FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON–Today, on the first day of the 117th Congress, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) introduced H.R. 51, a bill to make Washington, D.C. the 51st state. The legislation, introduced with 202 original co-sponsors, would redefine the residential sections of Washington, D.C., as Washington, Douglas Commonwealth, and provide all 712,000 D.C. residents with the same rights as residents of every other U.S. state.
The following statement can be attributed to Monica Hopkins, Executive Director, ACLU of the District of Columbia:
"The more than 712,000 people who call Washington, D.C., home are just like every other American. We work hard, not just as federal workers, but also as teachers, nurses, mechanics, grocery store clerks, members of the military, and small business owners. We raise families, go to church, volunteer in our communities, pay our taxes, and spend time with our neighbors. Residents of D.C. deserve the same rights and privileges as Americans living in every other U.S. state.”
"Denying full voting rights to D.C. residents, most of whom are Black or Brown, is rooted in racism and dates back to well-documented efforts to limit the power of the Black people after the Civil War. Not only are D.C. residents denied voting representation at the federal level, Congress’ authority over the District’s local laws and budgets also creates deep, and racially disproportionate harm to the District's criminal justice and public health systems.
"Granting Washington D.C. statehood is a necessary step in our nation's long journey towards racial justice and equality, and the only path to equal civil rights and full citizenship for D.C. residents."