Lobby for Voting Rights
||Washington Informer (DC)
||Thursday, April 8, 2010
D.C. Vote has declared April 16 D.C. Emancipation Advocacy Day and is inviting all District residents to spend the morning with them in the U.S. Capitol Visitor’s Center, to lobby for full democracy in D.C.
April 16 is Emancipation Day in the District. It is the day that commemorates the end of slavery in the District in 1862, nearly 18 months before President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation which ended legalized slavery in America.
Anti-slavery advocates successfully persuaded President Lincoln and the Congress to abolish slavery in the District, albeit through a measure that would compensate the slave owners, but it would also end what they labeled a “national shame” in the nation’s capital. Yet, to the dismay of generations of Washingtonians, the national shame continues in the form of taxation without representation in those same halls of Congress.
To that end, the intent of proclaiming Emancipation Day a local holiday by former Ward 5 Council member Vincent Orange who introduced the legislation and former Mayor Anthony Williams, who signed it into law in 2005, was to commemorate the day and to continue to shine a light on the great injustice that impacts District residents.
The day of celebration was historically celebrated with parades and festivals – that’s what Orange had in mind when he resurrected the day and pushed to declare it a local holiday. But with local revenues in decline and a new administration more concerned about the economic impact of the holiday as opposed to its historical significance, the day has evolved into day of action, led by D.C. Vote, a local full-voting rights advocacy organization.
D.C. Vote has declared April 16 a day of celebration and unity and reminds District residents that they are the only Americans who pay full federal taxes, fight and die in wars and serve on juries, but still do not have full congressional representation or full control over local issues.
We encourage everyone who supports full democracy in the District to join D.C. Vote on Capitol Hill on April 16. Make sure your voice is heard.