By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. Editor
mgreen@afro.com

June 26 will be a historic day in Congressional and District of Columbia record, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D- California) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D- Maryland) announced that is the day when the House will vote on D.C. statehood.  

Pelosi, Hoyer, D.C.’s Representative to Congress Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) and District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, as well as other local officials, stood proudly endorsing the fight for D.C. as it creeps closer to the House floor.

“This will be historic, it will be an historic vote- neither Chamber of Commerce has passed a statehood bill, until next week.  And we will continue our work to protect every American’s right to be heard at the ballot box and on the floor of the House and of the Senate,” Speaker Pelosi said at a press conference announcing the statehood vote on June 16.

Congress will vote on D.C. becoming the 51st state on June 26. (Photo Credit: statehood.dc.gov)

Norton noted that the fight for D.C. statehood is a matter of justice.

“Statehood means much more to us than dollars and cents,” Norton said. “Statehood is priceless. Statehood assures that living in the nation’s capital is about pride not prejudice.”

For many, D.C. statehood is a fight for fairness- a battle to be heard. 

District of Columbia license plates read, “TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION.”  

The nation’s capital has 700,000 residents, more than in the states of Wyoming (578, 759) and Vermont (623, 989), according to the U.S. Census July 2019 estimates.  However D.C. has one elected non voting Delegate in the House of Representatives (Norton) a shadow Representative (Franklin Garcia (D) and two Shadow Senators (Paul Strauss (D) and Michael Brown (D)), while Wyoming and Vermont have voting members in both the House and Senate.
With becoming the 51st state, known as the Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, D.C. statehood would also allow for residents to elect two voting Senators and one voting Representative to Congress.

 “This bill provides for admission into the United States of the state of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth,” the bill, {H.R.-51} reads.  “The commonwealth shall be admitted to the Union on an equal footing with the other states.”

Although D.C. is the nation’s capital, Mayor Bowser and other officials noted that being a predominantly Black (46.4 percent) and leftward leaning city relates to a larger issue of racial justice in the fight for D.C. statehood.

“Certainly race and the status of Washington, D.C. have been long connected…. We are too Democratic, too Black, too liberal, too this, too that. So I think that confronting the issue of race in the D.C. statehood movement has always been a part of our discussion,” Bowser said.

While many Democratic leaders have been vocally supportive of D.C. statehood, and with the bill itself having 220 co-sponsors, it is likely to pass in the House, however, it might be different story in the majority Republican Senate.

The House vote on June 26, however, is a forward step in the direction towards D.C. statehood.

“As a native Washingtonian, I’m excited to see how it goes! It’s true, we should not be disenfranchised living any where in the US, especially in the Nation’s capital. Congresswoman Norton has been fighting this fight a long time – we love her,” twitter user Traci Wyatt (@tdw_thickbeauty) wrote replying to a Tweet from Bowser.  “Thank you, Mayor!  #DCStatehoodtime – we love her!”