WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Tim Scott (R-SC) applauded today’s passage of H.R. 35, the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act, authored by U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), in the House of Representatives. H.R. 35 is identical to anti-lynching legislation introduced in the Senate last year by Senator Booker along with Senators Harris (D-CA) and Tim Scott (R-SC). That legislation passed the Senate unanimously last February.
“Today brings us one step closer to finally reconciling a dark chapter in our nation’s history,” Booker said. “Lynchings were used to terrorize, marginalize, and oppress black communities – to kill human beings in order to sow fear and keep black communities in a perpetual state of racial subjugation. If we do not reckon with this dark past, we cannot move forward. But today we are moving forward. Thanks to the leadership of Rep. Rush, the House has sent a clear, indisputable message that lynching will not be tolerated. It has brought us closer to reckoning with our nation’s history of racialized violence. Now the Senate must again pass this bill to ensure that it finally becomes law.”
“Lynchings were racially motivated acts of violence and terror that represent a dark and despicable chapter of our nation’s history,” Harris said. “They were acts against people who should have received justice, but did not. With this bill, we are able to change that by explicitly criminalizing lynching under federal law. I applaud Congressman Rush and the House of Representatives for speaking truth about our past and making it clear that these acts must never happen again without serious and swift consequence and accountability. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to support this bill’s passage.”
“Last year the Senate passed this important legislation, and I am pleased the House is following suit,” Scott said. “It is important we show that hate will not win.”
“Lynching, plain and simple, is an American evil. This atrocity is comparable to the French use of the guillotine, the Roman Empire’s use of crucifixion, and the British use of drawing and quartering as a tool of terrorism. And, for too long now, federal law against lynching has remained conspicuously silent,” Rep. Rush said. “Today, we will send a strong message that violence —and race-based violence, in particular — has no place in American society. I am immensely grateful to Senators Harris, Booker, and Scott for working with my office on this landmark piece of legislation, and I look forward to it being quickly passed in the Senate and immediately sent to the President to be signed into law.