Song-to-Action Calls on Senator Schumer to Prioritize D.C. Statehood in the Senate
Resistance Revival Chorus and 51 for 51 Joined Forces in Brooklyn to Show New Yorkers Support for D.C. Voting Rights Ahead of H.R. 51 Vote
Brooklyn, NY — Today, D.C. statehood group 51 for 51 joined forces with the Resistance Revival Chorus in Brooklyn to urge Senate Majority Leader Schumer, a statehood supporter, to prioritize passing D.C. statehood this Congress. Through a joyful “song-to-action,” the chorus performed several songs calling for representation for the more than 700,000 mostly Black and Brown residents of Washington, D.C.
New York activist and Central Park birder Christian Cooper also spoke about D.C. statehood as one of the most urgent racial justice issues of our generation, and encouraged the dozens of New Yorkers gathered in support and solidarity to call upon Senator Schumer for action. The visual action demonstrated the strong local support in New York for D.C. statehood ahead of the House vote on the D.C. statehood bill H.R. 51 scheduled for April 22.
Footage and photos from the action are available for use. Please cite 51 for 51 in photo credits.
Christian Cooper, activist, New Yorker and Central Park birder stated to the crowd in Brooklyn:
“D.C. statehood is the single most important civil rights and racial justice issue today. A lot of people look at what happened to me in Central Park, that racist incident, and they get really angry about the injustice. If you are angry about what happened to me in Central Park, you should be three, four, five times more angry about what has been going on in D.C. year after year, where the majority Black and Brown population has no say in their own democracy.
We can be more than outraged as New Yorkers. Because as New Yorkers, we have a superpower, our Senator happens to be the Majority Leader — the guy in charge. We need to call Senator Schumer and tell him, New Yorkers want D.C. statehood now.”
Jamal Holtz, Lead Organizer for 51 for 51, urged the crowd to call their New York Senators:
“If you were marching in the streets of New York this summer for Black lives, you should be marching for D.C. statehood. We’re going to keep fighting and keep marching until freedom has come.
D.C. residents don’t have Senators to call on — we depend on New Yorkers to call for us. Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand are proud supporters of DC statehood but it’s not enough to support our rights, they need to do their part to pass D.C. statehood now.”
The Resistance Revival Chorus, led by Musical Director Abena Koomson-Davis and Co-Musical Director Sound Brown, performed several resistance songs focused on voting rights and D.C. statehood, including Resistance Revival Chorus original “Joy In Resistance,” written by Abena Koomson-Davis, “Rich Man’s House,” written by Anne Feeney, the Civil Rights anthem “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around,” and Sweet Honey and the Rock’s “We Want the Vote! Chant.” created by Ysaye Maria Barnwell for the voting rights movement back in 2001, at the request of D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton.
Resistance Revival Chorus member and Parent Organizer and Advocacy Director for New York State Alliance for Quality Education Zakiyah Ansari shared with the crowd:
“Senator Schumer, you were so good this year with our budget — we stand here and say to you that our family in D.C. deserves to have representation as well. They deserve to have a say in how their schools are run, in criminal justice reform, and in health care and women’s rights. Imagine in New York, if the only place that you could advocate for rights for your children, for yourself, and for the elderly, was the Mayor’s office. We cannot lose our humanity in this moment. There are people being disenfranchised in D.C. — and if one person is, it should impact all of us.”
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 Biden, Vice President Harris, and Senators Warren, Markey, Gillibrand and Hickenlooper have endorsed 51 for 51’s proposed path to statehood.
About Resistance Revival Chorus:
The Resistance Revival Chorus is a collective of more than 60 women and non-binary singers, who join together to breathe joy and song into the resistance, and to uplift and center women’s voices, especially the voices of black women and women of color. Members are touring musicians, film and television actors, Broadway performers, solo recording artists, gospel singers, political activists, educators, filmmakers, artists, mothers, and more, representing a multitude of identities, professions, creative backgrounds, and activist causes. The Resistance Revival Chorus was founded in the wake of the 2017 Women’s March and strives to center women in music and address how historically marginalized women have been in the music industry. They’ve backed Ke$ha at the GRAMMYs, performed on The Tonight Show with Jim James, sung Spanish lullabies to detained migrant children outside a New York holding facility, and been shouted-out on Twitter by hometown hero Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. When they’re not performing on stages like Carnegie Hall and the Apollo, The Resistance Revival Chorus regularly hits the NYC streets, advocating for social justice across the spectrum. From standing in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives and calling to defund the police, The Resistance Revival Chorus has been involved in many activist causes including reproductive rights, the anti-Muslim ban, Climate Change, LGBTQIA+ rights at PRIDE and attending the March For Our Lives. The RRC brings music to the movement.