The Mayor of Washington D.C., Muriel Bowser, is adding a 51st star to the American flags displayed on Pennsylvania Avenue for Tuesday’s Flag Day holiday.
This June 14 marks the 106th Flag Day celebrated in the United States.
Bowser’s controversial decision to add a star to the already existing 50 – which represent each state in the Union – comes on the heels of a measure approved by the US House that would grant the District of Columbia statehood.
The Senate, however, has not approved the measure – nor is it likely to.
There is a growing movement among Democrats to induct the District of Columbia as a full-fledged state. The people living within its boundaries do not currently have a voting member of Congress, despite its residents paying more in federal taxes than 21 other states.
In a statement, Bowser said: ‘Today, ahead of Flag Day, I directed our team to hang 51-star flags along Pennsylvania Avenue as a reminder to Congress and the nation that the 700,000 tax-paying American citizens living in Washington, DC demand to be recognized.’
A 51-star American flag for Washington, DC statehood waves on Pennsylvania Avenue on the first weekend of Spring on March 20, 2021 in Washington, DC
The traditional 50-star American flag was made the official flag of the union on July 4, 1960. The stars represent the 50 states
The mayor continued: ‘On Flag Day, we celebrate American ideals, American history, and American liberty. But the very foundation of those ideals, and the basis for our liberty, is representation. DC’s disenfranchisement is a stain on American democracy – a 220-year-old wrong that demands to be righted.’
The traditional 50-star American flag was made the official flag of the union on July 4, 1960. The stars represent the 50 states.
The last state to be admitted was Hawaii, which occurred in August 1959.
During a recent speech at the March for Our Lives on June 11, Mayor Bowser implored Congress to grant statehood to DC, in addition to pleading for gun control reform.
The mayor made reference to gun control and Roe v Wade in announcing the presence of 51 star flags around the nation’s capital on Flag Day.
Mayor Bowser is standing for reelection on the Democrat ticket in November 2022
During a recent speech at the March for Our Lives on June 11, Mayor Bowser implored Congress to grant statehood to DC, in addition to pleading for gun control reform
Mayor Bowser said: ‘As Americans nationwide brace for a decision on the future of Roe v. Wade, we are also reminded that DC’s disenfranchisement impacts not just Americans living in DC, but Americans nationwide who share our values.’
She added: ‘We also stand shoulder to shoulder with the majority of Americans demanding common sense gun reforms, and with the majority of Americans who want to build a more inclusive democracy.’
Mayor Bowser is standing for reelection on the Democrat ticket in November 2022. She is seeking her third term as mayor, having been first elected in 2014.
In May 2022, Bowser’s candidacy was endorsed by the Washington Post.
Statehood can only be achieved by DC if the House and the Senate pass legislation and send it to the president in order to sign it into law.
According to the DC Statehood information page on Mayor Bowser’s website, this is how all states except for the original 13 gained statehood.
DC has a higher population than either Vermont or Wyoming and pays more in federal taxes than 21 other states.
The information page goes on to say that the primary reason that advocates seek statehood for DC is in order to give the city’s 700,000 or so residents more of a voice in Congress.
DC House Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton cannot not vote in House votes
Currently, DC is represented in the House by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who can sit on committees, participate in debates and introduce legislation – but cannot vote on bills in the House.
In June 2020 and April 2021, the House passed DC statehood bills that were proposed by Norton.
Republicans have long been opposed to DC statehood – because it would likely offer two more Senate seats and a potential power swing to Democrats.
In June 2022, it was announced that the latest US Navy nuclear submarine added to the fleet would be christened the USS District of Columbia, in honor of the nation’s capital.
Norton said of the naming: ‘It is fitting that it recognized what will become the 51st state.’
If admitted to the union, DC would be the only state with a majority Black population.
Mayor Bowser concluded her statement on 51 star flags saying: ‘We are at an inflection point for American democracy, and it is within the Senate’s power to do the right thing, embrace representation, and move DC statehood forward to the President’s desk.’