After more than 100 years, Congress passes an anti-lynching bill

first_imgThere’s a saying, “Better late than never.”  In this case, “late” refers to the century-long attempt to pass anti-lynching legislation in the U.S.More than 200 anti-lynching bills had previously been introduced into Congress without any of them being passed. Southerners and other racist congresspeople resisted any anti-lynching legislation for over a hundred years.  The first anti-lynching bill was introduced in 1901, and then a wave of bills followed, starting with an attempt in 1917. This targeted Missouri state officials for “failing to provide equal protection under the laws to anyone victimized by a mob.” (Washington Post, Dec. 28; tinyurl.com/ycr2vrl9)Finally, on Dec. 19, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Justice for Lynching Act, making lynching a federal hate crime. The bill was introduced in June 2018 by Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.); Cory Booker (N.J.); and Republican Tim Scott (S.C.). The bill classified lynching as the “ultimate expression of racism in the U.S. following Reconstruction.”  (tinyurl.com/y8a28s72)Lynching — terror tool of white supremacyAccording to the Washington Post, between 1882 and 1968, at least 4,742 reported lynchings of African-American men, women and children took place at the hands of white mobs, predominantly in the South. Lynching of African Americans was used as a terroristic strategy and tool to maintain white dominance and supremacy throughout the U.S. Ninety-nine percent of perpetrators went unpunished by state and local officials, including those who admitted to and bragged about committing the act. (Dec. 28)The 1863 Emancipation Proclamation had been followed by the Reconstruction “experiment” period and then by close to 100 years of the Jim Crow/apartheid system of legal segregation between white and Black citizens. In 1892, journalist Ida B. Wells-Barnett publicly exposed the rape myth that justified lynchings and racist oppression with false accusations of Black men for supposedly raping white women. Wells-Barnett, born into slavery in 1862, provided the true facts in “Southern Horrors: The Lynch Law in All Its Phases.”The NAACP, founded in 1909, issued a report on 30 years of lynching between 1889-1919, denouncing the U.S. as “the only advanced nation whose government had tolerated lynching.” Noted scholar and activist W.E.B. DuBois published articles in the NAACP magazine, the Crisis, highlighting the horrors of lynching, and advocated legislation to stop it. Beginning in 1920, after every lynching the NAACP hung a flag from its New York offices with the words: “A Man Was Lynched Yesterday.” In the 1930s the NAACP continued its attempts to secure federal anti-lynching legislation. However, Southern Democrats and Northern Republicans defeated every sponsored bill. In 1935, the Communist Party USA exhibited anti-lynching art in New York to confront the horrors of lynching. Showing grotesque mangled and burned bodies, the art also displayed crowds of white onlookers, including children, celebrating these atrocities. In 1939, singer Billie Holiday recorded a historic song about lynching, “Strange Fruit.”  The words were written by Abel Meeropol, a Jewish poet and high school teacher, after he saw photographs of Black victims dangling from trees. These photos were lynching “souvenirs,” often made into postcards for racists to send to friends. A member of the Communist Party, Meeropol adopted the sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were executed in 1953 after a bogus conspiracy conviction by the U.S. government for allegedly giving or selling secrets to the Soviet Union. The death penalty as lynchingToday, the fight against lynching continues in the South with efforts sparked by Bryan Stevenson, who founded the Equal Justice Initiative based in Montgomery, Ala., in 1994. Stevenson holds that fighting racial injustice is critical to advancing equal justice for all, and racism must be challenged in order to protect basic human rights.Stevenson also stresses the link of enslavement and lynching to the modern-day prison-industrial complex and death penalty. Stevenson said in a May 1 interview with Democracy Now!: “I think the death penalty is lynching’s stepson.” (tinyurl.com/y78w6evv)The EJI has opened the “Legacy Museum: from Enslavement to Mass Incarceration” in Montgomery, as well as the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, paying tribute to victims of lynching. The memorial includes hundreds of jars of soil collected from lynching sites as well as iron rectangles dangling in the air, engraved with the names of those murdered. (museumandmemorial.eji.org/museum)The power of institutional racism and the unchecked violence of hatred still permeate all aspects of politics, law and culture in U.S. society. The civil and human rights of African Americans have been violated since the first forced arrival of enslaved Africans in 1619. Domestic terrorism targeting Black people continues to this day. The year 2019 marks 400 years of inequality and oppression of Black people in the U.S. Let it also mark renewed struggle against white supremacy.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

SC Takes Note Of “Appalling Situation” And Directs Centre To Fill Up Vacancies At NGT At The Earliest [Read Order]

first_imgTop StoriesSC Takes Note Of “Appalling Situation” And Directs Centre To Fill Up Vacancies At NGT At The Earliest [Read Order] Nilashish Chaudhary23 July 2020 5:35 AMShare This – xTaking note of the “appalling situation” regarding vacancies in the National Green Tribunal (Western Zone) [NGT], the Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Centre to expedite steps to ensure that all vacancies are filled at the earliest. A 3-judge Bench, comprising of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna, had been apprised of the fact that the Tribunal…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginTaking note of the “appalling situation” regarding vacancies in the National Green Tribunal (Western Zone) [NGT], the Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Centre to expedite steps to ensure that all vacancies are filled at the earliest. A 3-judge Bench, comprising of Justices AM Khanwilkar, Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna, had been apprised of the fact that the Tribunal was functioning at a mere strength of 7 judges, as opposed to the minimum statutory requirement of 10 judges. “The Tribunal is presently functioning with the strength of only seven judges (one chairman, three judicial members and three technical members) despite the mandate of the Act to ensure that the minimum number of members shall not be less than 10 (ten). This is an appalling situation concerning the premier institution such as National Green Tribunal, which is required to deal with environmental issues. That cannot be countenanced.” Recorded Supreme Court It had been brought to the Apex Court’s notice, through a petition filed by the Bar Association of NGT (Western Zone), that there existed 14 vacancies in the Tribunal at the moment. Accepting this fact, the Centre assured Court that a notification to fill up 9 of these vacancies would be issued by the end of this month (July, 2020). “That, in our opinion, is not enough”, observed the Top Court and directed the Centre to issue notifications for all existing vacancies in one go. Notifications, clarified the Bench, must be issued for all “anticipated vacancies” as well, i.e- those offices which will see members retiring in the next 6 months. The Court further instructed the Centre to issue all such notifications within 10 days from the day of the Order, after which the process for selecting appropriate candidates must also be accelerated. “We deem it appropriate to direct the Union of India to notify all the existing vacancies at one go (of seven judicial members and seven technical members), including the anticipated vacancies likely to take place in the next six months. That notification be issued not later than 10 days from today and whereafter the process for selection/appointment be expedited.” Reads the operative part of the Order In furtherance of its concern regarding the functioning of the Tribunal, the Top Court decided to extend the tenure of the members presently holding office in NGT, and are due to retire shortly, and directed them to continue discharging their functions till the time candidates are appointed against the said vacancies. “Until the proposed selection process culminates with appointment order(s) of the concerned candidates against the existing vacancies, the members presently in office as on this date but are likely to retire shortly, shall continue to hold office in terms of this order and discharge their functions accordingly.” The Centre is to comply with these directions and report the same before the Court on the next date of hearing, August 13, 2020.Click Here To Download Order[Read Order] Subscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more