#Blizzard2016 for D.C. Statehood

We know that you’re snowed in and stuck at home. It’s unsafe to go out in a blizzard so from the comfort of your own home let’s all spend a bit of time advocating for D.C. statehood during #Snowzilla, #SnowtoriousBIG, or whatever else we’re calling this blizzard of 2016. The below suggestions should take no more than 30 minutes so please add your voice to the cause today.

We are targeting a few Senators whom we want to add their name to the statehood bill in the Senate (S. 1688) so we need you to contact them via Twitter or Email.

Here’s How:

  1. Twitter: Send a simple tweet to a Senator’s account like this: .@SenJeffMerkley please stand up for fairness & equality and cosponsor the #DCStatehood bill. Or go to @51stDC and retweet messages directed at targeted Senators during the day.
  2. Email: Send a personal message to staff leads for the statehood bill in the below offices. You should feel free to pour your heart, mind, and soul into 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 (S. 1688).”

Name State Staff Lead Email Twitter
Ayotte, Kelly NH Myles Matteson myles_matteson@ayotte.senate.gov  @KellyAyotte
Blumenthal, Richard CT Don Bell don_bell@blumenthal.senate.gov  @SenBlumenthal
Cantwell, Maria WA Pete Modaff pete_modaff@cantwell.senate.gov  @CantwellPress
Enzi, Mike WY Clint Lohse clint_lohse@enzi.senate.gov  @SenatorEnzi
Heinrich, Martin NM Jude McCartin jude_mccartin@heinrich.senate.gov  @MartinHeinrich
Hirono, Mazie HI Adam Tanga adam_tanga@hirono.senate.gov  @MazieHirono
King, Angus ME Chad Metzler chad_metzler@king.senate.gov  @SenAngusKing
Kirk, Mark IL Greg Tosi greg_tosi@kirk.senate.gov  @SenatorKirk
Klobuchar, Amy MN Ben Driscoll ben_driscoll@klobuchar.senate.gov  @AmyKlobuchar
Menendez, Robert NJ Tim Delmonico Tim_delmonico@menendez.senate.gov @SenatorMenendez
Merkley, Jeff OR Adrian Snead Adrian_snead@merkley.senate.gov  @SenJeffMerkley
Murkowski, Lisa AK Nathan Bergerbest nathan_bergerbest@murkowski.senate.gov  @LisaMurkowski
Murphy, Chris CT David Bonine david_bonine@murphy.senate.gov  @ChrisMurphyCT
Peters, Gary MI Jordan Wells jordan_wells@peters.senate.gov  @SenGaryPeters
Portman, Rob OH Pam Theissen pam_theissen@portman.senate.gov  @SenRobPortman
Schatz, Brian HI Dale Hahn dale_hahn@schatz.senate.gov  @SenBrianSchatz
Scott, Tim SC Charles Cogar charles_cogar@scott.senate.gov  @SenatorTimScott
Shaheen, Jeanne NH Brian McKeon Brain_mckeon@shaheen.senate.gov @SenatorShaheen
Stabenow, Debbie MI Emily Carwell Emily_carwell@stabenow.senate.gov  @SenStabenow
Tester, Jon MT Dylan Laslovich dylan_laslovich@tester.senate.gov  @SenatorTester
Udall, Tom NM Andrew Wallace andrew_wallace@tomudall.senate.gov  @SenatorTomUdall
Warner, Mark VA Lauren Marshall lauren_marshall@warner.senate.gov  @MarkWarner
Whitehouse, Sheldon RI Lara Quint lara_quint@judiciary-dem.senate.gov  @SenWhitehouse
Wyden, Ron OR Sarah Bittleman Sarah_bittleman@wyden.senate.gov  @RonWyden

 

Every tweet and email makes a difference so please lend your voice to the cause today.

Thanks for helping and let’s put our time indoors to good use during #Snowzilla, #SnowtoriousBIG, or whatever else you’re calling this blizzard!

Josh Burch

Brookland, DC

unitedforstatehood@gmail.com

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Equal Treatment, Mr. President.

Below is a letter I sent to President Obama imploring him to advocate for D.C. statehood in his upcoming State of the Union Address on January 12, 2016. Please lend your voice to this effort by contacting the President here or tweet your request to @POTUS, the more voices the more powerful!

 

January 2, 2016

The Honorable Barack Hussein Obama,

I wanted to make a final plea to you, one I have made on several previous occasions, to advocate for D.C. statehood in your upcoming State of the Union Address. I was born and raised in the District and I, like you, am now raising a family in the District but my family, unlike yours, lacks full and equal representation in Congress. Like you we pay our fair share of taxes yet we have no control or say on how those dollars are spent.

While I could fill page after page with information and facts making the historical case for you to support statehood I wanted to make the case to you on a more human level: from one father to another. Like many I was excited by your election for many reason. On election night 2008 my wife and I were living in Accra, Ghana, when the election was called in your favor and from our apartment we could hear taxi cabs all over Accra blaring their horns in celebration. My wife and I cried tears of joy at your election and were filled with great hope that America was turning a critical corner to becoming a more just, loving, understanding, and inclusive nation.

We moved back to the U.S. and the District in 2009, and we were excited for what the future had in store for us and our country. In late 2010, we welcomed our first of two children into our family. Then in 2011, you participated in a deal with Speaker Boehner that reminded me bluntly what it means to be an American citizen living in the District of Columbia. While trying to broker a deal to pass the federal budget you uttered the words and thereby cutting a deal that forever changed my opinion of you and our status.

When you said “John, I’ll give you D.C. abortion, but I’m not happy about it” you kicked me and many in the District in the gut. With that short sentence you used the people of District of Columbia as a bargaining chip. You didn’t treat us a people, you treated us as an object that could be used and bartered to achieve a political outcome. In 2011, you acknowledged and took advantage of the fact that despite the promise of America we are still the unfinished business of the American revolution. We in the District are not only taxed without representation but we lack final control over our own local budget and laws and are subject to continual congressional meddling in our affairs.

We cannot change the past but in your last State of the Union address you can mark a course for the future. By advocating for statehood for the people of the District of Columbia you will be making a profound statement that civil and political equality for the people of the District of Columbia is not a radical idea rather it helps fulfill the promise of America.

Mr. President, I am under no illusion that we will achieve statehood for the people of D.C. during your presidency, however, by advocating for it in the state of the union you could both educate the nation about this issue and put it on the national agenda. We, the people of the District of Columbia, are not seeking special treatment we are seeking equal treatment and what could be more American than that? I implore you, from one father to another, to speak up and speak out for all of us in the District in your State of the Union and tell the nation that my children simply deserve to be treated equally with yours.

Sincerely,

Josh Burch

District of Columbia

P.S. We would also welcome you to our home in Brookland for a ‘D.C. statehood beer summit’ to help show the nation that we are just like them.

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The 2015 Hoodie Awards

i_am_essentialred_hoodieAs 2015 comes to an end we need to give thanks and praise to a few folks who have done right by the District and the statehood cause this year and to call out those who have tried to do us wrong. Without further adieu the 2015 Statehood Awards (aka the Hoodies) go to:

Hoodies for Good-

Hoodie for Best Goddamn Thing for Statehood This Year: John Oliver. If you haven’t seen this, you should, it’s fantastic and was funny and free advocacy for D.C. statehood that has reached millions of people! 

Hoodie for Best Senate Rant: Senator McCaskill. A new cosponsor to the statehood bill this Congress, Senator McCaskill had enough of GOP hypocrisy when it comes to local judges for the District of Columbia.

 

Hoodie for Best Photo: Team Bonds. Hands down, Team Bonds, created the best photo to raise awareness about our statehood for our 2015 DC Flag Day event.

Hoodie for Best Organizing Idea: Kelli Shewmaker. In early 2015 at a planning meeting for our group Kelli brought up that we should have a DC Trivia Night to raise awareness about the cause, have fun, and recruit new people to the cause. Towards the end of 2015 we hosted two successful DC Trivia Nights at the Argonaut in Ward 6 and at Steel Plate in Ward 5 that both were huge successes. Thanks for the great idea, Kelli!

Hoodie for Best Organizing Model to Follow: Anne Anderson & Elinor Hart. Long time supporters of D.C. statehood and members of the DC League of Women Voters (LWV) Anne and Elinor have been working diligently to make statehood a cause that the local and national LWVs takes on with more vigor. By working locally and building toward a more national push this the the model we should be replicating across the District through unions, advocacy organizations, and faith based institutions that all have local chapters of national organizations. By effectively organizing locally we open up pathways to expanding our message nationwide.

Hoodie for the 4th Estate: Bridget Bowman. There is a wealth of talent among the press corps in the District but the fact that Ms. Bowman has covered District issues with such detail and vigor sets her apart. Roll Call is a publication that is widely read on the Hill and her coverage has helped keep our cause in front of members of Congress and their staff.

Hoodie for Best Speech: Justin Robinson. Just watch and see why:

Hoodie for Putting the F-U in FUN: Tim Krepp. Local historian, tour guide, former congressional candidate, and professional Tweeter (it seems) put his wit and organizing skills to good use in 2015 by leading two separate events on both the west lawn and east lawn of the U.S. Capitol. First, Mr. Krepp helped lead a group of District citizens to buck the Capitol’s ban on sledding on the Capitol’s west lawn Hill which later led to a lifting of the ban in the FY16 budget. Second, following John Oliver’s piece on D.C. statehood Mr. Krepp and others led a wonderful Sunday morning edition of Mr. Oliver’s song with children on the east lawn of the Capitol. Both were fun and well attended events that helped raise awareness about our unequal status, instill civic pride among attendees, and thumbed our noses at Congress at least for a day.

Hoodie for Elected Official: Franklin Garcia. Shadow Rep. Franklin Garcia picks up where his predecessor Nate Bennet-Fleming left off with a real and sustained push to get more cosponsors on the House statehood bill (HR 317). He has been a constant presence on the Hill bringing in new supporters to the cause and for that he deserves our thanks, praise, and a paycheck!

Hoodie for Civic Pride: Kojo Nnamdi, Tom Sherwood, & Mary Cheh. There are lots of folks with DC Flag tattoos but Kojo, Tom, and CM Cheh got their’s with such fanfare (and after so many years of talk) that it was a great to see them get inked up with the DC flag. It is also worth noting that this Hoodie should be shared with both the Kojo Nnamdi Show’s producer Michael Martinez, who for years tried to make this moment a reality, & to Nick, the 23 year old, who made the donation to make this awesomeness happen! Kudos & Hoodies to all!

 

Hoodie for Best College Op-Ed: Erin Sternleib. There are thousands of District citizens attending colleges and universities across the country and we hope they all follow the lead of Welsleyan student Erin Sternleib who educated her campus about our current status and call for equality. DC citizens penning similar columns at universities nationwide would be a huge boost for the cause. Read Erin’s Op-Ed:  http://wesleyanargus.com/2015/09/28/dc-voting-rights/

Hoodie for Best Graphic: J. Nelson Leith.

Hoodie for Best Business: CreateDC. There were a lot of businesses in the running as we’ve had continued support from the Argonaut and Steel Plate but CreateDC continues to provide us great graphic design and print work with a family discount price (when/if they actually bill us & yes owned by the author’s brother).

Hoodie for Best State: Vermont. Surely, one day we’ll be the best state but until that time Vermont, yes, Vermont has earned that distinction. Because of its natural beauty? No, because it’s the only state whose entire congressional delegation are cosponsors of the D.C. statehood bill. Can you fricking believe that? Only one state’s entire congressional delegation supports statehood, looking at you Delaware, Connecticut, and Rhode Island!

Hoodie for Best Poll Numbers:  The Washington Post released a poll that showed that 67% of District citizens want statehood which is an overwhelmingly majority and reaffirms that we the people believe statehood is our ultimate goal and democratic destiny…so let’s work our butts off to make it happen!

 

Hoodies for Bad (Boooooo to You!)-

Hoodie for Worst Pandering Grandstander: Marco Rubio. In early 2016, Senator Rubio, who had never offered such a bill in his previous years in the Senate, offered a bill to overturn portions of the District’s gun laws. Conveniently, introducing this bill boosted his rating on gun issues from the NRA. But none of this has anything to do with him running for president and needing to pander to the base of his party. Politicians don’t do things like that, right?

Hoodie for Worst Copycat Pandering Grandstander: Rand Paul. Senator Paul has a record of meddling in District affairs which is kinda hypocritical given his libertarian stances on many issues. In the fall, probably unrelated to his fast dropping presidential poll numbers, Senator Paul offered a bill to gut the District’s gun laws (yes, like Senator Rubio only later in the year). We look forward to his bill following the trajectory of his presidential campaign into obscurity.

Hoodie for Worst Colonial Overseer: Jason Chaffetz. Chairman Chaffetz threatened to have the mayor and Councilmembers arrested if they held a hearing on developing a tax and regulate system for our newly legalized marijuana. Despite over 70% of District voters voting to legalize it and despite that other (actual) states had done something similar the Chairman threatened to have our leaders arrested if they even held a hearing on regulating and taxing marijuana. Isn’t American democracy grand!

Hoodie for Worst Missed Opportunity: DC Council. While it’s abhorrent that Chairman Chaffetz threatened to arrest city leaders for simply trying to responsibly institute something overwhelmingly approved by voters it was equally disappointing that the Council backed down. Instead of holding a hearing and thus facing arrest the Council held a ‘roundtable’ on the issue in a hearing room. Not necessarily a profile in courage. The Council should have thumbed its nose at Chairman Chaffetz and held a hearing to see if he’d follow through or to see if the Justice Department would follow through (I don’t think either would have). In the best case scenario the Council would have been arrested simply for holding a hearing which could have been a powerful symbolic act demonstrating our colonial and anti-democratic status. Instead we had a roundtable and nothing changed which is the problem!

Hoodie for Presidential Lack of Leadership: The Honorable Barack H. Obama. Yes, the President deserves our scorn for failing to highlight our status and our cause, one in which he claims to support. While we do not suggest that this is something he should be the sole leader on he should say something, anything, to support our cause. He still has the bully pulpit and in one paragraph of once speech he could educate the nation about our plight and endorse our cause (hint, hint the State of the Union is coming up real soon). But to date he’s only utter “I’m in D.C., so I support it” when asked about D.C. statehood, that’s not leadership, that’s simply answering a question. Please lead on this issue Mr. President, you have one year left to do so.

Hoodie for Big-Ass Disappointments: Senate Democrats. Activists have logged many hours meeting with about twenty Democratic Senate offices in the hopes of adding them onto the statehood bill as cosponsors but to date they are more Democratic than democratic. If the Democratic Party were so inclined to support statehood for the people of D.C. you’d think the cause would have more support among its members in the U.S. Senate. There are only 19 Senate cosponsors to the D.C. statehood bill in the Senate (S. 1688) and there should be a lot more than that.

Hoodie for Even Bigger Big-Ass Disappointment: Congressional Republicans. First and foremost, congressional Republicans of late have the patent on meddling in District affairs at an alarming rate but the meddlers aren’t the majority of the Grand Old Party but the majority is the enablers which makes them equally as guilty. If the GOP believes in fairness and if they believe in the federal government staying out of local affairs then they need to start practicing what they preach and apply it to their treatment of the District of Columbia. We are not a Democratic city (yeah, I know we kinda are), we are not a liberal city (again, I know), we are an American city, an American district, filled with wonderful people who fulfill all obligations of citizenship yet are denied its most basic rights.

Hoodie for Worst Poll Numbers: While the Washington Post released an encouraging poll which showed that 67% of District citizens support D.C. statehood there also were 33% that weren’t on board. What. In. The. Hell. Is. Wrong. With. You. People?

And that’s a wrap for the 2015 Hoodie Awards! There are dozens of other great people and groups that deserve Hoodies for Good so sorry to those of you I missed. There are also dozens who deserve Hoodies for Bad so remember our memories are long but in the end our cause will prevail. The statehood cause is on the side of fairness and righteousness and we will prevail.

Now, let’s all go out and earn a Hoodie for Good in 2016!

Thank you,

Josh Burch

 

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Own the Statehood Movement

The push for equality for District citizens through statehood needs YOU to be a part of the movement. We, the people, need to own the statehood movement if we to become a state. As such here are a few ways that each and every one of us can lend a hand to the cause:

  1. Invite us to co-host a statehood Q & A or DC Trivia session at your home, work, civic group, place of worship, or alternate venue. Home by home, neighborhood by neighborhood we need to build a statehood movement through education and organizing. Email us to arrange at date: unitedforstatehood@gmail.com
  2. Email these U.S. Senate staffers right now and ask that their bosses cosponsor 1688, the New Columbia Admission Act:
  1. Ask your friends and family to email their Representatives and Senators asking that they cosponsor the statehood bills in the House (R. 317) and Senate (S. 1688) or thank them if they already have cosponsored. We need to get people in the 50 states to become our allies & advocates.

Through small but coordinated and focused acts we can continue to build support for the statehood movement to see that 51st star added to the flag. Congress and the President have the authority to make us a state but we, the people, have the power to compel them to act.

Josh Burch

Brookland, DC

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DC Trivia #2 & Statehood in the Senate

Neighbors-

DC Trivia Night #2
I’m excited to announce that we’ll host our 2nd DC Trivia Night at Steel Plate in Brookland from 8-10pm on December 9, 2015. All are welcome and encouraged to attend and participate. Like last time we’ll have guest MCs including Councilmembers David Grosso and Kenyan McDuffie, and Congresswoman Norton who will each ask questions for a couple of the rounds. This is a fun way to learn about DC’s rich history and culture and I hope you will be able to join us. Here’s the Facebook Event Page for it and please share it with your friends, family, and neighbors.
While your attendance is most important we need assistance with a few other things too that evening:
  1. We need 2-3 volunteers to help collect score sheets & help with tabulating scores in-between rounds.
  2. We would like a couple of sponsors to provide prizes for winning teams. It’d be great if a local business could help us with prizes for the 1st-4th place teams. Prizes can be either as simple as paying for a round of drinks or something else. It’s a great way to support a good cause and get your name out there! I’m willing to help with suggestions.
Senate Cosponsors
We’re making progress on the statehood front in Congress with 127 Cosponsors in the House & 18 in the Senate but we have a lot of work to do. Recently, I was on the Hill meeting with Senate offices again and had one office commit to cosponsoring the bill (though not officially on it yet) but there are still others who I believe will get on the bill with just a bit more pressure from us and their constituents. Every staffer I met with said these emails count as they use them to make the case that people are asking for Senators to support statehood. Thus if you have friends and family in Minnesota, Connecticut, Oregon, Michigan, and New Mexico please let me know and I’ll give you a brief summary as to why each Senator should join the bill that you can share with others. Or feel free to email them directly:
As Frederick Douglass said “power concedes nothing without a demand” so let’s demand equality via statehood from the above listed Senators and keep building support for our cause.
Keep well and see you on December 9th at Steel Plate!
Josh
Brookland, DC
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