Advocates hope President Biden's signing of anti-lynching bill is a first step for more civil right changes

News 12 spoke with Chivona Newsome, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter Greater New York and Black Opportunities, about the impact of the federal legislation and the next step this organization would like to see.

News 12 Staff

Apr 4, 2022, 1:52 AM

Updated 836 days ago

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Advocates hope President Joe Biden's signing of a bill that officially made lynching a federal hate crime is a first step for more civil right changes.
"Lynching was pure terror to enforce the lie that not everyone belongs in America, not everyone is created equal," Biden said at the Rose Garden on Tuesday, where he signed the Emmett Till Anti-lynching Act of 2022.
"Lynching is not a relic of the past. Racial acts of terror still occur in our nation," said Vice President Kamala Harris.
News 12 spoke with Chivona Newsome, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter Greater New York and Black Opportunities, about the impact of the federal legislation and the next step this organization would like to see.
"I hope this piece of legislation, I hope that it offers solace to the remaining members of the Till family and to every Black person that lost their lives at the hands of lynching," Newsome said.
The bill is named after Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black boy from Chicago who was murdered by white men in Mississippi for allegedly making advances at a white woman in 1955.
"But the law is not just about the past, it's about the present and our future as well. From the bullets in the back of Ahmad Arbury to countless other acts of violence, countless victims known and unknown," Biden added.
Lynching was a terror tactic used against Black Americans, in particular, in the racially segregated South. While this act of hate isn't used much today, Newsome said other legislation needs to be passed to address issues that are seen today.
"It represents something that has happened that doesn't happen currently. But I would love to see legislation come out, like the George Floyd bill that got stalled back in September where it was holding police accountable against police violence," Newsome said.
As police reform is an ongoing conversation, the social justice advocate said she hopes the Biden administration will continue to spearhead its efforts towards change.
"Anti-Blackness is very real, and I would love to see this administration come up with more steps and more policy changes to erase anti-Blackness, and to make Black people feel safe in the country they helped build for free," Newsome said.
Advocates tried to pass anti-lynching legislation more than 200 times for more than a century after it was introduced to Congress.


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