10 23 2014
  2:22 am  
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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday her prayers are with Trayvon Martin's family and "every family who loves someone who is lost to violence."

Addressing the Delta Sigma Theta sorority convention in Washington, Clinton told the crowd, "No mother, no father should ever have to fear for their child walking down a street in the United States of America."

Clinton, who's widely considered a potential 2016 presidential contender, addressed the largely-African American audience just days after a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Martin, 17.

The jury's decision sparked protests across the country, while many groups, including the NAACP, ramped up pressure on the Justice Department to press federal civil rights charges against Zimmerman.

At the top of her speech Tuesday, Clinton briefly addressed Martin's death and the recent trial - a story that has loomed large over the convention.

"In a week that I know has brought heartache - deep, painful heartache to many across our country - the solidarity and the solace you find here is all the more important," she said.

Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the same convention on Monday, calling Martin's death a "tragic, unnecessary shooting" and vowing that the Justice Department with "follow the facts of the law" as it continues to investigate the incident.

For her part, Clinton encouraged the sorority, the nation's single largest African-American women's organization, to "move forward."

"As we move forward, as we must, I hope this sisterhood will continue to be a force for justice and understanding," she said.

Tuesday's appearance marked the latest in Clinton's busy speech circuit. Since retiring as secretary of state at the beginning of 2013, the former first lady and U.S. senator from New York has made numerous paid and non-paid speeches across the country, fueling further speculation that she's gearing up for a presidential bid.

She also addressed the Supreme Court's recent decision that effectively ruled key parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 as invalid. The high court left it up to a divided Congress to revise the law, so that it's constitutional in the minds of a majority of justices.

While many Republicans praised the decision - saying it allowed some states to navigate more freely around outdated rules - many Democrats and civil rights leaders argue the ruling threatens voting rights for minorities in states with a history of discrimination.

Clinton urged the sorority women to pressure Congress to rewrite the law so that those key parts are deemed constitutional.

"I want to make sure that in the next election and the next election and the next and every one after that, people line up to vote and they vote regardless of those who may not want to count their vote or acknowledge their right to vote," she said, drawing heavy applause.

CNN's Ashley Killough and Steve Brusk contributed to this report.

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