While residents of Washington, D.C. pay federal taxes, serve in the military and on juries, and contribute to the national economy, this city in which Black Americans make up the largest racial group (41% White, 11% LatinX, 4% Asian) has zero representation or voting power.
This lack of representation creates a wider disenfranchisement of Black Americans. If D.C. were made into the 51st state, it would be the only plurality-Black state in the country.
Given the racist repression of Black voters happening across the country, the resistance to allowing the District of Columbia into the Union has always been one borne out of racism.
Wyoming and Vermont, both of which are less populous than D.C. and more than 90% white, get two U.S. Senators and one Representative. But D.C. which is 47% Black, doesn’t have a single voting member in either chamber of Congress.
D.C. has 712,000 residents, more than Vermont and Wyoming and comparable with other states including Delaware, Alaska, and several others. Despite these numbers and the fact that D.C. residents pay the highest per-capita federal income taxes in the country, the District was denied $755 million in emergency funds under the CARES Act — the amount provided to the least populous state through the Coronavirus Relief Fund.
More than 86% of District voters approved a resolution in support of D.C. statehood in 2016. It’s time to listen to the people and make Washington, D.C. the 51st state.