News·3 min read

Daily Skimm: Federal Hate Crime, Ukraine, and Endometriosis

US President Joe Biden speaks as Michelle Duster (R), great-granddaughter of civil rights pioneer Ida B. Wells, and Vice President Kamala Harris (L) listen after signing the Emmett Till Anti-lynching Act
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March 30, 2022


The Story

Lynching is now a federal hate crime

Tell me more. 

Lynching was used as a way to terrorize Black Americans — particularly in the South — from the late 1800s to the 1960s. It often happened after someone would make a questionable claim against another person. And a mob would often take matters into their own hands, ignoring the justice system and the right to due process. One analysis found that 6,500 people, mostly Black people, were lynched between 1865 and 1950. In almost all of the cases, perpetrators went free.

What’s happening now?

Yesterday, President Biden signed the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act. It’s named after the 14-year-old Black boy who was tortured and murdered in Mississippi in 1955 in a racist attack that was a catalyst for the civil rights movement. Now, the law makes lynching a federal hate crime punishable by up to 30 years in prison. 

What took so long?

That’s a question for lawmakers. Advocates have been pushing for anti-lynching legislation for more than a century. The holdup was in Congress — which has failed to pass anti-lynching legislation since first intro'd in 1900. In 2020, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) blocked the bill from passing, saying he wanted the bill to be “stronger.” And a few weeks ago, the Senate unanimously said ‘yea.’

Does lynching still happen?

The last recorded lynching in the US reportedly happened in 1981. But there have been at least eight suspected cases of lynchings of Black men and teens in Mississippi since 2000, according to police reports and court records. Civil rights advocate Rev. Al Sharpton described the 2020 murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia as a “lynching in the 21st century." 


It took lawmakers more than 200 tries to pass anti-lynching legislation. Now, it comes as dozens of states across the country have taken steps to limit critical race theory and other race-related discussions in the classroom. 

And Also...This

Where there’s talk of headway…

Ukraine. Yesterday, Russia announced it’ll significantly scale back its military operations near two Ukrainian cities — Kyiv and Chernihiv. Russia’s been struggling with its offensive in Ukraine. NATO says up to 15,000 Russian troops have been killed as Ukraine launches a counteroffensive. Now, Russia’s saying it wants to “increase mutual trust.” But don’t take that as a ceasefire quite yet. The US is saying ‘we’ll believe it when we see it.’ Meanwhile, Ukraine would consider declaring itself neutral as part of a peace deal.

Thing to Know: Neutral status. Read: the country’s military won’t form an alliance with others. And in Ukraine’s case, give up its goal of joining NATO. But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukrainians would have to vote on any agreement as a referendum. 

What’s raising concerns…

BA.2. Yesterday, the CDC estimated the highly transmissible Omicron variant is now dominant in the US, making up nearly 55% of new cases. The announcement came as the FDA authorized an optional second booster shot for people 50 years and up. The CDC is taking a backseat from officially recommending it but is telling anyone who qualifies to consider it. 

Who’s getting playing time…

Women and minorities. Earlier this week, the NFL announced that all 32 teams must hire a “female or a member of an ethnic or racial minority” as an offensive assistant for the 2022 season. The league says head coaches typically start out in offense roles and hopes the requirement will provide women and minorities with more opportunities in higher positions. There are currently only five minority head coaches in the league.

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