Statehood News

Statehood News (175)

I am writing my maiden column for The Common Denominator a little over an hour after being released from jail.

This year’s national election has generated excitement around the country among Americans seeking a change from the policies of the past eight years.  

While much of the quest for democracy for the District of Columbia has centered around the so-called "big" issues – voting representation in Congress, local control of local budgets and legislation, fair compensation for the burden of the federal presence, and the like – we shouldn’t overlook the importance of seeking symbolic victories along the way to the big prizes. 

February saw the passing of two champions of democracy and human rights: Coretta Scott King and Wilhelmina Jackson Rolark. One was world-famous, and the other not as well-known as she should be.

It hasn't gotten a lot of attention here, but there is a concerted effort at the highest levels of government to grant statehood to a jurisdiction consisting of U.S. citizens who have endured a long history of colonialism and denial of basic democratic rights.

District politicians, civic leaders and organizers of today's voting rights rally urged a crowd of about 60 supporters gathered downtown yesterday to call and e-mail friends in a last-ditch push for a huge turnout despite predictions of bad weather.

Of the 41 arrestees, a Capitol Police spokeswoman said that 25 chose to “post and forfeit” — that is, post $50 collateral and forfeit their right to a court date. But 15 chose to go to court. (Another person, activist Billie Day, had to be taken to the hospital Monday night and was not fully processed.)

The D.C. government and schools are closed for the holiday, and for city workers, today is an unpaid furlough day intended to help ease budget woes.

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