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I’m For DC Statehood!

April 19, 2021

That is a DC Statehood flag.. count ’em! 51 stars.

The above is a promotional selfie a bunch of us are posting on social media.. part of an Indivisible Yolo campaign. Here is a great overview of the reasons for DC Statehood. (https://statehood.dc.gov/page/why-statehood-dc)

Why Statehood for DC

For more than 200 years, the residents of Washington, DC have been subjected to systemic inequality and denied the full rights of citizenship that the residents of states enjoy including voting representation in Congress. It is time to right a great historic wrong.

  • The District of Columbia is the only political and geographical entity within the United States of America whose citizens bear the responsibilities of citizenship, including taxation and Selective Service registration, without sharing in the full rights and privileges of citizenship.
  • Washington’s residents pay more taxes than residents in 22 states and pay more per capita to the federal government than any state—yet they have no votes in Congress.
  • DC is subject to the whims of the federal government where Congress interferes with our local laws, local funding and operations.
  • DC has all the same responsibilities, but not the same rights, as our fellow Americans—we are treated as second-class citizens
  • Like our counterparts in all 50 states, D.C. residents pay federal taxes, serve in the military and on juries, start businesses and families, and contribute to our national economy.
  • Yet, we are still unable to control our own budget or our own laws, and we still have no votes in Congress.
  • DC residents want statehood and made their voter clear during the 2016 referendum with an 86% in favor to make Washington, DC the 51.
  • Congress passed the Democrat-dominated House by a vote of 232-180. It was the first time that a chamber of Congress had passed such legislation. Currently, legislation was introduced in both chambers and has overwhelming support among Senate Democrats.

American Democracy: Fixing the Racial Inequality

  • This is an American issue—critical on racial justice and democracy.
  • Washington, DC is a historically Black city and Black people still make 47% of the population (41% White, 4% Asian and 11% are of Hispanic origins).
  • American democracy systematically overrepresents White voters at the expense of Black voters and other voters of color.
  • The average Black American voting power is only 75 percent as much representation as the average white American in the Senate and a 55 percent to the Hispanic voter.
  • The structure of the United States Senate has less voting power for People of Color compared to White Americans. The District of Columbia is severely disadvantaged with 0 representation or voting power.
  • The District’s lack of representation is a wider oppression and disenfranchisement of Black Americans.
  • If admitted to the union, the District would be the only plurality-Black state in the country. This would highlight on the importance towards making Congress more responsive to the needs of a diversifying electorate and fixing racial inequalities.

Equal Treatment 

  • Since the riot at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, when supporters of Former President Donald Trump attacked the US Capitol, the women and men of the DC Metropolitan Police Department answered the call to support our federal partners without hesitation and quickly restored order to the Capitol despite not having full representation in Congress.
  • The lack of precaution by federal authorities to prepare for a highly anticipated attack placed Congressional leadership in danger, clarifies the need for a District of Columbia that controls its own National Guard. Currently, the order must come through the White House.
  • While our population is larger than that of both Vermont and Wyoming, under the CARES Act, the District was denied $755 million in emergency funds, which is the amount provided to the least populous state through the Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Washington, DC is large enough to be a state:

  • DC has 712,000 residents, more than Vermont and Wyoming and comparable with other states including Delaware, Alaska, and several others.

Washington, DC can afford to be a state:

  • DC takes on the responsibilities of a statehood without enjoying all the rights and privileges embodied in the U.S. Constitution often referred as “taxation without representation”.
  • DC residents pay the highest per-capita federal income taxes in the US.
  • In total, DC residents pay more in total federal income tax than residents of 22 other states, but have no say over how those tax dollars are spent.
  • DC now operates as if were a state with the exception of federal control over our courts and people in prison for committing felonies in DC.

DC residents are denied representation:

  • DC residents have contributed to this nation just like residents of all other states. More than 11,000 DC Residents currently serving in the military can be sent to war to fight for American values, but do not have full voting rights in their own place of residence.
  • Since World War I, DC has sent nearly 200,000 brave men and women to defend and fight for democracy abroad, and tragically 2,000 of those patriots never made it home.
  • DC elects a non-voting Delegate to the US House of Representatives who can draft legislation but cannot vote. The current Delegate for DC is Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
  • DC residents do not have a voice in Senate Committees or on the Senate Floor. This means that DC residents have no say in the determination of who should serve as leadership for federal agencies, Serve as U.S. Ambassadors to foreign countries, sit on federal court benches or serve in the U.S. Supreme Court. This is true even for the federal courts within DC’s boundaries. 

Statehood for Washington, DC is constitutional:

  • The Constitution sets only a maximum size, “not exceeding ten miles square,” for the federal district that is the “Seat of the Government of the United States” (Article 1. Section 8). Congress has the authority to redefine the borders of the federal district and shrink its size, as it did in 1846, when the portion west of the Potomac was returned to Virginia (now Arlington and Alexandria Counties).
  • The proposed state map carves out a 2-mile radius to be called the National Capital Service Area, which includes federal buildings, such as the White House, Capitol, Supreme Court and the National Mall. This becomes the seat of the federal government as defined in the Constitution.

We need to revive the basic ideals of American democracy. We know that DC statehood cannot wait. Generations of Washingtonians have been denied the right to participate in our democracy – to have their voices and votes heard in Congress, to help shape the future of our nation, and to have a say on Supreme Court justices, whose decisions affect every single person living in the United States. It is time for the 712,000 tax-paying Americans to get full equality and autonomy in their government.

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