Two years after presenting the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act to the United States House of Representatives, the bill has finally passed with 422 votes.
The decision would have been unanimous had it not been opposed by three republications, Reps. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), and Chip Roy (R-Texas). When Chip Roy was revealed as one of the Republicans who opposed the bill, he offered a statement explaining his decision.
“Lynching is an unspeakably heinous crime. But This bill doesn’t have anything to do with lynching, other than its name. It does not make lynching a federal offense. In fact it creates no new federal offenses. It simply raises the punishment for things that are already federal crimes, including those that are unrelated to lynching — such as gender identity — in an effort to advance a woke agenda under the guise of correcting racial injustice. As much as I favor harsher penalties for violent offenders, this is a matter for the states and I will not vote for legislative deception. I will also not support enhancing the power of a federal government that so often abuses it.”
The bill was named after a 14-year-old African American male who was brutally murdered in Mississippi for allegedly flirting with a White woman back in 1955. What followed was a high-profile court case that received worldwide attention and a not guilty verdict for the perpetrators. Although his mother, Mamie Elizabeth Till-Mobley, fought the unjust ruling until her dying breath, lawmakers often prevented her from reaching a fair revelation. Formally known as H.R. 55, the bill will rectify section 249 of title 18 of the U.S. Code, in regards to making the act of lynching a hate crime going forward. Bobby Rush, an African American who is the U.S. representative for Illinois’s 1st congressional district previously introduced the Anti-Lynching Act during the 115th Congress, but his attempts were often impeded in the Senate by Kentucky Republican Rand Paul.
In a statement about the new bill, U.S. Rep Rush reflected back on all of the injustice that he had witnessed, leading up to this gratifying moment. But he also stressed the fact that not much has changed since Emmett Till’s murder.