As a non-voting delegate, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton has represented the District of Columbia for 30 years. In that time, Norton has been steadfast in her fight for D.C.’s statehood.
Speaking before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform during Monday’s hearing on “H.R. 51: Making D.C. the 51st State,” Norton set out some facts about what D.C. statehood actually means.
A longtime civil rights activist and former SNCC organizer, Norton says that congress continues to deny D.C. residents full participation in the democratic process. Norton also used her opening remarks to share her personal story.
Norton said her great-grandfather was a slave on a plantation in Virginia and once walked to D.C. “Today it is my great honor to serve in a city where my father’s family has lived without equal representation for almost two centuries,” she said.
Introduced in late January, House Resolution 51, the Washington, D.C. State Admission Act, would grant the district admission as the 51st state. The name would be changed to Washington, Douglass Commonwealth after Frederick Douglass. The proposed legislation would also use 66 of the 68 square miles of the federal district according to Norton.
Proponents of the legislation argue that making D.C. a state would give residents equal say in matters impacting the federal government through the election of two U.S. Senators and voting members of the House of Representatives.
While D.C. has been heavily gentrified over the last 20 years, Black people still make up 46 percent of the population, giving a weighted meaning to the district’s mantra, “taxation without representation.”
Representing the fourth ward in D.C. councilperson Janeese Lewis Georgia called D.C. statehood a matter of full equality for people who are born and raised in D.C., and those who choose to remain.
Advocates pointed to D.C.’s population, noting it is larger than Wyoming and Vermont and has a larger percentage of Black residents. D.C. has over 700,000 residents compared to only 578,000 people in Wyoming. During the hearing, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser cited a loss of $755 million in COVID-19 funding that the city would have otherwise had access to if it were a state.
D.C. residents also pay a higher federal tax per capita than residents in the states, but operates on a larger budget than at least 12 states. Currently, without state representation, Congress votes on and makes a large number of decisions relating to how the city operates.
The Jan. 6 Capitol riots brought up an important topic regarding Mayor Bowser’s authority to call on the national guard. As it stands, only the president and-or the army chain of command can activate the national guard.
“Washington, D.C., has been a true partner to the federal government in every possible aspect, even though Congress and the presidents have been sporadic partners to us,” Bowser said during Monday’s testimony.
During the hearing Norton said HR 51 was introduced with 202 co-sponsors, and currently has 215 co-sponsors. A companion bill in the Senate, Resolution 51, was introduced with 38 original co-sponsors and is now up to 41 co-sponsors.
Speaking during the hearing, Rep. Danny Davis called out opposition talking points as being “intellectually dishonest.”
Norton says Congress can either continue to exert authority over American citizens, “Or it can live up to this nation’s promise and ideals, end taxation without representation and pass H.R. 51.”
“The enfranchisement of 712,000 D.C. residents is a top priority for the Oversight and Reform Committee,” Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney said in a statement to CBS News. Maloney called the matter an issue of civil rights. “After years of stagnation, we are witnessing a real and sustained momentum behind D.C. Statehood.”
Violent White Folks Who Were Taken Into Custody With Loving Care By Police
1. Robert Aaron Long, suspect in Asian massage parlor killing spree in GASource:Crisp County Sheriff's Office 1 of 29
2. Duke Webb, bowling alley gunman in Rockford, IllinoisSource:Winnebago County Sheriff's Office 2 of 29
3. Car Drives Into Group Of Protesters In New YorkSource:Getty 3 of 29
4. Brad Parscale, demoted former Trump campaign managerSource:Getty 4 of 29
5. Brett HankisonSource:Shelby County Sheriff's Department 5 of 29
6. Thomas Kinworthy accused of killing Black cop, shooting another6 of 29
7. Dalton Potter allegedly shot a cop and another man
7 of 29
BLUE ALERT issued for Dalton Potter, age 29. Potter is suspected of shooting a Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office deputy overnight. Last known to be on foot on Interstate 75 at the Whitfield/Gordon County line. Potter is considered armed and dangerous. Call 911. #BlueAlert pic.twitter.com/Vdyl8ReGaW— GA Bureau of Investigation (@GBI_GA) September 7, 2020
8. White suspect physically attacking officer
8 of 29
Interesting.— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) August 30, 2020
Thinking about Jacob Blake right now. Sure seems like white people get the benefit of the doubt when engaged with the police... pic.twitter.com/kLh9iCJepp
9. Kyle Rittenhouse, Kenosha Jacob Blake shooterSource:Twitter 9 of 29
10. White supremacist who beat a woman on video
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Nicholas Arnold Schock, 36, of Wauchula was arrested and charged with battery and disturbing the peace and bail was set at $620. He remains at the Sarasota County Jail. pic.twitter.com/ggDBjAxCN1— Carlos R. Munoz 📰 (@ReadCarlos) August 2, 2020
11. West Hollywood shooter11 of 29
12. Gregory and Travis McMichaelsSource:Glynn County Sheriff's Office 12 of 29
13. Anthony J. Trifiletti, shot an unarmed Black manSource:Saint Paul Police Department 13 of 29
14. Matthew Bernard, Killed Three People14 of 29
15.15 of 29
16. Mark Boisey16 of 29
17. Lorne BrownSource:NBC Miami 17 of 29
18. Patrick Crusius, El Paso Mall Mass Shooting Suspect
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Patrick Crusius allegedly wrote a racist manifesto before killing at least 18 people in Saturday's shooting at Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso. The suspect, a white male, was safely taken into custody.— NewsOne (@newsone) August 3, 2019
This is America. #Walmartshooting #ElPasoShootinghttps://t.co/cjYzJZsCXn
19. Aaron DeanSource:Tarrant County Jail 19 of 29
20. Amber Guyger20 of 29
21. James Holmes
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Today on #CrimeStories: Prosecutors have released video of #Aurora shooter #JamesHolmes’ interviews w/ a psychiatrist. Tune in now on @SiriusXM ch. 111 for insight on the evaluation of his sanity in the #Colorado theater massacre. #NancyGrace #CrimeAlert #CrimeOnline #MassKiller pic.twitter.com/DKRD2s0ay8— Crime Online (@crimeonlinenews) February 26, 2019
22. Michael Mattioli22 of 29
23. Dylann RoofSource:Getty 23 of 29
24. Matthew Sloan Punched And Spit On Police...
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Again, if Matthew Sloan was a Black man this would be a much different story. https://t.co/K4cwb6SQ38— NewsOne (@newsone) July 12, 2019
25. Assaulted Police And Even Chased Them...
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This man never complied— Gambling Refund 💵™ (@OffshoreRefund) May 14, 2019
This man actually hit police multiple times
This man chased police and made them fear for safety
This man was not killed!
Pamela Turner was murdered and pregnant, she was never given the same opportunity. WHY? @KingJamespic.twitter.com/DfzdICbOy8
26. Shot At Police At Trump Tower...26 of 29
27. Shot At Police At Walmart -- And Was Let Go...27 of 29
28. Man Holds Black Man At Gunpoint And He Is Calmly Arrested...
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Downtown CHARLOTTESVILLE right now. F*ing white trash has a black man submitted first with a knife around his neck, then makes him kneel still threatening to stab him.— ℕ𝕠𝕥 𝕓𝕚𝕡𝕠𝕝𝕒𝕣 𝕥𝕠𝕕𝕒𝕪 (@tomorrowtambien) December 28, 2018
Please, Twitter do your thing in the name of justice #resist @washingtonpost @MSNBC pic.twitter.com/klg7g5ac22
29. Grady Wayne Wilkes29 of 29
The Fight For D.C. Statehood Is A 21st Century Civil Rights Issue was originally published on newsone.com