Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser wears a D.C. Vote mask throughout a press conference on District of Columbia statehood on June 25, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS) Alex Wong Throughout our nation's history, civil rights motions across the country have had to combat to achieve triumphes for the disenfranchised.
And among the most crucial civil liberties concerns of our time is the fight for District of Columbia statehood. As a Washington, D.C., local, I do not see this as being about politics. It's about fulfilling the promise of our Constitution and enfranchising the more than 700,000 mostly Black and brown individuals, who have waited centuries for representation in Congress.
D.C.'s lack of representation continues to be rooted in white supremacy and driven by incorrect concerns over “corruption” or the supposed inability of our city to manage its own affairs. These are all dog-whistle arguments indicated to undermine leadership of color.
Talk of granting D.C. congressional representation has actually been present for decades, but wasn't widely acknowledged as an issue up until the civil rights movement in the 1950s. At that time, D.C. was 65% white and relatively uniformly split in terms of party affiliation, which made the fight for representation politically practical.
By 1970, nevertheless, more than 70% of D.C. was Black, and the district has actually remained a Black-majority city since then. Once you find out the city's history, it becomes impossible to argue that the efforts to keep the homeowners of D.C. disenfranchised are anything however racist in nature.
In the 2020 election, Black and brown citizens paved the way for President Joe Biden's success and empowered Democratic bulks in Congress to govern. It would be ravaging for Democrats to squander an opportunity to pass D.C. statehood and remedy a centurieslong stain on the tradition of our democracy.
So it's discouraging when chosen officials claim to uphold progressive ideals just to desert course when they have the power to impact modification. This minute in our history requires grit and decision. To fight for racial justice and equality in our democracy, President Biden and the Democratic Congress must make D.C. statehood a leading concern.
We must not let these efforts be staggered by the filibuster, which has been utilized for centuries to block racial justice and civil liberties bills. The progressive movement has actually coalesced around a call to eliminate this arcane rule. D.C. statehood is a defend representation and equality, and we need to not let anything stand in the method.
The tried coup on Jan. 6 epitomizes why the District of Columbia must be approved statehood now. As insurrectionists violated the Capitol structure, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser tried to hire the National Guard, however her demand was denied by the Department of Defense, which has sole control over implementation of the Guard in the nation's capital.
In contrast, simply months prior, President Donald Trump was allowed to deploy the National Guard in reaction to a tranquil Black Lives Matter demonstration in D.C., against the will of local management.
The United States' established systems of white supremacy have actually protected individuals who were dedicating treason, however reduced those representing justice and equality. For more than 200 years, these very same racist organizations have disenfranchised the majority Black and brown citizens of D.C., who reside in the shadow of the center of our federal government but do not have a vote in Congress. Now is the time to change the rules.
Ty Hobson-Powell is a 51 for 51 youth advocate and organizer for Concerned Citizens DC. This column was produced for the Progressive Media Project, which is run by The Progressive publication, and dispersed by Tribune News Service.
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