Center for Policing Equity on the Signing of the Emmett Till Antilynching Act into Law

March 29 2022

Today, the Center for Policing Equity released the following statement regarding President Joe Biden's signing into law of the Emmett Till Antilynching Act:

President Joe Biden signed the Emmett Till Antilynching Bill into law today, making lynching a federal hate crime for the first time in U.S. history. The law is both welcome and long overdue, coming in the wake of more than 200 attempts to introduce federal antilynching legislation over the course of more than a century. 

Emmett Till was only 14 years old when he was tortured and killed by two White men in 1955, his murder was one of more than 4,000 lynchings, primarily against Black people, carried out between the Reconstruction Era and late 1960s. That the law named for him is necessary today serves to underscore that these heinous crimes still find echoes in the 21st century.

Emmett fell victim not only to White supremacy's violent dehumanization of Black people, but also to its insistence that even Black children are dangerous, a specific expression of racism that robs Black boys and girls of the innocence so readily afforded their White peers. This systemic adultification of Black children, reflected today in the school-to-prison pipeline and the treatment that a disproportionate amount of Black children receive at the hands of the criminal legal system, has been a constant throughout this nation's history.

America has always asked too much of its Black children, and no child should be immortalized because they were brutally murdered. The passage of the Emmett Till Antilynching act is welcome, but let our celebration of it be temporary while our resolve to build genuine justice remains.


About Center for Policing Equity: As a research and action organization, Center for Policing Equity (CPE) produces analyses identifying and reducing the causes of racial disparities in law enforcement. Using evidence-based approaches to social justice, we use data to create levers for social, cultural and policy change. Center for Policing Equity also holds a 501(c)3 status.