For more than 200 years the people of our nation’s capital have been denied their basic civil rights. Today the 675,000 loyal American citizens residing in the District of Columbia have no voting representation in either the House of Representatives or the United States Senate. In addition, they have limited home rule, lacking control of their local finances and legal system.
In order to regain the rights take from them in 1801, District residents voted to become the state of New Columbia in 1982. Today there is legislation in both the United States Senate and the House or Representatives which would make DC the 51st state. If passed and signed by the President, this legislation would finally make the residents of our nation’s capital equal citizens.
The preamble to the Constitution starts: “we the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union …” and since the country’s inception, citizens have worked to expand the rights of individuals and form a more “perfect union” of states. Among the rights they have fought to secure is the right to representation. African Americans, women, Native Americans and others did not have this right when the country was founded and these groups struggled for many years to get the vote.
The struggle for equality and civil rights continues today. Gay rights, equal pay for equal work, equal access to government and education are just a few of the civil rights issues which are part of today’s national political agenda. The battle for civil right goes on in an effort to make America more inclusive, more equal and to secure the rights that Thomas Jefferson said were unalienable and given to us by our creator.
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