You Say You Want a Resolution

While a revolution for statehood might get us there faster resolutions for statehood are an important component of expressing and demonstrating widespread support for the cause. In 2013, the Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association, the Bloomingdale Civic Association, the Bates St. Civic Association, and the Hillcrest Community Civic Association all passed resolutions in support of D.C. statehood. These resolutions help show that the people that make up the civic fabric of the District care about the statehood cause and support it.

Recently, Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Walter Deleon (5C02) introduced a resolution to get ANC 5C to support the resolution and it is time that others follow suit. While a referendum on statehood is the best way to set the record straight about what the people of D.C. want these resolutions also have value. These resolutions help demonstrate that there is widespread support for statehood among the grassroots groups that truly know and reflect the thoughts, cares, and concerns of the citizenry.

In the coming weeks or months if you are a member of an ANC, Civic/Citizens Association, another civic group, or even a business/business association please propose that the resolution is considered and passed by whatever group you belong to and share it with us. Let’s build a widespread network of civic groups from Ward 1 to Ward 8 that all stand united in support for statehood, the only thing that will make us free and treat us fairly and equally within the American union.

Here is a draft of the resolution that can be adapted to you group’s liking: DCStatehoodResolution

Josh Burch

Brookland, DC

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Snow Day = Statehood Day!

Are you at home on a snow day after a long weekend? With one more day in the house why not lend 5 minutes or an hour to lend your voice to encourage U.S. Senators to support the D.C. statehood bill (New Columbia Admission Act)? Senator Carper has committed to reintroducing the statehood bill this year and today is a great day to let other Senators know that we want them to cosponsor the bill.

You can either send a simple tweet to a Senator’s account like this: .@SenJeffMerkley please take a stand for fairness & equality and cosponsor the #DCStatehood bill.

Or you can send a simple email to the staff members who are the leads for the statehood bill in select offices. You should feel free to pour your heart, mind, and soul out in an email or you can make it short and sweet like this:

Dear Staffer X,

Please ask Senator Y to take a stand for the fair and equal treatment of the citizens of the District of Columbia by cosponsoring the New Columbia Admission Act when Senator Carper introduces it this year.

You can find twitter handles & staff contacts for our targeted Senators here: 114th Priority Senators

Every tweet, email, or phone call makes a difference so please lend your voice to the cause today.

Thanks for helping make this Snow Day a #DCStatehood Day too!

Josh Burch

Brookland, DC

unitedforstatehood@gmail.com

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It’s About Democracy

Below is my testimony before a Joint “Roundtable” (it was a Hearing but due to fear of violating the Budget Act of 2015 the Council changed the title to Roundtable) about respecting the vote and will of District voters:

Joint Public Hearing on B21-023 & B21-025

2/9/15

Councilmembers,

I care very little about the bills before the Council today but I care deeply about democracy. I care deeply that my voice and my vote should be respected, honored, and have the same value of the votes of my family, friends, and neighbors in the 50 states. My two beautiful children deserve to be treated fairly and equally with children around this country. And yet what I care about and believe as it relates to fairness, equality, and basic tenets of democracy don’t apply to the District, the city where I was born and raised and where I am now raising a family.

Congress a “democratic” body where we are denied representation over and over again has imposed its will on the District and for too long we, the citizens and elected leaders, have capitulated.  The time for capitulation must end and the time for confrontation is upon us. We have no say in the laws Congress passes, we have no oversight over the judges they confirm, and a system that denies 660,000 tax paying Americans full and equal citizenship rights does not deserve our respect.

I urge you all to push this forward in confronting any and all riders that treat us differently than the 50 states. We must not just oppose one rider, we must oppose them all. We should openly and brazenly ignore all budget riders that Congress imposes upon us without our consent. Let’s force Congress’ hand and openly defy them. You all are simply doing your job. You are trying to develop a tax and regulatory system to best implement an initiative overwhelmingly passed by the citizens of the District. You all are being good stewards of District affairs and yet in this unjust system that we live under you could be breaking the law. I urge you to press forward and don’t back down.

I’m here today because I care about democracy. I believe that we deserve to be treated freely and fairly as the 51st state in the union.  We in the District, citizens and elected leaders, need to stand up and make sure that our votes, voice, and collective will are respected because if we never stand up for ourselves how can we ever expect Congress to one day stand up for us?

Joshua Burch

Brookland, Ward 5

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What Can You Do for D.C. Statehood?

  1. Host a meet and greet at your house. Invite friends and family over for a discussion on statehood – Neighbors United for DC Statehood would be happy to attend and facilitate. It’s a great way to learn about the cause and ask questions in a comfortable and informal setting. Email us to schedule: unitedforstatehood@gmail.com
  2. Invite someone familiar with D.C. history and the statehood cause to your place of worship, school, or civic group to discuss D.C. democratic history and the push for statehood. Have the group pass a resolution in support of D.C. Statehood. Here is a sample: DCStatehoodResolution Every single ANC & Civic/Citizen Association should pass these resolutions!
  3. Write, call, or visit members of Congress and ask that they support the statehood bill. To start with email or tweet to these priority Senators: 114th Priority Senators
  4. Ask your friends and relatives in the 50 states to lobby THEIR members of Congress to support statehood.
  5. Write an Op-Ed to a newspaper where you have friends or family around the country to help raise awareness about the statehood cause.

There are lots of other ways to be engaged in the statehood cause and we encourage you to find something you want to do for the cause and do it well. We all play a role in making statehood a reality so let’s get to work!

Josh Burch

Brookland, DC

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Civic Disobedience

On February 9th, 2015 there will be a Joint Public Hearing of the D.C. Council that we all should attend and testify at. While the hearing’s focus will be about legislation to tax and regulate marijuana I have no intention of discussing either bill. To me the hearing is about respecting democracy and good government. I don’t care whether we’re too smart by half over what the word ‘enact’ means because congressional intent was clear: they want to overturn a ballot measure supported by 70% of the people who voted on the Initiative and prevent any future action on it.

The budget act had text that forbade the District from using federal or LOCAL funds “to enact any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or reduce penalties associated with the possession, use or distribution.” While the enactment of Initiative 71 is up for debate this joint hearing which would develop regulations would seem to violate the budget act since there’s no debate that regulations and a tax system were not in place when the budget act became law. I am glad the Council is standing up to Congress and it’s about time.

Year after year Congress has forbidden the District from implementing numerous policies that the citizens and our elected leaders have thought best for the city. It’s time to stand up to Congress or just flat out ignore them and that’s what this joint public hearing will do. Our Councilmembers and their staff could potentially be violating the Anti-Deficiency Act simply by holding a hearing about setting up a tax and regulatory system. If our Councilmembers run the risk of breaking the law by simply acting to set up a sound regulatory structure for something enacted by the citizens through referendum then we the citizens should be there at the hearing to stand with them.

I will be testifying on February 9th but I won’t be discussing or addressing the bills before the Council. I’ll be there to condemn Congress, thank the Council, and to speak up for myself as someone who believes deeply that we in the District deserve to be treated fairly and equally with the 50 states as the 51st state. If we want to “Free DC” we need to start acting from a liberation mindset and no longer accept unjust and undemocratic action by Congress as the end of policy debates and decisions. This hearing is just one moment where we can begin to show that we will no longer accept the tampering, meddling, and undemocratic intrusions from Congress. This is not about pot, this is about democracy and on February 9th I hope we all will take a few minutes to stand with the Council and stand up for ourselves by testifying at the hearing.

See you at the John A. Wilson Building in Room 500 at 10am! If you want to testify please contact Faye Caldwell at fcaldwell@dccouncil.us or (202) 727-6683.

Josh Burch

Brookland

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