WASHINGTON (January 27, 2021)—The U.S. Senate has followed the House in introducing legislation to make Washington, D.C. the 51st state. It would be called Washington, Douglass Commonwealth to honor the abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who lived in the city. The bill is a long-overdue expansion of the democratic process for D.C. residents, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
Below is a statement by Taofik Oladipo, policy advocate for the Center for Science and Democracy at UCS.
“Everyone deserves the right to participate in government and have a say in the laws that they live under. Unfortunately, this basic right has long been denied to residents of Washington, D.C. More than 700,000 people live in Washington D.C. under laws and policies set by a Congress in which they have no representation. That’s a violation of the fundamental meaning of democracy—and one that reinforces racial inequity, since nearly half the population of D.C. are Black.
“We can’t solve the pressing problems we face if some of us are arbitrarily excluded from the democratic process. It’s long past time to give Washington, D.C. residents the same rights and the same ability to participate in our government that the rest of the country enjoys. We urge the House and Senate to pass the Washington, D.C. Admission Act and grant statehood to the people of our nation’s capital.”