This Friday, the House is expected to pass a historic bill (H.R. 51) that would grant statehood and full congressional representation to the District of Columbia’s 700,000+ residents. This move is, at its core, a matter of racial justice and a crucial first step in redefining the political landscape: if D.C. is granted statehood, it would be the only state in the nation to have a plurality of Black residents.
This is much bigger than one moment -- granting D.C. statehood would undermine historical efforts to keep Black Americans living in the District powerless. History is repeating itself now: Trump and the GOP are comfortable treating D.C. residents as second class citizens because it's part of their greater strategy to hold on to power.
Whether you live in D.C. now, have family and friends who live there, or simply support D.C. statehood -- take action now and call your Representative!
A historically-Black city, D.C.’s lack of statehood is a remnant of Reconstruction when racist white politicians sought to prevent the District’s majority-Black residents from gaining political power. GOP Senators are echoing this history even now, and have made it clear that this bill will die in the Senate. A popular GOP talking point is that D.C. statehood is unconstitutional, but we know their opposition is politically and racially motivated. Need more proof? President Trump offered some insight:
“You mean District of Columbia, a state? Why? So we can have two more Democratic — Democrat senators and five more congressmen? No thank you. That’ll never happen."
It makes sense that Trump and the GOP wouldn’t want to risk more opposition in the Senate -- a disenfranchised D.C. is easier to control and manipulate. Unlike anywhere else in the country, Congress approves D.C.’s budget and can even override local laws passed by D.C. residents and its actual elected local officials. That includes denying D.C. the right to spend its own local funds on reproductive health care for low-income people, denying the District’s efforts to legalize marijuana, forcing a failing public school voucher program onto residents, and attempting to overturn D.C.’s Death with Dignity law.
Take action this week to demand justice for D.C. residents:
- Call your Representative and tell them to vote YES on the D.C. Statehood bill (H.R. 51).
- Check to see if your Senator is already cosponsoring the bill. If they’re not, call your Senators to demand that they add their name to the list.
- Read and share our resource about why D.C. statehood is a racial justice issue.
We’re just as frustrated as you are that this won’t move forward in the Senate this year, but we’re keeping our eyes on 2021. If we win a trifecta in November -- a Democratized House, Senate, and Presidency -- we’ll have laid the groundwork for extending equal representation for over 700,000 Americans.