this issue have been poisoned. But we can't give up. The stakes are too high. The costs are too dear."
"Now, it's tempting, it is tempting to dismiss a tragedy like this as an isolated incident, to believe that in today's America, bigotry is largely behind us, that institutionalized racism no longer exists. But despite our best efforts and our highest hopes, America's long struggle with race is far from finished. "I know this is a difficult topic to talk about. I know that so many of us hoped by electing our first black president, we had turned the page on this chapter in our history. I know there are truths we don't like to say out loud or discuss with our children. But we have to. That's the only way we can possibly move forward together. "Race remains a deep fault line in America. Millions of people of color still experience racism in their everyday lives.... More than a half century after Dr. King marched and Rosa Parks sat and John Lewis bled, after the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act and so much else, how can any of these things be true? But they are. "And our problem is not all kooks and Klansman. It's also in the cruel joke that goes unchallenged. It's in the off-hand comments about not wanting 'those people' in the neighborhood. "Let's be honest: For a lot of well-meaning, open-minded white people, the sight of a young black man in a hoodie still evokes a twinge of fear. And news reports about poverty and crime and discrimination evoke sympathy, even empathy, but too rarely do they spur us to action or prompt us to question our own assumptions and privilege. "We can't hide from any of these hard truths about race and justice in America. We have to name them and own them and then change them."