Why should Arizona support D.C. statehood? Due to the fact that its Black citizens deserve a voice – The Arizona Republic

2March 2021

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., right, accompanied by Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., left, speaks at a news conference on District of Columbia statehood on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, June 16, 2020, in Washington.

When I was first chosen in 2015, I was the only Black legislator at the Arizona Legislature. I was quickly swamped with calls and letters from Black people all over the state who saw my presence at the Capitol as representation for all

Black Arizonans, not just my constituents in District 27. Just as rapidly, I came to see the value of that representation. I can't help however consider the more than 700,000 mostly Black and brown Washington, D.C., locals who don't have anywhere to turn when things get hard. They have no agent to vote on legislation for them in Congress. For more than 200 years, the residents of Washington

, D.C., have been locked out of our democracy without a vote in Congress in spite of being the U.S. capital. Now, they're closer to statehood than they've ever been, but progress is precarious. I contact our Arizona congressional delegation to take up the cause

and move us toward a more just, representative democracy. Arizona when faced similar opposition The district's path to statehood, in a great deal of methods, is not unlike Arizona's. In the late 1800s, Arizonans had to

pay federal taxes, regardless of having no representation in Congress and this frustration helped sustain our own fight for statehood. But our fight for statehood was relatively quick. More than two centuries after revolutionaries discarded tea in the Boston Harbor to oppose taxation without representation, Washington, D.C., pays more per capita

in federal taxes than any other state, despite having no say in how those tax dollars are spent. A couple of years prior to Arizona and New Mexico were admitted as different states, a proposal in Congress would have combined them into one. This left Arizonans sensation shortchanged of the representation we was worthy of– causing the independent streak we're so well-known for. Today, there are some who would have Washington, D.C., “retrocede” into Maryland, depriving citizens of the district the independent representation they should have.

Even residing on the other side of the nation, as Arizonans (and as Americans), we ought to appreciate Washington, D.C., statehood. Any time we stop working to call out oppression or disenfranchisement, it is a betrayal of our worths.

This is a civil rights problem for D.C.

. We have a responsibility to call out inequity anywhere it may lie. The district's mainly racial-minority locals do not have a voice on some of the most pressing concerns of our day.

Thus, the injustice we see in Washington, D.C., is a racial justice concern and a civil rights issue. The disenfranchisement of the district's people is inextricably linked to the fact that, when it becomes a state, it will be the first plurality Black state in the nation.

Those who say statehood represents a “power grab” by Democrats are being disingenuous. It's not a Democrat or Republican concern, it's a democracy concern. The Black and brown locals of the district deserve representation in our politics, period.

Justice for Washington, D.C., in the type of statehood is far from an inescapable conclusion because numerous in power wield structural loopholes like the filibuster to cut off access to our democracy.

Much like it was for Arizona for most of our own statehood battle, not that long back, the district's citizens efficiently have no power. They are counting on individuals like us to have their back, elevate their voices and put our belief in American worths like equality and democracy into actions.

In Arizona, we are much better off since we are a state where we can work together to resolve huge issues. Washington, D.C., is worthy of the same representation, and it's up to us and our leaders in Congress to provide that for them.

Rep. Reginald Bolding represents Legislative District 27 and functions as the Arizona House minority leader. Reach him at rbolding@azleg.gov!.?.!.Source: azcentral.com

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