August 6, 1965

On August 6, 1965, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law. On this day 47 years ago, our nation once again committed itself to the expansion and protection of the right for all American citizens to have an equal right to vote and to be represented. The convening of “heavy hitters” like Lyndon Johnson, Ralph Abernathy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr to sign this act is just a small example of the sacrifice made to expand voting rights and America’s ability to successfully do it over and over again.

The DC Statehood Student Association is poised to see a moment like this happen again. 47 years after civil rights leaders  and an American President stood together to reaffirmed our commitment to equality, a new generation has inherited that spirit.

Americans living in our nation’s capital still are denied voting representation in both houses of congress, control over its local laws and all the rights reserved in our constitution for those “of the many states”. It is time for us to continue the work of closing the gap of inequality and making government work for all Americans. It is time for us to gain full democracy and statehood for over 620,000 disenfranchised Americans.

Make it known today that America’s work is unfinished when it comes to ensuring the unrestricted opportunity to elect our leaders. Make it known that change still needs to be made in our nation’s capital.

Stand with DCSSA by passing this message along to one friend and asking them to join our cause

Also, share the image below on Twitter and Facebook, spreading this important message to family and friends.

What’s In a Name?

The DC Statehood Student Association is beginning to build a movement…

…and every movement needs a brand. Much of our team in DC have spent the last few weeks brainstorming how to create a new brand for the Statehood push and its student involvement.

“The DC Statehood Student Association” is straight forward: it establishes our purpose and our audience and makes our message clear. But does it create a brand? Does it establish the type of familiarity and call to action we need to spur a movement?

The real question is should the name of the DC Statehood Student Association be changed?

We want you, the supporters of this organization and those most committed to our cause to decide. Names such as “Capitol Offense” and “Democracy Denied” have been suggested — you can vote for these options — or you can suggest your own (and encourage your friends to write it in too!). If you like our name as is, vote to keep our name the same!

Remember, we are trying to create an BRAND; something original, distinct, identifiable and engaging. This is a new step for the DC Statehood Student Association!

VOTE NOW

Voting closes 11:59, July 20, 2012

Building a Movement: DCSSA Turns One

On June 1, 2011, we established an organization that sought to give new life to the movement for equality and democracy here in our nation’s capital. We didn’t quite know how we were going to do it at the time but the DC Statehood Student Association is now a functioning organization on its way to making positive change and achieiving goals unthought of.

Over the past year, we discussed with you our vision, planned diligently and executed successfully. Moving into our second year, we are prepared to redouble our efforts and make tremendous moves towards future succcess.

The theme for this summer is “Building a Movement”. Our target base (students) are now spread across the country, but we know our efforts don’t slow down when classes end. We have an important and never-ending mission to accomplish and we will be spreading our message and gaining new support any way we can. Our “Building the Movement, Summer 2012” campaign will include:

  • “Doubling the Numbers” on Social Media: We will work to lead a more aggressive social media campaign to spread our message and gain new membership over the course of the summer. We will update you often and find new ways for you to include your friends in the discussion on our website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media tools we will begin utilizing over the summer.
  • Putting Support in Black and White: There are community leaders across the country who have said they support our fight for Statehood and equality in the District of Columbia. It’s now time to make it known. We will contact leaders from across the country on the community, local, municipal, state and federal levels and ask them to add their names to a list of supporters that we will post on our website. This will show the nation once and for all that this issue isn’t a D.C. issue but that it’s a democracy issue.
  • Keeping You Connected: You may be here in Washington, vacationing, studying abroad, interning or lounging at home anywhere around the world, but we want you to stay in tune to what we are doing. We will have national conference calls throughout the summer to talk about the progress of the movement, the growth of the organization and our future plans. We also will connect you with people who are on the front lines of this fight to hear from them directly the importance of insuring democracy for all Americans.
  • Preparing for Growth:We know we have a job to do in the fall, and we are going to spend time over the summer to make sure we do it flawlessly. We have events to host, chapters to build and materials to produce. Our team here in Washington will be working almost daily to make sure we are prepared for our second year on college campuses.

How do we get it done? We need you!

If you would like to be a part of the DCSSA team, contact us at DCStatehoodStudents@gmail.com! We can’t wait to utilize your talents and passion for equality.

Thank you for an awesome first year and we are fully prepared, with your help, to move forward faster than ever!

The Arizona Republic: Franks Forces a Little Bit of Arizona on Folks in D.C.

by E. J. Montini, columnist – Jun. 1, 2012

You can take the zealot out of Arizona, but you can’t take the Arizona out of the zealot.

Just ask the good folks of Washington, D.C., who can’t figure out why an obscure congressman from 2,000 miles away wants to tell them how to live their lives.

Trent Franks, the longtime representative of Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District, is pushing legislation that would ban abortions in the district after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

This puzzles the people of Washington, who did not elect Franks to anything and don’t even know him.

It is less puzzling to readers of The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com, where I posted a blog on Franks’ crusade earlier this week.

Reader Barry Williams wrote, “It is a bad situation for the District of Columbia when a politician from Arizona decides anything for the people who live there. Franks comes from a state which wishes to seize federal lands, start its own militia, and repeatedly joust with the windmill of the President’s birth certificate. Franks is a congressman from a state that has proven itself to be politically dysfunctional. Now he is carrying Arizona’s political dysfunction across the country and trying to impose his will on people who didn’t vote for him and whom he really cares little about.”

Reader Margret Louk added, “According to the report I read, he refused to allow the non-voting delegate to even testify to what her constituents want. Since this country was founded on no taxation without representation, and the people of the District of Columbia pay a lot of money in taxes, it would seem this is a major problem.”

Not to Rep. Franks.

In 1987 he was appointed by then-Gov. Evan Mecham (who was later impeached and removed from office) to head the Governor’s Office for Children. At the time, Franks was a one-term state legislator who had lost a bid for re-election and was known almost exclusively as a one-note, anti-abortion politician. He made news not long after his appointment by referring to Planned Parenthood as an organization that was “murdering children for profit.”

Not long after that, Franks got upset when The Arizona Republic, in an editorial, referred to him as “the quintessential single-issue politician.”

But here he is, 25 years later …

Some residents of D.C. have staged protests at the Arizona congressman’s office, sarcastically wondering if Franks is also interested in repairing potholes or dealing with sewage issues in the district.

Those are local issues. Franks claims to believe in local control. So how does a politician who rails against big government justify imposing his personal agenda on people who didn’t elect him?

I contacted Franks’ office about this. A spokesman sent me a statement from the congressman that reads in part:

“Congress has the seminal and incontrovertible responsibility for making legislative policy in the District of Columbia. Those who pretend to question that are in fact trying to direct attention away from the true purpose of this bill, which is to help prevent unborn children beginning at the sixth month of pregnancy and beyond from being subject to the agonizing process of being aborted.

“If Congress does not pass this law, DC could become a safe-haven for late-term abortionists across the country, including those who have been stripped of their licenses for negligence or ethics violations in the states. Many states have passed this bill already, and I believe that most states will pass it in the near future, including my state, Arizona.

“Medical science proves that the unborn feel pain by at least 20 weeks and perhaps much earlier. There is no disagreement in the medical community as to this point. My office can furnish much incontrovertible research to support this finding.”

Franks’ blustery statement is a roundabout way of avoiding the fact that he is intruding in a local jurisdiction’s affairs, using his position to dictate to people who didn’t elect him and proving, as our state does over and over again, that you can take the zealot out of Arizona, but …

Reach Montini at 602-444-8978 or ed.montini@arizonarepublic.com.

Groundbreaking Musician, Godfather of Go-Go and Statehood Activist, Chuck Brown 1936-2012

Today, residents across the city are convening on the historic Howard Theater to pay their last respects to a pioneer in musicianship and the originator of the “D.C. sound”, Chuck Brown, who died on May 16, 2012 at the age of 75. Today’s public viewing is just the beginning of a long string of events that will take place to commemorate the much-loved “Godfather of Go-Go” who moved crowds for three generations.

Chuck Brown is the undisputed sole founder and creator Go-Go music, a hypnotically danceable genre deeply rooted in funk and soul that he developed in the early 70’s , and  the only form of expressive culture  to originate in the District of Columbia.  Foreshadowing rap and many of the major popular R&B styles of the past three decades, Chuck’s signature style earned him a place in American musical royalty.  This esteem was maintained by the reputation of his legendary live shows, heavy on audience participation and built around “the beat” to create an unparalleled non-stop party atmosphere.

While searching for a sound to call his own in the 1960s, Chuck was deeply inspired by artists like James Brown.  He latched onto the Latin percussion groove from the band he played with at the time, Los Latinos.  Combining this with his roots, his love of blues, jazz, gospel, soul, and African rhythms, Chuck began to develop his own unique sound.   Starting out playing top forty, Brown would break-it-down between songs with percussion and audience call and response, and keep the music going, and the dance floor packed.

Though he was not born in Washington, Chuck Brown is as much of a D.C. native as anyone else. Not only did he share his talents and his music that helped to give Washington its own culture, he joined Washington residents in fighting for the democracy that all Americans deserve. Full and equal representation and participation.

Chuck Brown was not shy to activism. He was a regular performer at annual D.C. Statehood teach-ins and joined other activists at events to raise money to go towards the movement.

We at the DC Statehood Student Association are mourning the loss of our Godfather as we acknowledge and celebrate his contributions to Washington and to the Statehood movement.

Below is Chuck performing at a DC Statehood Teach-In on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in May of last year

ACTION ALERT: “Mayor” Franks’ War on DC Home Rule and DC Women

Let’s join our friends at DC Vote for this important event!

Date:     Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Location:     2435 Rayburn Office Building Washington. DC
Time:     12:00 PM

Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ) has decided he wants to play a big role in local DC affairs. Right now he is pushing for H.R. 3803, a bill that would ban almost all abortions JUST in Washington, DC after 20 weeks of pregnancy. He held a hearing on the bill Thursday, May 17th and banned our only representative in Congress, non-voting Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, from even testifying at the hearing!

Read more about the conflict

If “Mayor” Franks is so eager to interfere in our community, let’s drop by his office to tell him what really needs fixing.

Come out to “Mayor” Franks’ DC Constituent Services Day at 12 noon on Wednesday May 23. So far, we are planning to let him know about:

-pot holes -broken street lights -broken traffic lights -issues with street signs -problems with trash/recycling pick-up -permit issues -problems with car registration -the need for bike lanes -any other problems you think the “Mayor” should worry about

Email rsvp@dcvote.org to RSVP for this event or call 202-462-6000 ext. 21

Bring pictures please. Props and creativity are HIGHLY encouraged.

We’ll be meeting outside of the Rayburn building in the horseshoe by S. Capitol st SE entrance, and then proceeding to his office en masse.

We look forward to seeing you!

DCSSA in the Congressional Record for “Last Colony” Efforts

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)

“They exemplify the time-honored tradition of using civil disobedience to combat injustice, and remind us that the District’s great struggle for democracy is expanding and will continue until freedom and equality come to the District of Columbia.”

These were the final words entered into the Congressional Record by Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) on Monday, May 7th, recognizing the DC Statehood Student Association for our efforts in the fight for democracy in the District of Columbia.

The Delegate told the Congress about the “Last Colony” March and Rally on April 18th, mentioning each of the students who were arrested by name and recognizing the students for their efforts and commitment to democracy.

Read the full record entry