51 for 51 Leads Over 100 Groups in Asking Chairman Peters for Historic D.C. Statehood Hearing

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May 12, 2021


51 for 51 Leads Over 100 Groups in Asking Chairman Peters for Historic D.C. Statehood Hearing

Washington, D.C. — Today, 51 for 51 announced a letter signed by over 100 grassroots and advocacy groups calling on Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Gary Peters to hold a hearing on S. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act. 51 for 51 was joined by local Michigan groups like ACLU Michigan, Our Revolution Michigan, Women’s March Ann Arbor, and others.

The letter lays out how D.C. residents are harmed by D.C.’s lack of statehood, reading, “Because Washington, D.C., isn’t a state, Congress – the same one in which they have no voting representation – has the final say over the District’s local laws. This has led to Congress continuously trying to override the will of the people on everything from protections for reproductive health decisions to appropriate qualifications for childcare workers to family vaccination decisions.” The letter also calls on Chairman Peters, a veteran himself, to do his part for the over 30,000 veterans in D.C. who served this country but are without voting representation in Congress.

The full letter can be found here including a full list of signers. 

A hearing in Peters’ committee would be the first Senate hearing on D.C. statehood after a bill has already passed the House in U.S. history. The last time the Senate held a hearing on D.C. statehood was in 2014, but legislation had not yet passed the House.

“Chairman Peters has the opportunity to make history by holding a hearing on D.C. statehood and bring us one step closer to the representation 700,000 mostly Black and Brown Washingtonians deserve,” said 51 for 51 Campaign Director Stasha Rhodes. “The Senate has a once in a generation opportunity to ensure the people of Washington, D.C get a vote in Congress and address the most urgent civil rights issue of our time.”

“The denial of full voting rights to the 700,000 people of D.C., the majority of whom are Black and Brown, is a shameful example of voter suppression and racial injustice in our country,” said Rana Elmir, Acting Executive Director of ACLU Michigan. “Every state, including Michigan, should do its part and Chairman Peters sits in a key position to help right this historic wrong by holding a hearing for S.51, the Washington DC Admission Act. The only way to ensure the full and equal rights for the people of D.C. is through statehood.”

“D.C. residents pay taxes, serve on juries and in the military, and fulfill all obligations of American citizenship, yet don’t have equal representation in Congress. It’s wrong, it’s been wrong for over 200 years, and for Congress to do nothing about it now, given the historic opportunity we have, would be inexcusable,” said Josh Burch, President of Neighbors United for D.C. Statehood. “We are asking Chairman Peters, as a stalwart supporter of civil rights & voting rights causes, to do his part and hold a hearing on S. 51 so that we can address this stain on our democracy.”

“The District of Columbia has never been so close to attaining full representation in Congress. A Senate hearing would be another important step forward in ending the inequitable taxation without representation that the now 700,000 residents of Washington, D.C. have suffered under for more than 200 years. NOPE supported Senator Peters in 2020 because we knew he would be a champion for democracy,” said Joanna Pratt and Jacqui Lieberman, Co-leaders of NOPE for D.C. Statehood. “Today, we are asking him to schedule a hearing on S.51 to continue the momentum toward ensuring democracy for all Americans.”

51 for 51 has been calling on leaders to support a viable path to statehood for D.C. for over two years now, culminating in the endorsement of statehood legislation passing the Senate with a simple majority by 18 former Democratic presidential candidates, including now-President Joe Biden and now-Vice President Kamala Harris. The Washington, D.C. Admissions Act has historic levels of support with 44 Senate cosponsors and last month, the Biden White House put out a statement of administration policy in support of the House statehood bill.

To speak with a representative of 51 for 51, please contact 



About 51 for 51:

51 for 51 is a coalition of D.C.-based and national groups committed to equal representation for the over 700,000 D.C. residents who remain locked out of our democracy. The coalition of 20 progressive groups believe American citizens living in the District deserve a voice in Congress and control over their own local laws. Already, President-elect Biden, Vice President-elect Harris, and Senators Warren, Markey, Gillibrand and Hickenlooper have endorsed 51 for 51’s proposed path to statehood. 

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