An Analysis of D.C. Statehood and S. 51: Navigating Pathways for Achieving Autonomy, Equity, and Representation for D.C. Residents
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D.C. residents contribute significantly to the American economy, maintain the same civic responsibilities that other American citizens have, and outnumber residents in states with votes in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, yet they continue to be denied both representation in Congress and autonomy over their local affairs. Despite meeting, and in many cases exceeding, the historically applied thresholds for statehood, D.C. remains without congressional representation, equity, and admission into the Union. The lack of representation and local governmental control for D.C. affects all of its over 700,000 residents, but the Black community bears a particular brunt. Given the history of D.C. as a historically Black city and the current population being majority- minority, District residents' disenfranchisement is inextricably linked with the oppression of Black people in America. This paper explores the history and background of D.C. statehood movements, beginning in 1801 through today, providing context to the legislative and political analysis of present-day policy solutions. This memorandum, written to Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), ultimately concludes that support for D.C. statehood is not only politically advantageous for Sen. Sinema, but a long-overdue policy solution to the inequity and lack of representation and autonomy D.C. residents have too long been subjected to.