Fall 2002 Newsletter
DC Vote Has New Director
Ilir Zherka Charts
"We hope to educate a critical
mass of people, so that, ultimately, the Congress
will right this historic wrong."
DC Vote is pleased to announced
the selection of Ilir Zherka as the organization's
new executive director. Mr. Zherka will lead
DC Vote's local and national educational and
advocacy efforts in pursuit of achieving equal
voting representation in the U.S. Congress for
residents of the District of Columbia.
Zherka's selection as DC Vote's executive
director has drawn praise from a number of political
leaders. "I believe that Ilir Zherka's strong
background will be invaluable in building on the new
enthusiasm for our rights we now are seeing in the
Congress and in the community," said Congresswoman
Eleanor Holmes Norton.
"The lack of voting representation
in Congress is a civil rights issue for the people
of Washington, D.C.," said Mayor Anthony Williams.
"DC Vote understands this and is working to bring
equality to District residents. I'm excited at the
prospect of joining with Ilir Zherka to take our case
to the Congress and to the American people."
"I am honored to join DC Vote,"
said Mr. Zherka. "I look forward to building
on the work of so many of our volunteers, other organizations,
and our elected officials. Increasingly, Americans
are becoming aware of the plight of their fellow citizens
in DC. We hope to educate a critical mass of people
so that, ultimately, the Congress will right this
Mr. Zherka, is a life-long advocate
and respected voice of civil, human and worker rights
in both the national and international communities.
Before joining DC Vote, Zherka served as President
of the National Albanian American Council (NAAC).
NAAC is a non-profit, advocacy organization dedicated
to promoting democracy and human rights in the Balkans.
As co-founderof NAAC, Ilir helped it
grow into an organization with chapters throughout
the U.S. and offices in three cities. As president,
Zherka led meetings with national leaders, including
Secretary Powell and President Clinton. He has also
served as Senior Legislative Officer for Secretary
of Labor Alexis Herman, Legislative Counsel to Congressman
George Miller [D-Calif.], and as the National Director
for Ethnic Outreach for the Clinton-Gore re-election
campaign. Zherka earned his undergraduate degree with
distinction from Cornell University and received a
law degree from the University of Virginia
(For more information on our new Executive Director,
please visit www.dcvote.org)
1st Hearings in Nearly 10 Years
Congress Hears Case for Voting Rights
On May 23, 2002, the Senate Committee on Governmental
Affairs held a hearing regarding "Voting Representation
in Congress for Citizens of the District of Columbia."
On July 19, the House Government Refom Subcommitee
on D.C. held a hearing on Delagate Norton's 'Taxation
without Representation' bill. They were the first
hearings on voting rights held in either body since
Next Generation of Voices
Essay Contest Engages Youth
D.C. schoolchildren made their voices heard this
spring by participating in the first-ever DC Vote
Essay Contest. The winner was 13 year-old Anthony
Speight of Paul Junior H.S. Chelsea Turner of Deal
Junior H.S. was second, and José Delcid, also
of Paul J.H.S. came in third. (see quote from
Anthony's essay below)
Residents Want Rights
86% favor representation
Post Poll Shows Overwhelming
A May poll conducted by the Washington Post
shows that District residents overwhelmingly
favor representation. 86% of those polled favor
"giving the District the same Congressional
representation as the fifty states." 66%
favor the D.C. becoming a separate state. This
is by far the highest level of support in the
ten years that the Post has been conducting
"The people that decide what will
happen to my city, my home, do not walk through my
neighborhood, they do not see what I see, they do
not understand the concerns of the public or the concerns
of the citizens of the city."
- Anthony Speight, 13 year-old winner
of DC Vote's first-ever essay contest
Hall of Shame: Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE)
Congressman Protects Us from Ourselves
Rep. Terry is seeking to overturn a D.C. Board
of Zoning Adjustment decision against Girls and Boys
Town USA, an organization that happens to be headquarted
in his district. According to the Washington City
Paper, in a letter to the leaders of the House
Appropriations Subcommittee for the D.C., Rep. Terry
wrote "The framers of the Constitution gave the
United States Congress full authority to govern the
District of Columbia. Congress sets its laws and has
the authority and responsibility to correct any actions
by the D.C. city government which it deems inappropriate,
irrational, or harmful." A staff member declined
comment, saying that the letter was intended for his
colleague and not for the general public.
(DC Vote's 'Hall of Shame' highlights
newsmakers who demonstrate their disdain for our basic
10 Things You Can Do to Get Involved
Help Bring an End to Taxation Without
1. Help spread the message. Put a free
DC Vote bumper sticker on your car, bike, truck, window
2. Volunteer! DC Vote is always
looking for volunteers to help plan upcoming events.
3. Host a house party. Parties are a great
way to raise money and awareness for DC Vote. Learn
how you can host one at your place from our website.
4. Dress up your desktop.
Download desktop wallpaper from www.dcvote.org and
show your support for D.C. voting rights.
5. Show your support in MD and VA.
Get 'Taxation without Representation' license plates
whether you live in the District or not.
6. Get the word out. Print out the "10
Things You Can Do to Promote Democracy in D.C."
flyer from www.dcvote.org and distribute it to all
of your friends and neighbors.
7. Know someone famous? Help to add their name,
your name, or the name of your organization to our
list of endorsers.
8. Join the Speakers Bureau. The DC Vote Speakers
Bureau is a critical component of our effort to inform
the public about the groundswell of support for our
issue and to let them know how they can get involved.
9. Organize your campus. College
students make great volunteers and activists. DC Vote
is looking for college chapters across the country.
10. Make a donation. Make a
donation to DC Vote online at www.dcvote.org or by
calling (202) 462-6000. If you are a federal employee,
you can designate DC Vote for the CFC - use #7240
for DC Vote!
Visit www.dcvote.org or call (202) 462-6000 for more
DC Vote Never Stops Working
We've Been All Over Town This Spring
4/15 Tax Day Rally on Farragut
5/15 Congress Day on Capitol Hill
5/19 Capitol Hill 10K on Capitol Hill
5/27 WWI Memorial Ceremony
5/29 Essay Contest Winners at the Capitol
6/9 Pride Festival Booth Downtown
7/4 July 4th Parade in the Palisades
9/8 Adams Morgan Day Festival
(See www.dcvote.org for information
on upcoming events)
Who We Are and What We're Fighting For
DC Vote is a non-partisan, non-profit
501 (c) 3 organization dedicated to educating the
public and the Congress of the United States about
the need for the citizens of the District of Columbia
to enjoy full voting representation in the U.S. House
of Representatives and U.S. Senate. DC Vote brings
together any and all organizations, citizens, and
other supporters of the principles enumerated in the
Constitution that guarantee democratic representation
of all citizens and assert the principle of "one
person, one vote." DC Vote is open to all who
wish to pursue those goals through nonviolent means
and with respect for all members of our Coalition.
150 Volunteers Make Rounds to Ask Senators to Be Our
Congress Day draws large
crowds; supporters meet with Senators and Staff
in 98 offices.
Wednesday, May 15, 2002 dozens of volunteers
and supporters of DC Vote joined Delegate Eleanor
Holmes Norton, Mayor Anthony Williams, the Leadership
Conference on Civil Rights, NAACP, Common Cause,
People for the American Way and Stand Up! For
Democracy to educate the U.S. Senate on the
lack of fundamental civil rights affecting the
572,000 people living in the nation's capital.
Residents and supporters visited Senators' offices
throughout the afternoon. This D.C. Citizens
Voting Rights Congresional Education Day is
the first time that these organizations have
come together and coordinated efforts to educate
the politicians who have the power to bring
an end to the lack of democracy in the District
Volunteers turn out for Congress
Participants educated U.S.
Senators about the continued disenfranchisement of
District of Columbia residents who have no voting
representation in the U.S. Congress. "I was born
in the District of Columbia. As a fourth generation
Washingtonian, my family and I have lived all our
lives without a voice in Congress and without being
able to participate like our fellow countrymen in
our great democracy," said Frank Rich, Sr., former
owner of Rich Shoes and a longtime activist for DC
Vote. "Now is the time to let Congress know that
we will no longer stand by and take it. As U.S. citizens,
we're entitled to equal rights with all Americans."
Tax Day Defiance
Residents Still Burned Up Over Injustice
DC Vote, the Committee for the Capitol City, DC
Democracy Fund, DC Rabble, Let's Free DC, Stand Up!
For Democracy in D.C. Coalition and the Statehood
Solidarity Committee joined together to protest two
hundred years of taxation without representation.
Several hundred protestors gathered in Farragut Square
on tax day to burn copies of their tax forms - a symbolic
act of defiance against the everyday injustice that
persists in the District of Columbia. "There
is no greater violation of our basic constitutional
rights than the denial of our voice in Congress,"
said DC Vote Chairman Daniel Solomon. "Working
together we will find a solution to end this injustice."
Mayor Anthony Williams and Delegate Eleanor Holmes
Norton, both strong advocates for full voting rights,
rallied the crowd with speeches on the need to continue
fighting to bring representation to the District.
Roused by the guest speakers and performances, residents
from every area of the city gathered together to toss
1040 tax forms into the flames - a symbol of how our
tax money goes up in smoke with no say in how it is
Running for Our Rights
New Flag is Run Through the
DC Vote supporters are getting a tough workout
as they promote the proposed D.C. flag around
the city. In March, John Capozzi, former shadow
Representative, and DC Vote volunteers began
carrying the proposed flag while running in
several road races, including the First Annual
D.C. Marathon, the Georgetown 10K, and the Capitol
Hill Classic 10K. The new flag would add the
words, "No Taxation Without Representation"
in white letters on the two red bars of the
current D.C. flag. Supporters believe the flag
will help increase local and national attention
to the lack of voting rights in the District.
Proposed flag redesign
'Taxation' Bill Focuses on Voting Rights Change
in Legislation; DC Vote Offers Support
DC Vote is pleased to support proposed
changes that remove the taxation provision from the
'No Taxation Without Representation' legislation introduced
by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and Senator
Joseph Lieberman. "These changes, which bring
clarified focus to the Congressional voting rights
element of the bill, will allow continued efforts
to educate all members of Congress on the lack of
fundamental civil rights for residents of the District
of Coumbia," said Daniel Solomon, Board Chair
of DC Vote.
Support DC Vote's Champions of Democracy 2002
Get Tickets or Make a Contribution
When: Thursday, December 5, 2002
Where: Decatur House and Museum
748 Jackson Place, NW (across from the White House)
Sponsor ($5,000) 10 tickets,
name in all printed and press materials and a half
page ad in the printed program.
Patron ($2,500) 8 tickets, name
in all printed materials and a quarter page ad in
the printed program.
Benefactor ($1,000) 4 tickets,
name in all printed materials and a businesscard-sized
ad in the printed program.
Supporter ($500) 2 tickets,
name on invitation and a listing in the printed program.
Friend ($250) 1 ticket and a
listing in the printed program.
Individual Ticket ($100)
District / State _____________________ Zip _________________
Home Phone ___________________ Work Phone _________________
Mail this information
and your contribution to:
DC Vote, ATTN: Champions
of Democracy, 1500 U Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009
Your participation in helping DC Vote
honor this year's Champions of Democracy will make
a major difference in DC Vote's ability to reach out
across the District and the Nation to help end the
denial of equal rights to District residents. Look
for Champions of Democracy 2002 updates about honorees,
donor opportunities, volunteer opportunities and the
evening's program at www.dcvote.org or call 202.462.2000.
DC Vote is a 501 (c) 3 organization. Contributions
to DC Vote are tax-deductible.