Washington, D.C. is the only national capital in the democratic world whose citizens do not have equal voting and representation rights. Over 700,000 residents, the majority of whom are Black and Brown, pay federal and local taxes but are denied fundamental civil rights due to the lack of statehood. That is why the Washington, D.C. Admission Act, S. 51, is so critical – a constitutionally sound bill to establish statehood for D.C. that has a real chance of advancing in Congress right now.
The denial of equal representation for District residents is rooted in racism. Congress took away D.C.’s right to self-govern right after the Civil War, just as its many new Black voters started to exercise their political power and run for office in D.C. This lack of statehood rights continues to harm residents to this day. S. 51 can help correct these historic wrongs, but it will take all of us – especially those who have representation – to ensure it succeeds. This bill has already passed in the House and it's now up to the Senate to follow suit: Send a message to your senators urging support of S. 51.
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