Jun 26, 2020

U.S House Passes Bill to Establish D.C Statehood

Today [26 June 2020], the U.S House of Representatives passed a bill establishing DC statehood. Written by DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, HR 51 had 226 cosponsors and breezed through the House of Representatives.

The UNPO welcomes the passage of the bill for statehood of the District of Columbia. UNPO General-Secretary, Ralph Bunche, praised the bill's passage and said that "this is an important step towards remedying a long-standing injustice in the USA, with significant links to the history of racial discrimination and disenfranchisement of minority voters across the USA. It is important to recall that in 2003 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights found the current situation to be a clear violation of the USA's international commitments, and also that in 2016 the overwhelming majority (some 86%) of voters in DC expressed a desire for statehood. The passage of the act in House today must be understood in that light: not as an act of political discretion, but as requirement for the USA to meet its most basic international commitments and responsibilities to its own citizens. And in that light we sincerely hope for a swift passage of this act by the Senate."

Below is a statement by Muriel Bowser, Mayor of District of Columbia, DC

"Today, with this historic vote, DC is closer than we have ever been to becoming the 51st state.

More than 160 years ago, Washingtonian Frederick Douglass told us: Power concedes nothing without a demand. As Washingtonians and as taxpaying American citizens, we are demanding what is owed to us – the rights guaranteed to us by the U.S. Constitution.

It is past time to fix this injustice. It is true that DC is more brown and more liberal than many other states. But the issue of taxation without representation was settled more than 200 years ago through the Declaration of Independence, and disenfranchising more than 700,000 taxpaying Americans is wrong no matter our politics or demographics. Who we elect is our business, and denying us statehood based on who we might send to Congress is both undemocratic and un-American.

Now, just as generations of Americans have worked over the centuries to build a more perfect union, we, too, are ready to seize this moment. Today, we stand on the shoulders of generations of Washingtonians who demanded access to our nation’s democracy – from the abolitionists of the 1800s to the Home Rule activists of the 1900s.

Power concedes nothing without a demand. And statehood is our demand.

On behalf of all Washingtonians, I congratulate Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton. On both a personal and professional level, this is an extraordinary accomplishment for the Congresswoman, and we are all grateful not only for her tireless work on statehood, but also her commitment to uplifting DC residents and putting DC in the best position to become the 51st state.

I was born without representation, but I swear – I will not die without representation. Together, we will achieve DC statehood, and when we do, we will look back on this day and remember all who stood with us on the right side of history."