photo credit: kahksha siddiqui // Shutterstock
It looks like the U.S. Senate has finally recognized lynching as a hate crime. And I bet you already thought there was a law in place of lynching, huh.
Over the summer, all of the black lawmakers in the U.S. Senate, Sens. Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Tim Scott, banded together to create a bill that would make lynching a federal crime, and the bill was passed unanimously on Wednesday. The Justice for Victims of Lynching Act ensures that perpetrators would be punished by a sentence of up to life in prison. It would be an additional charge on top of murder.
“Lynching is a dark and despicable aspect of our nation’s history,” Harris tweeted after the vote. “We must acknowledge that fact lest we repeat it.”
In order for the bill to be passed, the lawmakers needed the support of 60 senators or a deal to pass the bill by a voice vote. According to Harris’ office, Congress has tried but failed to pass anti-lynching legislation roughly 200 times since 1918.
The nation’s first memorial to the victims of lynching opened in Alabama this past April. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice commemorates 4,400 African Americans who were killed in lynchings and other racism-related murders between 1877 and 1950
Lynching is a dark and despicable aspect of our nation’s history. We must acknowledge that fact, lest we repeat it. Thank you to my colleagues for agreeing to unanimously pass our Justice for Victims of Lynching Act, and @CoryBooker and @SenatorTimScott for your partnership.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) December 19, 2018
Written by Clarke Jones