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National Black Justice Coalition Celebrates Senate’s Unanimous Passage of the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act, Biden’s Impending Signature Making It Federal Law

CONTACT: Brett Abrams | 

Leading Black LGBTQ+ Civil Rights Group Says Legislation is Long Overdue; Praises Heroes Like Ida B. Wells, Billie Holiday and Mamie Till Who Led Fight for Justice

WASHINGTON, DC — Late yesterday, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act, legislation named for Emmett Till which will make lynching a federal hate crime. The bill now heads to President Joe Biden, who is expected to sign it into law.

The legislation makes it possible to prosecute a crime as a lynching when a conspiracy to commit a hate crime results in death or serious bodily injury, according to Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush, who introduced the bill. It is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

In reaction to the legislation’s passage, David Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, a leading Black LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, issued the following statement: 

“We celebrate the passage of the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act, long overdue legislation that would finally make lynching a federal hate crime. 

“This legislation would never have been possible without the courage of Mamie Till, Emmett’s mother, who fought for justice for her son by publishing the picture of his open casket for all Americans to see for themselves racist violence in the United States. In recognition of the importance of this action taken during Women’s History Month we also honor and celebrate leaders like Ida B. Wells, who launched the first major campaign to end lynching in the United States, and bisexual singer Billie Holiday who amplied the struggle for generations in her song “Strange Fruit.”

“We look forward to President Biden’s signature codifying penalties for hate crimes committed against so many Black people over generations into federal law.”

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.