By Micha Green, AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor, [email protected]
“51! 51! 51,” Washingtonians shouted at the kickoff for D.C. Statehood Week on Sept. 16.
Officials and residents alike are advocating for D.C. becoming the 51st state.
“I was born without representation, but I will not die without representation,” District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser told the crowd passionately at the kickoff 51st State Flag Salute along Pennsylvania.
Bowser led a parade with 51 District of Columbia veterans, where they boarded a statehood themed bus and drove along Pennsylvania Avenue, which was lined with 51-stars flags.
According to a press release from the Mayor’s Office, 702,000 District residents and 32,000 District veterans are without full representation as American citizens.
As its D.C. Statehood Week, many people and officials are coming out in support of the nation’s capital becoming the 51st state.
John J. DeGioia, president of Georgetown University, released a statement to Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) in support of D.C.’s 51st statehood. The Congressmen are holding a hearing on H.R. 51, a bill proposed by D.C.’s Representative to Congress Eleanor Holmes Norton (D).
“I write to you today to express my gratitude for holding this important hearing to discuss the issue of statehood for our city,” President DeGioia said.
“As a university located in our nation’s capital, we have a deep commitment to this proposed legislation. It’s enactment would give Georgetown University, and other Washington, D.C. colleges and universities a voting representative in the House of Representatives, an important resource enjoyed by other post-secondary institutions,” he wrote.
Georgetown’s President also considered how students are impacted by D.C.’s lack of voting rights in Congress.
“Every state in the Union is represented among the Georgetown student body. Many of our students and alumni who live in the nation’s capital believe strongly that the lack of voting representation for more than 700,000 residents of the District is a long-standing injustice that should be remedied without further delay.
A school with international recognition and reach, the Georgetown President considered how the lack of representation appears across boarders.
“Likewise, given Georgetown’s international reach and presence, I am keenly aware of the fact that, while we as a nation are engaged and in promoting the strengthening of democracy across the world, the full democratic rights of residents of the District of Columbia have not been provided.”
On Thursday, Sept. 19, Norton will introduce H.R. 51 before Congress- a monumental act in itself as this is the first time in 26 years.
Also on Thursday, residents will be celebrating the fight for statehood with “The Million Moe March.” “Moe” is a D.C. slang term of endearment, frustration, identification and more.
People will gather in front of Capital One Arena on 7th and F Streets Northwest at 6 p.m. for the march, which will feature remarks from Black Lives Matter DC, Color of Change, Lordy Agency, The W.I.R.E., March for Our Lives DC, DC Jobs for Justice, and District of Columbia Council member Robert White. There will also be music from Eastern High School’s marching band and D.C.’s own Backyard Band.
Mayor Bowser took to Twitter to thank residents for coming out Monday and encourage residents to come out Thursday for the festivities surrounding statehood.
“I want to thank all of our residents who continue to fight for #DCStatehood,” she wrote. “I hope you will make your voices heard on Thursday and every day until this 51-star flag is the official flag of the United States of America!”