WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) applauded the unanimous passage of bipartisan legislation he co-sponsored that would criminalize lynching, attempts to lynch, and conspiracy to lynch for the first time in American history. The Justice for Victims of Lynching Act was introduced by Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Tim Scott (R-SC).
Tillis previously co-sponsored the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act last Congress, which also passed the Senate by unanimous consent. It marked the first time in American history that federal anti-lynching legislation had been passed by the Senate.
“The horrific occurrences of lynching that took place in American history must never be forgotten,” said Senator Tillis. “Passage of the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act is a long-overdue step to criminalize lynching and honor those who suffered from these disgusting acts of violence.”
The Justice for Victims of Lynching Act amends the United States Code to specify that lynching is a crime under existing federal civil rights statutes. Lynching was used as an instrument of terror and intimidation 4,084 times during the late 19th and 20th centuries, according to data from the Equal Justice Initiative.
The legislation is supported by the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Equal Justice Initiative, and has companion legislation in the House of Representatives.