Faith Leaders: Anti-Lynching Measure Will Help Ensure ‘Equal Protection’ for Black People
WASHINGTON – In response to President Joe Biden signing into law ‘The Emmett Till Anti-lynching Act of 2022,’ two leading faith leaders, who were present for the signing, offered reactions. The Rev. Michael McBride, founder and managing director of LIVE FREE; and Dr. Iva Carruthers, general secretary of Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, Inc., a Chicago-based, faith and social justice initiative and United Nations NGO, issued the following statement:
“The Emmett Till Anti-lynching Act of 2022 was appropriate and long overdue; Congress initially considered an antilynching measure over 120 years ago,” McBride said. “I shudder to think how many Black lives might have been impacted had there been such legislation in place. My question in this moment is how Black bodies have gone unprotected for so long.”
“I know that a law cannot change the hearts of people; this law will not stop lynching, but it will certainly give a foundation for waging a legal fight against it,” Dr. Carruthers said. “It is an important milestone in the fight for “equal protection under the law” for Black people in this country.”
Dr. Carruthers and McBride have been vocal advocates urging accountability in the wake of police and white supremacist violence.
“I appreciate President Biden noting the vulnerability of Black bodies, and I am especially grateful for Vice President Kamala Harris’ acknowledgement that while this moment is important, our work continues,” McBride concluded.
The Emmett Till Antilynching Act of 2022 was named after a 14-year-old Emmett Till who was brutally murdered by an angry white male mob for allegedly whistling at a white woman in Mississippi in 1955. His murder sparked national outrage and helped fuel the civil rights movement. Till’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley, made the heart wrenching decision to have an open casket, allowing the world to see the danger of racism and what the hateful mob had done to a child, her child.
The anti-lynching legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois. Three Republicans — Andrew Clyde of Georgia, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, and Chip Roy of Texas — voted against the bill.