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Why Lessons From Black History Demand That D.C. Becomes The 51st State

Laura Williamson
Ericka Taylor

Washington's history is Black history — and D.C. statehood is its future.

Thanks to Black leadership of a robust movement for statehood, last year, for the first time ever, a bill for D.C. statehood passed a full chamber of Congress. Only a few weeks into the 117th Congress, both the House and the Senate have re-introduced bills for D.C. statehood — H.R.51 and S.51, respectively — and a majority of members of Congress support sending the legislation to President Biden’s desk.

But D.C. statehood is not a foregone conclusion. The forces of white supremacy are as well-versed in democratic exclusion as ever, even as resistance by Black communities has forced them to adjust their tactics. Today, they are again mobilizing one of their favorite tools of racist obstruction — the filibuster — to block D.C. statehood.

Black Washingtonians have fought for centuries for full democracy in D.C. Now, it is Congress’ turn. Democrats in the Senate must heed the mandate that Black and brown voters across the country, and especially in Georgia, created when they gave them the majority: abolish the filibuster and pass D.C. statehood now.