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Michael A. Brown

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Let's Ask the States to Stand Together for D.C. Statehood

Posted: 01/25/2012 6:17 pm

It has been thirty-four years since the United States Congress approved a constitutional amendment granting the District of Columbia full representation in both houses of Congress. However, only 16 states ratified the amendment within the seven year time frame allotted. This was followed by a city-wide referendum and a January 1982 D.C. Constitutional Convention, where many founders of our Statehood movement adopted a constitution for the state of New Columbia. Since that time, the District has continued the struggle through protests, congressional legislative attempts and even a Supreme Court case.

As chair of the committee that has jurisdiction over the Council's statehood and self-determination issues, I am pleased to introduce a renewed campaign to raise awareness and support for statehood for the District of Columbia. The StatehoodDC campaign, which includes a new logo, website, brochures, calendar, and a new state outreach strategy, seeks to educate the nation that those residing in the capital city of the free world are not yet free. The campaign is focused on encouraging our friends and neighbors to stand together and join the fight here at home along with reaching outside the District to secure legislative ambassadors supportive of ending over 200 years of injustice.

Thanks to the efforts of my colleague, Councilmember David Catania, and with the unwavering support of Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Chairman Kwame R. Brown, this Friday morning, January 27, 2012, District of Columbia elected officials, students, veterans and residents will testify before the State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee of the New Hampshire House of Representatives in Concord, NH. We will speak in favor of HR 26, "Expressing support for admitting the District of Columbia as the fifty-first State of the United States of America," a bill to demonstrate their support for the 620,000 Americans who reside in our Nation's Capital.

Last month, the StatehoodDC campaign reached out across the country by mailing each state governor and legislative body an original StatehoodDC calendar. The StatehoodDC calendar features our unique neighborhoods and communities -- both historic and new, our diverse and spirited faith, our pride of country through military service and yes, even our determination thru protest and civil disobedience. Our correspondences included a "sample resolution" for each legislative body to introduce and demonstrate their support for democracy, support for freedom for all Americans, and support for the state of New Columbia. Currently, similar bills are being introduced in Florida and Tennessee while positive talks are underway with many more.

We believe this effort of reaching out to the states will not only bring needed nationwide publicity to our plight but will complement the progress made by Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, who is forging a legislative path in the halls of Congress and the ACLU, who are spearheading the legal and constitutional arguments.

Additionally, we will continue to support the efforts of worthy advocacy groups such as DC Vote, Free DC, DC for Democracy, Students for Statehood and Occupy DC in organizing District residents and friends in this just and rightful cause.
 
In closing, I call on the public to join us in obtaining true democracy. This is just one step and one of many tools that we must use to fix this inequity. We must expend all efforts. Nothing will come easy, the task will take coordination and perseverance but I know together we will create an impact. Until that day, visit statehooddc.com, follow @StatehoodDC on Twitter and like us at StatehoodDC.com on Facebook.