D.C. Statehood Now is a campaign hosted by the ACLU of the District of Columbia, in active partnership with ACLU affiliates across the country and the National ACLU, and in collaboration with the many local, state, and national organizations, individuals, and allies who have been leading on this civil rights fight for generations.
Why Does D.C. Statehood Matter to the ACLU?
Washington, D.C. is the only national capital in the democratic world whose citizens do not have equal voting and representation rights.
The denial of full voting rights to the 700,000 residents of D.C., the majority of whom are Black and brown, is an egregious example of ongoing voter suppression happening in our country today. The truth is that the continued lack of statehood to D.C. residents is rooted in racism. After the Civil War, just as Black voters started to exercise their political power in D.C., Congress replaced D.C.’s local government with federally appointed commissioners, blocking the heavily Black region from having full voting rights or control over its own local government.
People who live in Washington, D.C. are just like people who live in any other state in America. We are veterans, nurses, grocery store clerks, teachers, restaurant works, volunteers, family members, and neighbors. Granting D.C. statehood is needed, constitutional, and the only way to enfranchise the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have been wrongly denied their full voting rights for more than 200 years.
Lack of statehood rights undermines the will of the people in D.C. every day as we try to make changes to our own local government policies. The ACLU and our allies cannot fully defend and protect the civil rights and civil liberties of the 700,000 people in the District without D.C. statehood.
Where Are We on the Path to D.C. Statehood?
2021 marked the closest we’ve come in 200 years in achieving full and equal rights for the people of D.C. through D.C. statehood. A bill for statehood, the Washington D.C. Admission Act, passed the U.S. House of Representatives in April of 2021. Its corresponding bill in the Senate now has 46 cosponsors, the most ever support for D.C. statehood in the U.S. Senate. The ACLU provided congressional testimony at each major hearing.
Looking ahead, we know we can only pass D.C. statehood legislation with increased national support. And we know from polling in 2020 that the more people know the facts about statehood for D.C, the more likely they are to support it. Most promising of all, when presented with the strongest pro and anti arguments, people polled from every major political affiliation–Republicans, Democrats and Independents–become more likely to support D.C. statehood.
We will continue to form new and deeper partnerships as we work with local organizations, ACLU affiliates across the country, and many other national organizations who are now prioritizing educating their supporters and communities about this critical civil rights fight for the 700,000 people of D.C.
From voter suppression, racism, public health, and so much more, learn about the many issues that intersect with the fight for D.C. statehood. Visit our resources page for ACLU congressional testimony, explainer videos, op-eds, blog posts, and more.
Local Partners and Allies
Anacostia Coordinating Council (ACC)
League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia
Neighbors United for D.C. Statehood
Stand Up! for Democracy in DC (Free DC)
And many more
DC Statehood Now.
It's long past time to correct this 200 year historical wrong.