This week I heard two stories that highlight the need for statehood to provide the full protections of federal representation for U.S. citizens in Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. I was born in the former and have visited the latter just once. Sometimes calls for D.C. statehood are dismissed with "What about Puerto Rico?" and vice-versa. Both are further dismissed as attempts to grab political power -- as if denying statehood were not itself a political hustle.
The first story I heard was about the plight of Robert Davis, whose release from parole in Washington, D.C. was badly mismanaged because local parole cases are managed by a federal commission with no local accountability. The second story was about the ongoing power outages in Puerto Rico, four years after Hurricane Maria.
In both cases, citizenship without representation is equivalent to no citizenship at all.
Legislation that would grant statehood to Washington would also change the meaning of "D.C." to Douglass Commonwealth, honoring a champion of freedom rather than an agent of conquest.
|The #legoparkranger version of Frederick Douglass |
at his historic site in Washington.