Right now, the hundreds of thousands of people living in the District of Columbia are being denied congressional representation. And this denial is no accident. D.C’s status as a district and its lack of voting power and representation is deeply rooted in racism. After the Civil War, white men in power didn’t want Black men to build power for Black communities by voting, so D.C.—a place where the majority of the residents are people of color—became too much of a threat in their eyes. So Congress stripped D.C. of its ability to self-govern.

The District’s residents couldn’t participate in presidential elections at all until the 23rd Amendment was ratified in 1961, just 60 years ago! And it took until 1970 for Congress to give D.C. a delegate in the House of Representatives, but this person doesn’t have the ability to vote on legislation. Now, in 2021, residents still can’t control their own laws or their budgets through the local representatives that they elect.

We can change all of this by making Washington, D.C. the 51st state. It would finally give D.C. long overdue representation in the halls of Congress, allow its residents to self-govern, and begin to unravel the harmful, racist laws of our country’s past and present.

I’m urging my senators to support making D.C. a state as soon as possible.


—Dennis Hester,
Imlay City