By George Kevin Jordan, Special to the AFRO

For many, the idea of D.C. achieving statehood is a fever dream, fantasy or long worn battle, depending on where you stand, but for one person, it’s a life mission that may be reaching a conclusion.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), some would say the District’s main champion of statehood, joined Mayor Muriel Bowser, and D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, to announce that the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, will hold a hearing on the D.C. statehood bill {H.R. 51} on July 24.

This will make the first time in 26 years that the House of Representatives has taken up legislation to make D.C. the 51st state.

For the first time in 26 years, on July 24, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform will hold a hearing on D.C. statehood. (Courtesy Photo)

“For 218 years, residents of the District of Columbia have lived in our country as American citizens without equal representation or equal self-government,” Norton said in a press statement.  “I am particularly grateful to Chairman Cummings for his leadership in pressing forward with the necessary hearing on our D.C. statehood bill to enable our bill to go to the House floor.”

“Residents of the District of Columbia have served side by side other Americans in the nation’s military since the nation was created, including today.  Our residents pay more per capita in federal taxes than residents of any other jurisdiction. Despite fulfilling all the obligations of statehood, D.C. residents have been deprived of the equal rights in their government enjoyed by other Americans.  Chairman Cummings’ announcement is a historic step for the nation and for 700,000 American citizens who live in the nation’s capital.”

Bowser spoke of the impact of not having statehood, saying: “Our continued lack of voting representation in Congress is a disgrace to the District’s servicemembers and veterans who call our city home, and it is a stain on our nation’s democracy that can only be fixed through statehood.”

“July’s hearing is an opportunity to educate Members of Congress and the American people on why we are more than ready to become a state. We are not asking for a handout – we are demanding for our fundamental rights as American citizens, and the rights for which many of our residents have fought and died.”

“This is an important opportunity, in a national venue, to once again remind our country that the citizens of the District of Columbia are not seen as equal to the citizens of the 50 states,” Mendelson said.  “We pay more per capita in federal taxes, we send our sons and daughters to war, and we carry all of the duties of citizenship but don’t have all of the rights. That’s what this bill and this hearing is about.”

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform is chaired by Elijah Cummings.

Norton’s D.C. statehood bill has 204 cosponsors in the House and 32 in the Senate. The Senate version was introduced by Senator Tom Carper (D-DE).  

The bill is endorsed several organizations including: the ACLU; ACLU-DC; AFGE, AFL-CIO; AIDS United; Americans for Democratic Action; Bend the Arc; Brady; Campaign Legal Center; Catholics for Choice; Center for Biological Diversity; Coalition to Stop Gun Violence; Common Cause; Conference of Major Superiors of Men; CREDO, among many others.

For more information on statehood go to: https://statehood.dc.gov.