WASHINGTON – To mark the 50th anniversary of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act of 1973, Joanne Lin, Executive Director of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs issued the following statement:
“Fifty years after the Home Rule Act passed, we are routinely reminded why DC must fight for statehood. Our autonomy is fragile. Congress constantly meddles in our affairs. Just this year alone, Congress blocked the Revised Criminal Code Act, a DC law unanimously passed by the DC Council, and three US Representatives introduced a bill to repeal DC Home Rule all in the name of a rising tide of violence, a nationwide trend.
“In 1973, the law was a historic and limited step forward on a long path to local self-governance. For the first time in over two centuries, DC residents elected a mayor and DC Council to represent them.
“Yet to this day, Congress still has final approval over the budget and all laws passed by the DC Council. Over the years, US lawmakers have prevented DC residents from the benefits of a needle exchange program and abortion services for people on Medicaid among other examples. The nearly 712,000 District residents, a plurality who are Black, are the only voters in the United States subjected to such an undemocratic and paternalistic system of governance.
“Statehood for the District is long overdue. Let’s make it happen together.”