News

Birder and Activist Christian Cooper Calls for Senators to Pass D.C. Statehood with 51 Votes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 17, 2021

CONTACT: 

press@51for51.org

Birder and Activist Christian Cooper Calls for Senators to Pass D.C. Statehood with 51 Votes

Cooper Declares American Kestrel Should be D.C.’s State Bird: “Small, Colorful, Powerful”

Washington, D.C. — Today, birder, activist, and author Christian Cooper joined 51 for 51 Lead Organizers Jamal Holtz and Demi Stratmon to discuss why D.C. statehood is the most urgent civil rights fight of our time. Cooper, Holtz, and Stratmon talked about the meaning of democratic representation and how the fight for D.C. statehood intersects with racial and LGBTQ+ justice. 

The livestream follows news yesterday that the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office dropped charges against Amy Cooper for her racist attempt to have Christian Cooper arrested in Central Park last May. Christian Cooper issued a statement in response, redirecting the public to focus on structural inequities: “I am far more outraged by the U.S. Congress, which continues to deny the mostly Black and Brown people of the District of Columbia statehood, and the representation every American deserves, than by anything Amy Cooper did. That gross racial injustice could be fixed by Congress now, today, and that is what people should be focused on, not last year’s events in Central Park.”

Cooper continued to make the case for D.C statehood during today’s livestream with the following statements:  

“If there’s one good thing to come out of that [Central Park] situation it’s highlighting how deeply embedded racial bias is in our society. Well that same racial bias has been playing out in Washington, D.C. where a majority Black and Brown population has no representation. And if you’re outraged about what happened to me, you should be triply outraged about what’s going on in D.C.”’

“It is intolerable that this situation continues in the very shadow of all the monuments to democracy. It’s up to us to fix it. I don’t mean it’s up to the people in D.C. — because the people in D.C. can only do so much without representation. It is up the rest of us Americans to let our senators know that they must end this injustice — today. All they have to do is find a way around that arcane little trick called the filibuster.”

I get so frustrated when I hear political arguments against D.C. statehood — it doesn’t matter what political party D.C.’s Senators would belong to. Nobody gets to deny other Americans access to democracy because they don’t like who they’re going to vote for.” 

Lead Organizers for 51 for 51 joined Cooper’s passionate call for D.C. statehood with the following statements:

“My mom fought for statehood. Her mom fought for statehood, and now I have an opportunity to ensure that my generation is the last one that will be left out of voting rights,” said Jamal Holtz, Lead Organizer of 51 for 51. “We know better policy comes from better representation, and representation is very much at the heart of the statehood movement. We truly care about the soul of this nation, and the soul of this nation is about democracy.”

“The January 6th insurrection changed the lives of D.C. residents,” said Demi Stratmon, Lead Organizer of 51 for 51. “So not having a say during the impeachment trial was just another slap in the face. But that’s the constant feeling of being a D.C. resident — knowing that living in the District, the home that you love, means you have no representation.

You can watch the full conversation here

To speak to a representative from 51 for 51, please contact press@51for51.org 

###

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 25 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.

Additional Information

Website: https://www.51for51.org/ 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/51for51

By submitting this form, you acknowledge that you are opting in to updates (message and data rates may apply).