Success: Lynching Victims Get Justice

Target: Bobby Rush, U.S. Representative

Goal: Support designation of lynching as federal hate crime.

For the supposed “crime” of whistling at a white woman, 14-year-old Emmett Till was kidnapped, beaten, and killed by a mob of white men. Over 40 years later, James Byrd, Jr. was tied to a pickup truck and dragged behind it until he died. In 2020, pickup trucks carrying three men chased down Ahmaud Arbery. Within minutes, the 25-year-old was shot dead in the street. All of these horrific incidents would be considered lynching today, whereas a person of color loses his or her life during the commission of a hate crime (usually at the hands of a group like the one condemned in this ForceChange petition). In the 12 years after the Civil War, over 2,000 Black men and women were victims of lynching. In the century thereafter, thousands more lost their lives.

During that century, Congress tried—and failed—to make these hateful killings a crime at the federal level more than 200 times. Now, this long-overdue legislation has finally succeeded. President Biden signed the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act into law. The bill, which makes all forms of lynching a federal hate crime, had previously received near-unanimous support from both the House of Representatives and the Senate. President Biden said during the signing: “lynching was pure terror to enforce the lie that not everyone…belongs in America, not everyone is created equal. Terror, to systematically undermine hard-fought civil rights. Terror, not just in the dark of the night but in broad daylight.”

Sign the petition below to thank the legislator responsible for making this historic moment possible.


Dear Representative Rush,

“Today, I am thinking of Emmett Till and the countless other victims of this brutal crime whose names we do not know. Emmett Till would have been 80 years old today. Lynching ignited the civil rights movement and a generation of civil rights activists. It had a ripple effect that we still feel today; it began a movement to reckon with freedom, justice, and equality all around the world.”

You have now continued this movement of which you spoke. When you introduced the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act over a year ago, you ventured into well-known territory. Thank you for ultimately succeeding where so many other efforts had unfortunately failed. This law is more than symbolism. Names like James Byrd and Ahmaud Arbery remind us that these heinous crimes are not just a part of the past.

Now, the legacy of these men—and the legacy of Emmett Till—will be justice that is truly for all.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Dave Mann


  1. I read this petition before, but did not sign it. I though the blacks seemed guilty. Black people seem to want to be allowed to get away with crimes, and never be seen as guilty. People should not allow this. It will not help anyone.

    • Maria Mason says:

      Ms. Kelly.
      I am truly shocked and disgusted by your comment. African American people are no different in any way than Caucasian people. NO ONE deserves to be hanged for any crime. I don’t know what world YOU live in but before making hateful and heinous remarks such as yours, you should read more and learn the facts. The list is far too long to name every African American murdered for absolutely no other reason than the color of his/her
      skin color. Pigmentation has NOTHING to do with whether or not a person is guilty of a crime. Perhaps you might take a few minutes to learn the names of just some African Americans who were murdered and why. Here is a link: – I can only feel pity for people who think the way you do. I am honestly surprised you ever signed a petition for anything considered to be brutal or in need of great change. It is people such as yourself, hateful, and fearful of what you have no knowledge of that contribute to more death of the innocent. I would add even if GUILTY of a crime, NO LIVING BEING should be hung. Only those with hearts and souls full of hate believe in this type of punishment. You are to be pitied.

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