One DC, One Nation
Gray, Brown Can Unite DC by Leading the Fight For Full Democracy
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September 15, 2010
Today DC Vote released the following statement by Executive Director Ilir Zherka in response to the primary results.
The statement may be quoted in whole or in part.
After a difficult primary season, uniting the District is top priority.
Rallying residents behind a DC Government-led fight for full democracy is an ideal mechanism for bringing us back together.
All DC residents want to be equal citizens with equal voting representation in Congress and full control over local issues.
Right now we have the votes to pass the DC Voting Rights Act ("DC VRA"), which would enable us to take a significant step toward
full democracy this year. It has already passed in the Senate, but a gun amendment has stalled its progress in the House.
DC residents are angry and eager to engage in a fight to demand their rights. We are running out of time, however, to enact legislation.
There is a strong likelihood that DC will face more opponents in the next Congress. We must,
therefore, demand more forcefully that congressional leaders find a way to pass the DC VRA without any harmful
amendments before Congress adjourns.
For the fight to be successful, the DC government must take a leadership role. Both Vince Gray and Kwame Brown have spoken
about the need to protest DC's second-class status more vigorously. They can do this, while uniting residents, by leading an
aggressive campaign directly challenging Congress' denial of local democracy in DC.
Not only do we have votes in Congress, polls demonstrate that the American people support representation for DC - when
they know about it. The principle barriers to DC democracy remain ignorance nationally and lethargy on the Hill. An initial, dramatic
step that would quickly bring our issue national attention would be adding a ceremonial name to Pennsylvania Avenue, something along the lines of "DC
Democracy Denied Blvd." I am confident others have some creative ideas as well.
The campaign must also increase the urgency in Congress to deal with this injustice. The DC government should engage in acts of protest directly related to the federal laws and procedures that infringe on our local democracy by refusing, for example, to submit local laws for Congressional approval. As long as Washingtonians are taxed without representation, our elected officials should refuse to abide by and participate in these federal laws and procedures.
By leading a campaign as described above, the Council, Mayor and Delegate will unite "one DC" in an effort that has wide support and cannot wait until next year. They would also build a movement strong enough to realize the dream of making DC the state of New Columbia.
A DC protest campaign fits ideally into the "One Nation" campaign being waged right now by the civil rights movement. The United States will not live up to its pledge of "one nation, under god, indivisible with liberty and justice for all" until DC residents have full and equal rights. A united country cannot leave out 600,000 citizens.
Vince Gray and Kwame Brown, bring us together as one DC in a fight to ensure that "one nation" includes the District of Columbia.