Frank Rich, Sr. never stopped fighting for full democratic rights for residents of the District of Columbia. Everyone involved in our struggle mourns the loss of a man who used his lofty intellect and vast life experience to stand up and demand our rights as Americans. 

It is with deep sadness we share with you that one of our city’s great champions of self-government passed away early on Friday, December 26th at his home in Northwest Washington.

I don't have to tell you that our advocacy work here at DC Vote is fueled by the residents of this great city. Whether we are seeking to change people's hearts and minds about the democratic injustice we live under, or fighting off lawmakers that take advantage of the antiquated constitutional oversight by meddling in our affairs, the truth is... we are powerful when we reach common ground, band together, and lift our voices collectively.

"Mayor for Life" Marion Barry, Jr. passed away at 1:46 AM this morning at United Medical Center in Southeast Washington.  Our hearts and prayers go out to the Barry family.

Mayor Barry was a fierce advocate for DC voting rights and statehood - a freedom fighter for the District of Columbia and all who live here. He gave a voice to the voiceless and empowered the powerless. His life and love for his people will never be forgotten.

In November, 64 percent of DC voters supported Initiative 71, an effort to legalize the possession and cultivation of marijuana in the District of Columbia.

As you know, the mid-term election this week reshaped the Congress, creating both challenges and opportunities in our pursuit of equal rights for the District of Columbia.

Already, we’ve seen significant national press coverage of the overwhelming support by District voters to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.

On October 17th, the federal appeals court judge that heard the oral arguments in the DC Council’s suit to compel implementation of the Local Budget Autonomy Act raised the question of whether the ongoing dispute over the law involving the DC Council, the Mayor and the Chief Financial Officer could be moot after a new DC Mayor and an elected DC Attorney General take office in January.

Today is “Constitution and Citizenship Day,” a holiday meant to commemorate the approval of the US Constitution by the Constitutional Convention in 1787, and the privileges it affords to American Citizens. While some Americans will surely take time today to remember the wisdom of a group of white Christian males who lived over 200 years ago, DC residents will be reminded of how the constitution continues to be used to rob us of our natural rights.

Today, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee highlights an enduring blemish on American democracy by conducting a hearing on  S. 132, the New Columbia Admission Act. This bill would address the injustice of American citizens residing in the nation’s capital that continue to be denied democratic rights that every other American enjoys. 

As a resident of California, a state about as far away from the District of Columbia as one can get, I am often faced with the question, “why should I, or any other resident outside of D.C. for that matter, care about local autonomy for the District of Columbia?” I live outside the jurisdiction of D.C.’s local laws and am virtually unaffected by its local politics and policies. Then, while sitting in on a House Appropriations Committee markup of the Financial Services and General Government sub-committee bill a couple of weeks ago, it hit me.