Democratic Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris gained Senate support to pass bipartisan anti-lynching legislation that will criminalize lynching in America for the first time.
In December 2018, the motion to approve the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act, which was introduced by Booker, Harris and Republican Sen. Tim Scott, was passed unopposed. The act also has the support of NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League and the Equal Justice Initiative.
According to the NAACP, from 1882-1968, 4,743 lynchings occurred in the United States, 3,446 of those people being Black and accounting for nearly 73 percent of the American population. This legislation would ensure that the history of America's past is criminalized during the present-day.
In a press release from Booker's campaign staff, he expressed the "painful past" and "pernicious evil" lynching caused and how this legislation would help to criminalize all acts of racially motivated acts. According to the Equal Justice Initiative, this is monumental considering how Congress failed to pass anti-lynching legislation 200 times between 1882 to 1986.
“Today’s Senate passage of the Justice For Victims of Lynching Act is a historic step towards acknowledging a long and painful history and codifying into law our commitment to confronting bias-motivated acts of terror in all of its forms," said Booker. "I urge the House of Representatives to take up this bill so that after over 100 years and 200 attempts, we can finally make lynching a federal crime."
Harris agreed with those sentiments, noting how lynchings were "horrendous acts of violence" and "motivated by racism."
“With this bill, we finally have a chance to speak the truth about our past and make clear that these hateful acts should never happen again," Harris said in the press release. "We can finally offer some long overdue justice and recognition to the victims of lynching and their families.”
Scott also agreed that the legislation would send a "strong signal that this nation will not stand for the hate and violence" and welcomes President Trump to sign the bill into law.
“I look forward to this important legislation ending up on the President’s desk for signature,” Scott said.
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