Washington, D.C. –Yesterday,House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD), Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Congressman Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), and Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass (D-CA) announced thatthe House of Representatives will vote on H.R. 35, the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, on Wednesday, February 26. The legislation, introduced by Congressman Rush, would designate lynching as a hate crime under federal law.
“On Wednesday, the House will consider the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which will explicitly designate lynching as a hate crime under federal law,” said House Majority Leader Hoyer. “This legislation is long overdue, but it is never too late to do the right thing and address these gruesome, racially motivated acts of terror that have plagued our nation’s history. As we renew our commitment to confronting racism and hate during Black History Month, the House will take this historic step to demonstrate that commitment, and I hope this bill receives strong bipartisan support. I thank Congressman Rush for his leadership on this bill, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Nadler for his tireless work advancing this bill through committee, CBC Chairwoman Bass for her work on this important civil rights issue, and Senators Booker and Harris for their leadership on this in the Senate.”
“120 years have passed since Congressman George Henry White introduced the first antilynching legislation,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler. “Next week, we will finally take concrete steps to address this dark and shameful chapter in American history by bringing the Emmett Till Antilynching Act to a vote on the House Floor. I am proud to have supported this legislation and want to applaud Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), along with Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Kamala Harris (D-CA), for their leadership in working to correct this historical injustice.”
“For too long, lynching has not been classified as a federal crime, but to borrow a quote from Rev. King, ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,’”said Rep. Bobby L. Rush.“102 years ago, Congressman Leonidas C. Dyer of Missouri introduced the first antilynching legislationto pass the House, but tragically, that bill would die in the Senate. However, with today’s announcement, we are one step closer to finally outlawing this heinous practice and achieving justice for over four thousand victims of lynching, including Emmitt Till. Moreover, the importance of this bill cannot be overstated. From Charlottesville to El Paso, we are still being confronted with the same violent racism and hatred that took the life of Emmett and so many others. The passage of this bill will send a strong and clear message to the nation that we will not tolerate this bigotry. I am beyond honored to see this bill finally get the vote it deserves on the House Floor, and I am thankful to Chairman Nadler, Chairwoman Bass, and Leader Hoyer, as well as Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, for working to get this historic piece of legislation across the finish line. I can think of no better way to honor the memory of Emmett Till and celebrate Black History Month than with the swift passage of this bill next week.”
“After 256 years of enslavement, African Americans were subjected to acts of racial terror throughout this country,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass. “One of the worst examples of this was the act of lynching. Unfortunately, this is not a legacy solely of our past. While this reign of terror has faded, the most recent lynching happened less than 25 years ago. Although, we cannot truly rectify the terror and horrors of these acts, next week the House of Representatives, which once included slave owners and Ku Klux Klan members, will stand up and do our part so that justice is delivered in the future. The fight for civil rights and to protect our community from racially motivated violence continues to this day. I thank our colleague, Representative Bobby Rush, and Senators Cory Booker and Kamala Harris for championing this effort and seeing it through. We cannot wait any longer. I urge my colleagues to support this bill next week."