There are many good components in Councilmember Vincent Orange’s resolution to promote the statehood cause through a multi-media campaign and a petition drive. The name (D.C. Statehood Or Else) should be tabled and but the basic premise should be preserved, nurtured, and developed into something meaningful, impactful, and inspiring. Instead of a multi-media campaign for a petition drive let’s have a similar campaign for a march, rally, and storming of the Capitol for D.C. statehood on April 15, 2016 (peaceably & non-violently of course).
In April 2016, the nation will be in the middle of presidential primary campaigns and as usual both D.C. Emancipation Day and Tax Day will be back to back on the 15th and 16th. With all three events occurring we in the District should use the 15th of April to hold a large march, rally, and advocacy event on the Hill to push for action on the statehood bill in the House and the Senate (yes, I know who controls Congress & I know they care not a lick about us). While delivering petitions would be significant what if we flooded the Halls of Congress with tens of thousands of District residents peaceably demanding action on the statehood bills before Congress. We could potentially shut the House and Senate office buildings down by simply having too many District residents showing up to seek equality in American democracy. Have the House or Senate office buildings ever been shut down for having too many people advocating for a cause, if not, why not us?
The day could begin with a pre-march rally in Freedom Plaza to both educate the audience on the significance of D.C. Emancipation Day and importance of the statehood struggle as a signature piece in creating a more democratic and thus more perfect union. The rally would focus on honoring our past and reaffirming our push for the future. From Freedom Plaza we would march down Pennsylvania Ave. holding our 1040 tax forms in our hands showing the nation that we pay taxes too ($1.7 billion in federal income taxes & $25 billion in contributions to gross federal revenue) yet we lack representation like those in the 50 states. A rally at the steps of the Capitol which would be get people excited and prepared to walk the Hall of Congress. Participants would then break-up and flood the House and Senate office buildings with statehood supporters still holding our 1040s showing offices we pay our taxes thus it’s time to guarantee us representation. We would go to each office of those not openly supporting statehood and make the case for why they should pledge their support for the statehood bills and go to the offices of open supporters to offer our thanks. A select group would head to the offices of House and Senate leaders to demand that action be taken on the statehood bills.
In the midst of a presidential campaign if we should aim organize 100,000 people (1/6 of the District’s population) for this rally, march, and storming of the Hill we could make national news. We could show the nation that the District cares about statehood. We could show the nation that we can peaceably and legally shut down the Capitol if we so choose until their representatives take the initiative to make us whole and equal citizens as the 51st state in the union. We could do the most America thing of all during the heart of a presidential campaign, on tax day, and in honor of D.C. Emancipation Day: we could peaceably but forcefully exercise our right to petition our government to treat us fairly and equally.
President Lincoln chose to free enslaved African-Americans in the District of Columbia before freeing those in other states because he realized there was something unholy, unjust, and un-American going on in the neighborhoods that surrounded the White House and the Capitol. During a presidential campaign with Tax Day and D.C. Emancipation Day being back to back it’s time that District residents stand up for ourselves, march for ourselves, and advocate for ourselves to let the nation know that something unholy, unjust, and un-America is still imposed on the people of the District of Columbia and only statehood can set us free.
I’m ready to rally, march, and advocate for D.C. statehood on April 15th, 2016, how about you?
A future post will delve into how we get 100,000 people to join this event. It can be done. If we want to be a state it must be done.