Dear Mr. President

2015-01-11 10.38.11January 4, 2015

The Honorable Barack H. Obama,

Mr. President, over the last several years I have written you with a simple request but one that might be the most important thing you could do for my family and my city during your presidency. I ask that you speak out in support of D.C. statehood in your upcoming State of the Union Speech. I was heartened to hear you last year fully endorse D.C. statehood while at an event in the District. Most people outside the District are not aware of your words of support for this cause nor are they aware of our unequal status within the American union. I ask that you advocate for D.C. statehood to help of educate the nation that my family deserves to be treated equally with yours and theirs.

Since your last State of the Union we have welcomed a second child into our family and I still have no clue how I’ll explain to them why they won’t be treated equally with our friends and neighbors in the 50 states. How will I explain to them a democratic nation continues to disenfranchise the citizens of its capital based on the political realities of over 200 years ago? And how can I tell them that their country believes in justice and equality for all yet turns a blind eye toward equality for people in the neighborhoods that surround the U.S. Capitol and the White House?

Despite our unjust status I will tell my children to believe in America because I still do. We began as an imperfect nation with an imperfect democracy and we have gotten better with time. African-Americas were once enslaved, disenfranchised, and treated unequally before the law and our country through struggle, strain, and courage has worked to remedy those injustices. We have done the same to ensure women the right to vote, the right to vote of those over 18, and thirty-seven times since our nation’s founding we have added states to the union and stars to our flag. Our country over the last 230+ years has become more democratic not less and now we need you to take a stand to help make American democracy inclusive for the 660,000 citizens who make the District of Columbia our home.

Mr. President, from one person who believes in the promise of our country to another, from one dad to another, I ask that you speak out and speak up for D.C. statehood in your upcoming State of the Union. Let the nation know that we in the District fulfill all obligations of citizenship yet are denied some of its most basic rights: the right to full and equal congressional representation and the right to be the final arbiters of our local affairs. Let the nation know that statehood for the people of D.C. is the simplest and only permanent way to ensure that we are treated equally with the people of the 50 states. And Mr. President, let the American people know that statehood for the people of D.C. is not about special treatment it’s about fair treatment and what could be more American than that?


Josh Burch

Brookland, District of Columbia

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1 Response to Dear Mr. President

  1. Nan Raphael says:

    To add to that, not only do we pay Federal Taxes, we are asked to put our lives on hold and serve on juries for the US District Court. Why don’t they get their jurors from Md and Va? This is a responsibility and with that should come the rights.

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