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Statement by In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda President & CEO Marcela Howell
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill granting statehood to Washington, D.C. (H.R. 51). In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda President and CEO Marcela Howell issued the following statement:
“All those living in our nation’s capital deserve full representation in Congress, as well as to be able to fully participate in the democratic process around deciding how education, housing, health care, policing and other issues affecting their families and community are handled at the federal and local level, just as those living in other states do. With Black people representing almost over 45% of D.C. residents, entrenched racism has long stood in the way of D.C. statehood.
“Without statehood, D.C. residents will continue to be relegated to second-class status. More than words, Congressional control over D.C. has consistently been used to attack the rights of the city’s residents, especially Black women and our families. From unsuccessful attempts to pass a death penalty law to successfully blocking the District from funding abortion, the will of District voters is repeatedly overturned by members of Congress eager to score points with their constituents at home.
“When D.C. is a state, residents will finally have voting representation in Congress. More importantly, the city will be freed from its overseers and finally have the autonomy to implement and enforce policies and laws that protect and promote equality and justice.”