The controversial state act faces strong opposition from local LGBTQ groups
Last Wednesday, The House of Representatives passed the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act, making lynching a federal hate crime. The vote was nearly unanimous, passing 410-4
The bill was named after 14-year-old lynching victim Emmett Till and was the 200th attempt to make lynching become a hate crime. The first attempt to pass a similar antilynching bill was in 1900, 55 years prior to Till’s death.
“They’re not taking it as seriously as they should,” said first year business undecided major Jada Batacan. “Like it took us that long?… The fact that it just happened means that they didn’t care enough about the black community to recognize them as humans.” The history of lynching in America has been recorded by the Equal Justice initiative, which has identified 4,084 cases of terror lynching between the Reconstruction and World War II.
Introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush, he described how Till’s death was crucial to his childhood experience. After Till’s body was found in Mississippi’s Tallahatchie River, Rush’s mother moved the family from their home in Georgia to Chicago. He claimed that Till’s death sparked the Civil Rights Movement in America.
After being accused of whistling at a white woman, two men took Till from his bed, beat and killed him, and sunk him in the Tallahatchie. His death became famous after his mother held an open-casket funeral to show the brutality of his death. It was one of the times that lynching was brought to national attention.
With the terror of lynching ending years prior to the passage of the Wednesday’s act, the legislation serves as a commemoration to all those who were injured and killed as well as a commitment to end new variations of hate crimes in America. “Lynching is rooted in hate and has a history so the fact that it wouldn’t already be considered a hate crime is kind of excusing it,” Mercy Torres, a first-year social work major said. “Hopefully that’s a step towards more justice.”
Batacan feels this bill will also make way for other related legislation. “The world is not just black and white. There’s other minorities out there and other people being marginalized that we have to notice,” she shared. This Anti-Lynching bill is expected to pass in a similar, bipartisan fashion in the Senate in the upcoming weeks and will be sent to President Trump’s desk for final approval.