Gloria J. Browne-Marshall
Bloomberg Law


George Floyd was a victim of lynching two years ago. The mass murder of African Americans in Buffalo, N.Y., was also a lynchingsays Gloria J. Browne-Marshall, professor of constitutional law at John Jay College (CUNY). Our nation must accept that lynching continues and use the new Emmett Till Antilynching Act to prosecute the alleged shooter, Payton Gendron, she argues.

We must talk about lynching. George Floyd’s murder, two years ago today on May 25, 2020, was a lynching. The mass murder allegedly perpetrated by Payton Gendron in Buffalo, N.Y., should be considered a mass lynching, too.

The murder of 10 innocent African Americans by a domestic terrorist on May 14 is a clarion call. America must focus inwards and face the ugly truth. Those murders were a mass lynching.

President Biden signed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act into law in March, making lynching a federal hate crime. It needs to be more than a photo op. The act should be applied to the massacre in Buffalo.

It is easy to turn away. The protests have dimmed. The aftermath of the pandemic has left this country reeling. Russia invaded Ukraine and public attention turned to Eastern Europe. The momentum to address racial conflicts and discrimination slowed. It’s happened before.

In 1967, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addressed a similar phenomenon when the nation’s attention turned from civil rights to the Vietnam War. In a television interview with Sander Vanocur of NBC, King said he found it difficult to arouse the consciousness of America to address even the most vicious of racial attacks. He was assassinated the next year.


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