The historic bill signing of the Emmett Till Antilynching Act is a testament to the power and perseverance of Black advocates. For more than 100 years, Black people have fought to make lynching – one of the nation’s most hideous traditions – a federal crime. But time and time again, these bills faced steep opposition from racist, white supremacist lawmakers; the United States legislatures has blocked federal antilynching bills more than 200 times. Black Voters Matter was proud to join President Biden and advocates at the White House for the bill signing and remember the thousands of victims of white supremacist violence, including the bill’s namesake Emmett Till, whose death became the impetus for the Civil Rights Movement. We thank the President and Vice President Kamala Harris; bill sponsors Senators Cory Booker and Tim Scott; and the generations of Black activists and freedom fighters that came before us like Ida B. Wells for bringing us to this historic moment.
This achievement shows us exactly what’s possible when we bypass the Senate filibuster. Since its inception, the filibuster has been the obstacle to major racial justice legislation – from blocking antilynching bills and upholding the racist poll tax in the 1920s and 30s to stonewalling voting rights protections today. For too long, racists in the Senate have used the filibuster to strip Black communities of our most basic rights, and we can’t allow them to slow our progress any longer. President Biden and Senate Democrats must use any means necessary to reform the filibuster and pass common-sense legislation like voting rights, even if it means eliminating the filibuster altogether.