It Isn’t Just The Government That’s Under Attack — It’s The People Of Washington, D.C.

Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Shutterstock.
When thousands of violent extremists incited by President Donald Trump burst into the Capitol building yesterday, it instantly dominated news coverage. But few outlets discussed the fact that the MAGA insurrection affected not just the elected officials in Congress, but the almost 700,000 people who live in the District of Columbia. In a city where 93% of residents voted for President-Elect Joe Biden in the presidential election, where almost half of the population is Black, and where many people proudly fly Black Lives Matter signs from their balconies, many have been terrified and have acutely felt the occupation of white supremacist groups of their city.
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This viral video filmed by journalist Veronica Westhrin perfectly captures the mood of last night. In it, two D.C. residents dubbed #guyonporch and #womanincar discuss the double standard in the treatment of Trump-supporting white extremists versus that of Black Lives Matter protestors:
When D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a citywide curfew yesterday that would last from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., “non-essential” residents stayed home, many answering frantic calls, texts, and social media messages from friends and family asking if they were okay. Small businesses scrambled to shut down for the night, taking a financial toll. While people without homes were exempt from the curfew, they were more at risk from the ongoing violence and being harassed by police. Organizations like Kyanite Kitchen offered transportation, funds, and housing to anyone who needed help. 
It should not be forgotten that the brunt of the insurrection is being born by a city where residents pay taxes but do not enjoy representation from the federal government, a fact which has always been part of a larger effort to disenfranchise communities of color. This was obvious yesterday when Trump initially refused to send the D.C. National Guard to deal with the violence, and the governor of Virginia sent his own troops before D.C.'s were finally deployed. D.C. is uniquely vulnerable to extremist attacks and outside occupation — but doesn’t have the ability to protect its own citizens. 
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This is part of why the movement for D.C. statehood, which has been decades in the making, is more important than ever. And it is no surprise that most Republicans oppose it: It would give electoral power to a historically Black city that is majority Democratic. Longtime non-voting House delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton has fought for D.C. statehood for a long time, and in June the U.S. House passed a bill making D.C. the 51st state. With the U.S. Senate now under Democratic control, advocates are urging Congress to take up this issue again. Bowser renewed the call recently, asking Congress to put the bill on the President’s desk in his first 100 days, and to transfer power of the D.C. National Guard to the Office of the D.C. Mayor. Biden has said he supports the statehood movement.
As it stands, D.C. residents are essentially being held hostage by the federal government — all with a violent coup happening in their backyard. And the politicians, many of whom are transient and never truly establish roots in the city, are all too happy to let the city fend for itself. It’s way past time for the residents of the District to get the representation they deserve.
Below are some of the many community groups you can follow and support in D.C.: 
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For a list of mutual aid groups by D.C. Ward, visit this article.
To learn more about how to support the movement for D.C. statehood, visit DCVote.org.

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