Today, hundreds of thousands of Americans are being denied their full voting rights simply because they live in D.C. A lot of us grew up thinking this was normal or simply the way it has to be. It's not. In fact, Washington, D.C. is the only national capital in the democratic world whose citizens do not have equal voting and representation rights.
Even more troubling is the deeply racist history and impact of denying statehood to D.C. residents. Congress took away D.C.’s local autonomy just after the Civil War when a growing population of Black people was moving to the region and exercising their political rights. Today, the majority of the 700,000 people who live in the D.C. region are Black and Brown. When D.C. becomes a state, it will be the first state with a plurality of Black people in the country.
The great news is that we have a path forward and more momentum than ever to correct this historic wrong. The Washington, D.C. Admission Act, which already passed the House of Representatives this spring, is now pending in the Senate with more Senate co-sponsors than ever before.
The Washington, D.C. Admission Act would carve out the residential and business areas of the District and turn those areas into the 51st state, called Washington, Douglas Commonwealth. The White House, U.S. Capitol, Supreme Court, and other federal buildings and monuments would remain exactly where they are now and become the new, smaller Capital.
This is the same way that every state has entered the union since the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788, through legislation passed by Congress. We know for certain Congress has the constitutional power to change and reduce the size of the Capital because it has already done so twice in our country's history.
The residents of D.C. can't pass this legislation on their own. They don't even have any voting representation in Congress at all.
In addition to D.C. residents paying federal taxes yet have no voting representation in Congress, D.C's government can't even pass its own local legislation and or budget without congressional review. Congress regularly interjects itself into D.C. in ways that harm policies for public health, LGTBQ rights, and criminal justice reform.
Providing the citizens of D.C. with the political representation they deserve will have effects that reverberate across the country. Necessary legislative priorities like national voting and democracy reform -- along with long overdue protections such as the Equality Act -- will help push every state, including Wisconsin, forward.
The people of D.C. have fought for generations for their rights. Let's show up and remind Congress that believing in equality and full and equal rights means passing the Washington Admission Act. Send a message to Congress today urging support of DC Statehood at https://action.aclu.org/send-message/congress-support-dc-statehood-now