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Feb 03
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Free DC! - Statehood Now!
Episcopal Diocese of Washington Endorses D.C. Statehood E-mail

Resolution #3 - on Endorsing Statehood for the District of Columbia

Resolved, that the One Hundred Seventeenth Convention of the Diocese of Washington hereby petitions the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church to adopt the following Resolution on statehood for the District of Columbia:

Resolved, that the House of ____________concurring, that the 77th General Convention, recognize that the Church has long been a moral voice in support of the civil and human rights of all people; and be it further

Resolved, that the Convention acknowledge the Baptismal promise to “strive for justice ... and respect the dignity of every human being”; and be it further

Resolved, that the Convention recognize, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights" and that one of the most fundamental of those rights is "the right to take part in the government of his country"; and be it further

Resolved, that the Convention recognize that this right to self-determination is explicitly stated in the Declaration of Independence's statement that to secure their rights, "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the governed," and in the preamble to the Constitution; and be it further

Resolved, that the Convention recognize that the people of the District of Columbia have been denied this right to self-determination for over two hundred years; and be it further

Resolved, that the Convention recognize that as a constitutional union of states, full rights in the United States of America go to citizens of states, and that the people of the District of Columbia, in petitioning to hold a statehood constitutional convention, electing delegates, writing a constitution and approving that constitution for the State of New Columbia, have said that they want the State of New Columbia to be admitted to the union; and be it further

Resolved, that the Convention support the right of the people of the District of Columbia to enjoy the same rights as every other American, including the right to self-determination through statehood, and urge Congress to admit the State of New Columbia to the union; and be it further

Resolved, that the Secretary of the Convention forward this resolution to the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church to take such action as is necessary to implement this resolution.

Explanation: The Episcopal Church has long spoken out for the disenfranchised and marginalized people both in the United States and abroad, including the residents of the District of Columbia. Alone among all Americans, the people of the District of Columbia are the only Americans to have fewer rights than their forebears. For over two hundred years, the residents of our national capital have been ruled by people elected by other Americans who are citizens of a state. For a century, District residents had no vote at all, whether at the local, state or federal level.

Leaders of the Episcopal Church have understood this injustice and stood up for the people of the District in their struggle to regain the right to self-government. In 1964, after the passage of the 23rd Amendment, District residents finally voted for President, but nothing else, for the first time since Thomas Jefferson was elected in 1800. In August 1965, the Rt. Rev. Paul Moore, Jr., Suffragan Bishop of Washington, marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other local civil rights and home rule leaders for freedom, democracy and increased self-government for the people of the District of Columbia.

In September 1978, the Executive Council of the Church supported the constitutional amendment which would have given the people of the District of Columbia a full vote for president, one not limited to the number of electoral votes of least populous state, and full voting representation in both houses of Congress. In March 2007, the Executive Council of the Church reaffirmed the Church's support for granting the citizens of the District of Columbia full representation in Congress and urged the President and Congress to ensure that at least we were granted a vote in the House. Unfortunately, none of these actions occurred and District residents remained colonists ruled by the 535 people elected by every other American.

In August 2011, Bishop John Bryson Chane, recognizing his own disenfranchisement as the a resident of Washington and that self-determination for D.C. was Dr. King's unfinished dream, became an honorary co-chair of the D.C. Host Committee for the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Dedication.

With this resolution, the Diocese of Washington calls on the General Convention of the Church to help correct this two-century old injustice and urge the Congress to restore to District residents the right to self-government that was stripped from them after the capital was moved here in 1800. District voters have clearly and loudly said they want statehood. In 1980, the voters overwhelmingly approved an initiative to hold statehood constitutional convention. We elected delegates, wrote a constitution for the State of New Columbia, which the voters approved in 1982, and petitioned Congress, where our request for admission back into the union has languished.

The Mayor, the Council, our nonvoting delegate in the House of Representatives and the people of the District of Columbia have continued to demand our right to self-government through statehood. A decade or more of incremental attempts for less than our full human right to govern ourselves has left District residents as disenfranchised as before. The Church, as a strong moral voice for the civil and human rights of all people, needs to speak up loudly and clearly for the right to self-determination of the 602,000 [618,000] District of Columbia residents who live in the Diocese of Washington and support statehood for the District of Columbia.

 

 

 
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