Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), following a series of House floor speeches this week demanding statehood for the residents of the District of Columbia, today called on D.C. residents to continue the fight for statehood. She said she was pleased that statehood and voting rights advocates would be using the posters she used on the House floor as she spoke on social media and distributing them with their own materials throughout the city for tourists and residents. Norton's posters each made a different compelling case for D.C. statehood by pointing up how D.C., where residents have all the obligations of citizenship, compares with the 50 states. Unlike D.C., however, states have votes in the House and Senate, and no interference from the Congress in their local matters.
"My remarks for D.C. statehood on the House floor this week were not intended as a one-time demand to Congress to cease the multiple instances of inequality and injustice the District uniquely faces," said Norton. "My hope is that this week's statehood series will increase knowledge and consciousness of the District's inferior status by members of the House and Senate, as well as by the American people. As more members of the public -- around the country, visitors to the District and D.C. residents themselves -- fully grasp the deliberate limitations on our rights as American citizens, the momentum for our demand for equal citizenship will build."
In her remarks on Thursday, Norton asked Congress to, "Grant statehood to the District of Columbia in the name of those who died in the nation's wars, in the name of living veterans who are among the nearly 650,000 residents of the District, and in the name of District residents who pay $12,000 per capita in federal income taxes, more than the per capita amount of any other state, to support the United States of America without equal rights to other Americans." She focused on the recently released United Nations Human Rights Committee report criticizing the U.S. government's human rights compliance record and calling on the U.S. to grant equal congressional voting rights in the House and Senate to the residents of the District. "The United States government is in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a treaty our country ratified in 1992," said Norton. Norton also made additional points using a chart showing, for the first time, the actual amount -- almost $12,000 per capita -- that D.C. residents pay in federal taxes, more than individuals in any state. She also used a chart showing that D.C., with almost 650,000 residents, has a higher population than Wyoming and Vermont, and is growing at a rate of 2.5% compared with a rate of 0.7% for the U.S overall.
Norton chose this week, prior to D.C. Emancipation Day, April 16, for her statehood speeches and poster displays because Congress will be on recess next week. D.C. Emancipation Day commemorates April 16, 1862, when President Abraham Lincoln freed 3,100 enslaved African Americans in the District.