We are the citizens of the District of Columbia, and on Flag Day 2013, we want to say clearly that we deserve statehood. We are your fellow Americans, your neighbors, your brothers and sisters, your fathers and mothers, your long-lost cousins, and the people who help you with directions when you’re lost on the subway while visiting Washington, DC with your family. You may never know us by name, but we are just like you. We live in single family homes, row houses, and apartments. We work in the private sector, the public sector, and for non-profits trying to do good for our community and our country. We enjoy life and we overcome life’s challenges. We believe in the promise of America; we believe that we all are created equal; we believe in rule of law; and we believe in a government of, for, and by the people.
Our government, however, repeatedly tells and shows us that it has no place for us. We pay federal taxes but have no say on how that money is spent. We send our children off to war yet are denied representation to vote on issues of war or peace. Rather, those whom we do not elect to the House and Senate can override the most basic decisions of our own locally elected officials. We fulfill all of the obligations of American citizenship yet we are denied its most basic tenet. We know that the great American democratic experiment cannot be complete until the people who live in the shadows of the U.S. Capitol are granted full and equal representation within it.
Today, on Flag Day 2013, we the citizens of the District of Columbia are holding our flag up proudly to send a message to our family, friends, and neighbors in the 50 states. We need your help and your voice to speak up and speak out in support of statehood for the residential and commercial portions of the District of Columbia. The Constitution sets an upper limit on the size of the federal district, but no lower; thus DC statehood is indeed valid under the Constitution. There is presently a statehood bill in both the House (HR 292) and the Senate (S 132). We ask you to show your support for DC statehood by contacting your members of the House and Senate today to tell them that the citizens of the District of Columbia deserve to be a state because:
- The District of Columbia is the only political and geographical entity within the United States of America whose citizens bear the responsibilities of citizenship, including taxation and Selective Service registration, without sharing in the full rights and privileges of citizenship.
- Over 192,000 citizens of the District have fought in our armed forces in service to our nation in every war and foreign conflict.
- In Fiscal Year 2012, District residents and businesses paid $20.7 billion in federal taxes; more than the taxes collected from 19 states and the highest federal taxes per capita.
- The District balanced its budget every year since Fiscal Year 1997 yet Congress and the President have restricted the District from spending local tax dollars as our elected Council and Mayor have directed.
- The District government receives less federal funds as a percentage of its budget than Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, and North Dakota, and is on par with Alabama, Montana, Vermont, and West Virginia.
- The District has a population of more than 632,000 people, which is a larger population than Wyoming and Vermont.
- The Congress has final approval on all District laws, unlike any other jurisdiction in the country.
- District residents are subject to all of the laws of the United States, as well as treaties made with foreign governments, without ever having consented through Congressional representation to such laws.
- Congress can repeal the Home Rule Act of 1973 and our limited self-governance, but cannot redefine or repeal Statehood.
- In the only public referendum on the issue in 1980, over 60% of District citizens voted in favor of statehood.
- Statehood is the only way to grant and guarantee the citizens of the District irrevocable and inalienable rights to full citizenship.
The citizens of the District of Columbia deserve respect, we deserve equality, and we deserve statehood. Please join with us on Flag Day and every day to stand up for statehood for the citizens of the District of Columbia. We love our flag and we deserve to be the 51st star on the American Flag.
Neighbors United for DC Statehood