WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) discussed H.R. 35, the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, with Joe Madison on SiriusXM. The legislation, which passed the House by a strong bipartisan vote of 410-4 on Wednesday, would designate lynching as a hate crime under federal law. Below are excerpts of his remarks.
Click here to listen to the interview.
“Joe, it took a hundred years since the first [anti]lynching bill was introduced, as you know, by an African American Congressman in 1900, George Henry White. And it is appalling that it took that long. I said also in those comments it is never too late to do the right thing… as you heard, I came back [and] talked to Karen Bass, the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, talked to [Congressman] Bobby Rush, and said look, we need to get this done. And we worked on it, and we got it done yesterday as you know in a overwhelming vote, and I’m hopeful that the Senate now will pass it... and send it to the President of the United States, and let us pray that the President will have the good sense to sign this bill.”
“I was so glad, Joe, that you talked to me because you know we have a lot of issues, and, frankly, when you talked to me, I said ‘we haven’t passed an… antilynching bill. Why haven’t we done that?’ So you know, when you sort of rang my bell, I came back and talked to Karen Bass and talked to Bobby Rush and said, ‘why haven’t we been able to do this? This is not right.’ And so we worked on it and we got it done. But you know, it takes people like yourself just saying, ‘hey, this is the right thing to do, why haven’t you done it?’”
“[W]e are taking other action, Joe, in the Congress as you know. We passed two voting rights bills. One was H.R. 1, the first one to make sure that we made voting easier. The second voting rights bill was [Congressman] John Lewis’s bill, [H.R. 4], which I was a cosponsor of, which seeks to overturn the Supreme Court decision in Shelby v. Holder, which, in effect, made it easier to discriminate against people without preclearance from the Justice Department. So we passed that and that is one of those bills sitting over in the Senate. They ought to pass it. We passed an Equality Act, so that people wouldn’t be discriminated against because of their being a LGBT [individual]. We passed also equal pay for women, black and white. We know women are discriminated against in their pay. So we have been very active in trying to make sure that America does, in fact, live out its creed where all people, the Founders hopefully would now say, are created equal and deserving of protection under the law. This is a very, very important bill we passed. Hopefully the Senate will pass [the bill], maybe, Joe, as soon as this week.”
“[The antilynching bill is] over in the Senate now. We sent it over yesterday. I am very hopeful… Joe, thank you for your advocacy, thank you for your participation... And so I want to thank Karen Bass, the Chairman of the CBC; [Congressman] Bobby Rush; [Senators] Harris and Booker; and you.”