New Generation Of D.C. Statehood Advocates

WAMU: Local News


On a recent evening about sixty young people in their late teens and early twenties log into a zoom meeting. They live all over the country from new. Jersey to California but they're committed to the cause the organizers start introducing themselves I everyone. My name is Jen Mandel black. I'm Michael I use he him pronouns. Hi Everyone. My name is Jimmy the advocates on this call are preparing to meet with their US senators virtually of course to talk making Washington DC The fifty first state organizer Michael Copy says statehood is one of the key civil rights issues of our time over seven hundred thousand DC residents most of whom are black and Brown folks do not have access. To be the very democracy that surround sound, this big statehood energy is relatively new as recently as a decade ago, statehood was seen as a political dead end Democrats in Congress generally supported it but they didn't make the legislative priority even when they had the chance seventy, nine year old niece Jenkins started advocating for statehood in the late nineteen, ninety s we are the old school we are the gangsters. Of the statehood movement, the Oh Geez back then DC was still struggling to get on solid financial footing statehood did not go over. Well, we were Kinda ridiculed for DC, statehood was not on anybody's limps, grassroots, activists and officials like DC Mayor Mariel Browser made it a priority in this hyper partisan time we're living in DC statehood has become a core part of the National Democratic Platform, the House of Representatives the summer passed a bill supporting DC statehood for the first time in history. The next hurdle is getting it through the Senate which advocates hope will soon be controlled by Democrats. A new generation is on board with this 'cause on the recent zoom call twenty, two year old DC resident demi strap man gives her fellow advocate some advice when it comes to preparing to meet with actual elected officials or their staff you have to be confident to not feel like you're invading their space. They are your elected officials. You have the right to speak with them because she's from DC Stratton no senators to lobby herself and the district's one representative to Congress Eleanor. Holmes Norton can't vote on final versions of bills. That's why young advocates today are hyper focused on getting people from outside the district on board with the statehood 'cause I actually grew up in Pennsylvania. So I kind of took my representation for granted before right moved to DC twenty, four year old Noah wills now lives in the district and runs the advocacy group students for DC statehood he's working to expand their chapters at universities side the district he also wants to get university students in. DC. Bought in while they live here and by doing so they're there really are gateway to the rest of the country wheels and other statehood advocates still have a lot of convincing to do last year in a Gallup poll less than a third of Americans said, they favor d. c. becoming a state. But after this summer's protests over police brutality, some young advocates WanNa push a angle to the statehood 'cause racial justice twenty, two year old DC native Jamal Holtz, points out. The DC is forty, six percent black retreated a second class citizens, and so these statehood is a civil rights issue. Holt says the black lives matter movement and DC statehood are completely intertwined for the first time in his life. He feels like statehood is possible if Democrats take the White House. And Senate and make it a priority. He grew up wanting to be the mayor of Washington DC, and now he's already thinking about adjusting that dream. It'll give me a new goal in life and not limit myself the mayor but make it governor for Wam you I'm Michaela. FRAC to

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