Thursday, 04 September 2014 02:05

National Democratic Group Joins Fight for DC Statehood

Written by Valencia Mohammed | AFRO
PDA members and DC statehood activists speak with an administrative aid in Rep. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) office on Aug. 21. PDA members and DC statehood activists speak with an administrative aid in Rep. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) office on Aug. 21. (Photo by Darlene Dancy)

Progressive Democrats of America showed its support for D.C. statehood by including the issue in its August 2014 letter drop-off campaign to senators and congressional leaders. Since 2004, Progressive Democrats in America (PDA) has strengthened the voice of progressive ideas inside and outside the Democratic Party by using grassroots models such as this.

Under new leadership, the group was excited to include D.C. statehood as part of its grassroots campaign.

“There is no greater injustice than the deliberate disenfranchisement of an entire city made up of more than 630,000 people which is home to the government of the United States. If this is not hypocrisy, I don’t know what is,” said Andrea Miller, national co-director of PDA.

As PDA pointed out, the constitution has been amended 27 times since it was originally ratified. In the letter the group called for congressional and senatorial leaders to cosponsor and support the following constitutional amendments:

H.J.Res. 44 – proposing an amendment regarding the right to vote.

H.J.Res. 119 – proposing an amendment relating to campaign contributions and expenditures to restore long-standing traditions and restore Congress’ and the States’ role in election finance.

H.J.Res. 113 – a joint resolution to remove the deadline for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) that would help remedy inequality and incidious discrimination on account of sex.

The letter also included a special proposal to cosponsor and support H.R. 292, the New Columbia Admission Act, legislation that would set forth procedures for admission into the United States of the state of New Columbia, including elections to congress of two senators and one representative. A constitutional amendment is not required for D.C. Statehood.

Statehood can be achieved by simple legislation. All that is needed is a majority vote in the House and Senate and the signature of the president. Currently, 43 members of Congress have cosponsored the bill.

“The letter drop organized by Progressive Democrats of America is a crucial step forward for the DC Statehood movement,” said Anise Jenkins, executive director of Stand Up! For Democracy (Free DC).

While the group visited offices on Capitol Hill, members around the country faxed to 50 offices and dropped off letters to 215 local (congressional district) offices across the country. “PDA is a national organization with members and volunteers around the country who brought our demand for equal citizenship rights not only to the congressmembers’ offices on Capitol Hill but carried our demand for equal citizenship rights directly into their district offices around the country.,” Jenkins said. “There is no doubt that when congressmembers begin to hear that their own constituents support D.C. residents’ cry for equal rights they will not only begin to listen but begin to act!”

Other D.C. statehood representatives were on hand to deliver the message to congressional offices. “PDA definitely gets it that full citizenship in a democratic country has to include the same rights to representation and local control over local issues. We’re all Americans, so let’s all have the same rights as American citizens,” said Jerry Lovell, member of the DC Statehood Coalition.

“It may take awhile, but working together with our allies instills confidence that we will get there and nothing will stop us from continuing and building our movement until we do,” saidJerry Clark, chair of the DC Statehood Coalition.

“PDA is standing up for DC – now more and more DC residents have to stand up for DC Statehood. Together we will free D.C.,” Jenkins said.

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