Home Latest What to Do for D.C. Statehood this month!
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On January 2, 2011, in his inaugural address, new D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray spoke out clearly and eloquently for D.C. statehood. He notes that "Washington is the greatest symbol of our nation's democracy. Yet, we as Washingtonians continue to be the only people in our nation that remain shut out of that democracy. ... That is why we cannot rest until we achieve true self-determination and become our nation's 51st state."  He concluded his speech saying 'President Abraham Lincoln once said "allow all the governed an equal voice in the government and that, and only that, is self-government.' My friends, it is then, and only then, that we can proclaim this nation's promise of justice for all finally has arrived in the District of Columbia."

As Mayor Gray recently reiterated the importance of statehood. At his February 23, 2011 press conference, he said about the possible shutdown of the District Government because the Congress has failed to do its job of passing a budget for FY 2011 which began October 1, 2010: "The District of Columbia government is treated like another agency of the federal government, which is entirely inappropriate," he said. "There's no way that Cleveland or Detroit or Los Angeles or Boston or anywhere else in this nation is having to have this kind of discussion today." On February 24, he told the Ward 3 Democratic Committee that only statehood can free D.C. from having its operations halted because Congress has not done its job.

On March 30, 2011, on the 50th anniversary of the 23rd amendment to the Constitution which gave D.C. residents the right to vote for President for the first time since 1800, Mayor Gray noted that “No other US jurisdiction is barred from spending its own taxpayer-raised funds as it sees fit. However, the House has passed a continuing resolution that includes harmful anti-home-rule amendments that ban the District from using local funds on needle-exchange programs to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and for abortions for needy women. The school voucher programs also would be re-established against the will of the city -- a move that is unnecessary, as our traditional public schools are improving and charter schools are providing citywide choice. We hope the Senate will counter these regressive and draconian measures and allow the city to govern itself."

On April 11, 2011, Mayor Gray led D.C. statehood and voting rights activists, including half the D.C. Council, in civil disobedience at the U.S. Capitol.  Forty-one demonstrators were arrested, including the Mayor and Council Members. They are now known as the "D.C. 41".

At the first legislative session of the new Council on January 4, 2011, Council Member Harry Thomas Jr. introduced a resolution endorsing D.C. statehood and urging our Delegate in the U.S. House of Representatives, Eleanor Holmes Norton, to introduce a D.C. statehood bill in Congress. Council Member Marion Barry said the whole city must band together and make statehood our highest priority and sit-in in the Congress if necessary. Council Chairman Kwame Brown referred the resolution, which all Council Members co-introduced, to the Housing and Workforce Committee. [Go to http://www.dccouncil.washington.dc.us/granicusvideolegislativemeetings and click on video for Jan. 4 and go to about 40 minutes in, you will find about 5 minutes on statehood beginning with Council Member Thomas introducing the resolution.]

On February 9, 2011, the Committee unanimously approved the resolution. On February 15, 2011, the  Committee of the Whole unanimously approved the resolution and on March 1, 2011, the Council finally approved the resolution.

D.C.'s Delegate, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, introduced a statehood bill on Wednesday, January 12, 2011.  It is H.R. 265, the New Columbia Admission Act. Please call and thank her (202-225-8050. If you would like to help in getting co-sponsors for the House bill and work on getting a Senate bill introduced, please send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
D.C. Residents demonstrate and are arrested for standing up for our rights!

D.C. residents have been arrested for engaging in civil disobedience to protest D.C.'s lack of democracy and statehood. Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Keith Silver (SMD 6C06) was arrested on April 18, 2011 and charged with "unlawful assembly --disorderly conduct."  Commissioner Silver's trial was to begin July 13, 2011, but was postponed until it could be determined if Mayor Vincent Gray can be subpoenaed to testify as an eyewitness. Judge Frederick Sullivan acquited Mr. Silver on November 2, 2011. Mr. Silver is the first of the 72 people arrested this spring to go to trial. (See separate article on the trial.)

Eight other activists, who elected to go to trial instead of waiving their right to appear in court, were to go to trial on September 19, 2011, to answer the charges of “Unlawful Assembly -- Disorderly Conduct” and “Failure to Obey a Lawful Order,” but because the District Government's last minute production of video and photographs of the protests, the trial was postponed to November 15. Two of the activists have been arrested twice. Lawyers Mark Goldstone, Ann Wilcox, and Paul Strauss, one of D.C.'s statehood Senators,represented the statehood activists. At their November 15, 2011 trial before Associate Judge Robert E. Morin, all eight said they were exercising their first amendment rights. D.C.'s Delegate, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, testified eloquently for them. One defendant, Anise Jenkins, was acquitted.  The other seven, including D.C. Sen. Michael D. Brown, were convicted and fined. They have 30 days to file an appeal. One way or another they will all continue to protest D.C.'s lack of statehood and the the right to self-goernment enjoyed by all other Americans. Most recently, on April 18, 2012, six student members of the DC Statehood Student Association were arrested for a sit-down demonstration at the Capitol. See separate article "D.C. Students Stand Up for Statehood."

District residents and supporters of D.C. statehood need to continue the momentum.  Below are ways you can help.

1. Please contact the Mayor, the Council and Delegate Norton and urge them to promptly appoint the members of the 51st State Commission. The 51st State Commission Establishment Act of 2010 became effective March 23, 2010, but very little action has been taken to implement it even though the law required the Mayor and Council to make their appointments within 45 days of the effective day of the act.  We need to get it up and running and funded so that there will be a District entity responsible to our elected officials and to the people developing the necessary statehood educational and publicity campaigns and helping organize and coordinate major events to promote statehood. District residents need to let the Council know that we are serious about getting statehood and need them to do their part.  Procrastination just denies us the opportunity to regain our full democratic rights. We have already waited over two centuries too long!

2. Please call the White House comment line (202-456-1111 M-F 9-5) early and often and ask the President to support DC statehood and add it to his legislative agenda.  In addition, you fax a letter to him at 202-456-2461. Ask your friends and neighbors to do the same. This is something on which numbers of commenters really count. Please call as often as you can. It is outrageous that the District Government was almost shut down this spring because the Congress failed to pass a budget for a fiscal year that began almost half a year before. Only statehood can free D.C. from having its operations halted because Congress has not done its job.

3. If you have family and friends around the country ask them to call their Senators and Congressional Representative to support D.C. statehood and co-sponsor H.R. 265. It you would like to help in the effort to get Congressional co-sponsors for H.R. 265, email us at:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

4. Please get any organization to which you belong -- citizen and civic associations, political committees, labor unions, clubs, veterans groups and any activist group -- to endorse D.C. statehood and to send a letter to that effect to the Mayor, Council and our Delegate.  Many of these groups are part of national organizations.  We need to get the local chapters endorsing statehood and then get them to put statehood on the agenda of their national parent organization.  We have already done this with the National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE). The D.C. Federation endorsed D.C. statehood in March 2009 (and again at its convention April 9, 2011) and the NARFE national convention endorsed it in August 2010. The Episcopal Diocese of Washington endorsed D.C. statehood at its Januray 2012 convention. If you are an Episcopalian, please contact us about how to urge your diocese's delegates to this July's General Convention of the Episcopal Church to vote for the Diocese of Washington, D.C.'s resolution endorsing D.C. statehood.

5. We also need contributions to help fund our struggle for statehood. You can contribute by sending a check payable to D.C. Statehood -Yes We Can!, to Wallace Dickson, Treasurer, D.C. Statehood - Yes We Can!, 1707 Columbia Road, N.W., suite 314, Washington, D.C. 20009.

Please help us in any or all of these ways.  With your help, we can help the 618,000 residents of the District of Columbia regain the right to self-government that Congress took away from us over two centuries ago! D.C. Statehood now!

D.C. Statehood - Yes We Can!

 
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