On this D.C. Emancipation Day, DC Vote will spearhead a Voting Rights March to the Capitol, the movement’s largest demonstration to date. DC Vote has put out a call for District organizations to close their offices on April 16 so that employees may attend the march.
Last week, several Washington Grantmakers members hosted a briefing on voting rights advocacy. Through contributions from the Washington Grantmakers’ funding community, DC Vote has been able to mobilize and gain tremendous support. The organization has been featured in more than 1000 media pieces and is a hot topic on local and national political blogs.
According to DC Vote Executive Director Ilir Zherka, a vote for D.C. has never been closer to reality. Zherka outlined the need for continued support as the process carries forward. The White House has recently expressed its opposition to voting rights for the District, and even if the bill passes, the District will still lack Senate representation. Zherka stressed that DC Vote’s mission will not be complete until DC is fairly and fully represented in Congress.
Funders heard from two local nonprofit grantees of WG members, DC Action for Children and PreventionWorks!, about the ways in which having a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives would improve their capacities to affect change in the region. As DC Appleseed’s Walter Smith noted, if the District gains a House vote, it will be the “first step towards bringing true democracy to DC.”