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D.C. statehood a racial, voting rights issue

Dear Editor:  

I was dismayed, but unfortunately not surprised, to see the Arizona House of Representatives pass HCR 2035 to register their opposition to D.C. statehood. This is, after all, the same legislature that is trying to pass statewide voter suppression laws, so attempting to deny equal voting rights seems to be the order of the day.  

Salma Diaz-Ortiz

Salma Diaz-Ortiz

The resolution itself fails to recognize that the federal bill in question, H.R. 51, follows the constitution carefully by leaving a federal district and making the parts of D.C. where people live and work a state on equal footing with the other 50. Thankfully, my own state representative, Athena Salman voted in opposition.   

D.C. statehood would give equal voting rights and representation to the 712,000 residents who live in our nation’s capital. Many are people of color, and have long been confined to second-class status without representation in Congress, despite the fact that this same Congress can override their local laws. Growing up undocumented for most of my life, I knew I was a minority within minorities. I knew I had to work harder than most to get a seat at the table. It took years of dedication and discipline to get where I am today, but once I got here, I quickly realized that I still was not being represented correctly and decisions were made on my behalf without my consent. My rights as a DACA recipient are extremely limited, and I know how hard it is to be part of our country but not fully included in it. This is why DC Statehood is personal.  

When our State Senate considers D.C. statehood, they should treat this issue as a necessary and substantive pro-democracy reform rather than giving it the cursory and partisan treatment that the House did. If this issue comes up in the U.S. Senate, I hope Sens.Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly will recognize D.C. statehood for the racial justice and voting rights issue that it is. 

 Salma Diaz-Ortiz 

Phoenix  

One comment

  1. Dear Ms. Ortiz,

    Please stop trying to use race to divide us or conceal your desire for one party rule. Its the lowest of all political tactics and it has no place in AZ or this country. We fought this battle already. Please get educated.

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