Marchers join D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in advocating for D.C. Statehood on Aug. 28. (Courtesy Photo)

By Micha Green
D.C. and Digital Editor

As thousands rallied for voting rights in cities across the country and in the nation’s capital on the 58th anniversary of the historic March on Washington in 1963, leaders in Washington, D.C. were also advocating for another challenge in the fight for justice- D.C. Statehood.

“When I say, D.C., you say Statehood,” shouted a D.C. Statehood advocate, who ignited a call and response chant on Aug. 28 at the March for Voting Rights.

For years, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser has been an outspoken advocate for Statehood and full representation in Congress, and so as thousands descended upon her City to march for Voting Rights protections, she too continued her fight for local justice.

 “Thank you to all who marched for today to honor the thousands of veterans who gave their lives fighting for democracy.  Together, we denounced voter suppression across the country. I was born without representation, but I will not die without it,” tweeted Bowser after the demonstration last Saturday.

Bowser explained at the rally that the District has been excluded from hundreds of millions dollars in funds due to lack of Statehood and full representation in the House and Senate.

According to the Mayor, the District was recently “shortchanged” $750 million, “because we do not have two Senators to vote and to fight for us.” 

“So we are standing here not begging, but demanding what is our birthright and that is Statehood for Washington, D.C,” Bowser emphasized at the March for Voting Rights on Aug. 28.

Bowser was joined by demonstrators who carried banners and wore attire advocating for the District of Columbia to become the 51st state.

For many, the District’s lack of Statehood is a justice issue.  Black Voters Matter took to Twitter to remind its followers that D.C. is the only place in the country where its residents must bear the responsibilities of citizenship without actually having all the rights and privileges of citizenship.  

“D.C. has all the same responsibilities, but not the same rights, as our fellow Americans- they are treated as second-class citizens,” wrote Black Voters Matters in a post titled, “Why Statehood for DC.”

Director of Communications for D.C. Vote Patrice Snow took to Twitter to share the importance of marching for Statehood in the nation’s capital.

“Why do we march? We march because not one soul should be denied the freedom to vote in 2021,” Snow Tweeted.

National leaders such as Rev. Dr. William Barber II of the Poor People’s Campaign, also joined the conversation about the importance of D.C. Statehood.

“For more than 200 years the residents of Washington, D.C. have been robbed.  I didn’t say a thief came in- a robber thief is different than a robber.  A thief is sneaky, but a robber takes your rights, right in front of you,” Barber said passionately.

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Micha Green

AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor