Sunrise DC Joins 51 for 51 Coalition, Building Youth Momentum for D.C. Statehood
Washington, D.C. — Today, Sunrise DC became an official member of the 51 for 51 coalition, joining more than 25 other national and DC-based organizations committed to making D.C. the 51st state with 51 votes in the Senate. Sunrise DC is the local DC hub of the Sunrise Movement.
“51 for 51 is powered by young organizers, so we’re thrilled to welcome this talented group of advocates into our coalition,” said Demi Stratmon, Lead Organizer of 51 for 51. “Sunrise DC’s commitment to statehood comes at a pivotal moment when the Senate bill to make D.C. the 51st state has more support than ever. With the addition of Sunrise DC, 51 for 51 is gaining a crucial new partner to finally empower the more than 700,000 residents of D.C. with equal representation. The Sunrise Movement has demonstrated the incredible power of young people, and Congress should take note that D.C. statehood is a national priority for all people who care about justice.”
“Climate justice is racial justice, and environmental racism occurs within the same system of oppression and white supremacy as the forces that have prevented D.C. statehood. It is a racial equity issue,” said Jamie Bindon from Sunrise DC. “D.C. statehood would afford DC residents the same dignity given to residents in the other 50 states. D.C.’s Black communities and communities of color comprise a majority of the District’s population. Our disenfranchisement is not only undemocratic, it is an act of white supremacy. And our disenfranchisement has serious consequences: it restricts what kind of laws D.C. can pass, the amount of funding we get from the federal government, and our ability to keep D.C. residents safe when fascists have invaded our home. We are excluded from national conversations on the climate crisis, immigration, and Covid-19 relief. Our generation isn’t afraid of taking on bold challenges, and that means passing D.C. statehood with 51 votes in the Senate.”
D.C. statehood and climate justice intersect as defining movements for justice and representation. D.C. residents deserve a vote in Congress to address the tangible local effects of the climate crisis, including:
- A 2020 American Lung Association report ranked the DC-Maryland-Virginia region as 20th in the country for placing residents most at risk for dangerous side effects from ozone pollution.
- Every year DC sees higher and higher heat and humidity indexes, which are particularly dangerous to vulnerable low-income populations and older adults. Higher heat and humidity levels have also led to an increase in mosquito-borne diseases.
- There is a notable amount of lead in DC’s drinking water, which can severely damage developing brains and nervous systems.
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.