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D.C. statehood advocates weren’t going to let Tom Cotton’s racist, partisan comments go. Instead, they used his remarks against our city to inspire a new campaign called #WeAreDC that launches Wednesday and seeks to elevate the voices of Washingtonians.

When arguing against statehood legislation in late June, the Republican senator from Arkansas argued Washingtonians could not govern themselves and worked the wrong kind of jobs. The insinuation was that the people of D.C., a plurality Black city, are undeserving of equal rights. 

“Yes, Wyoming is smaller than Washington by population, but it has three times as many workers in mining, logging, and construction, and 10 times as many workers in manufacturing,” Cotton said on the Senate floor. “In other words, Wyoming is a well rounded working-class state.”

Advocates with 51 for 51, DC Vote, and Neighbors United for DC Statehood conceived of the #WeAreDC campaign—a series of videos featuring a few of the more than 700,000 mostly Black and Brown Washingtonians—after listening to Cotton and other Republicans in Congress suggest “real people” do not live in the District.   

“Washington D.C. is a thriving, vibrant community,” says 51 for 51 Campaign Director Stasha Rhodes, “most who are disconnected to federal politics.” 

“We were frustrated by the repeated slander of Republicans,” Rhodes adds. 

The first five videos spotlight various D.C. residents: Roy Ward, a firefighter of 11 years; George Derek Musgrove, the co-author of Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation’s Capital; Amanda Hall, a pediatric physical therapist, Rahama Wright, the owner of a social change beauty business; and Ty Hobson-Powell, a youth organizer. Videos will be posted and shared on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as housed on the campaign’s own website, WeAreDC.org.    

Organizers are also asking people to upload and share their own videos on social media about what it means to live in D.C. by using the hashtag, #WeAreDC. People’s videos will be posted on the website. Organizers are also putting together a six-figure advertising campaign to promote the idea that it’s not only lobbyists that live here; so do doctors, postal workers, and teachers.  

Rhodes says the campaign is not about convincing the Tom Cottons of the country whose intentions are to push a false narrative about D.C. so statehood legislation fails, but to inform the person in, say, Nevada who only thinks about Capitol Hill or the Washington Monument when D.C. comes to mind, and not mumbo sauce or go-go music.   

The campaign is a continuation of 51 for 51’s year-long efforts to educate people from all across the country about the fact that D.C. residents—who pay more federal taxes per capita than any state—are disenfranchised. 51 for 51 also got a majority of Democrats who were running for president on the record in their support for making D.C. the 51 state by temporarily abolishing the filibuster. Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, became the 18th candidate to endorse the idea. Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate, was the 15th.

“We are super excited about the momentum statehood is seeing,” says Rhodes.“We are laser focused on the senate, which is why Republican senators are pushing us to do this.” 

 —Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com)

CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? agomez@washingtoncitypaper.com)       

  • As of Aug. 12, D.C. reported no additional deaths related to COVID-19 and 63 new positive cases bringing the total numbers of people to 593 and 12,959 respectively. [EOM

  • Q&A on the region’s contact tracing efforts. [DCist]

  • Apartments near 42 Metro stations became more affordable this year. [Post]

  • The median price of D.C. rowhouses exceeded $800,000 for the first time ever. [Washingtonian]   

LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com

  • Former DCHA attorney filed a whistleblower lawsuit over an N95 mask debacle. [WCP]

  • Local pols react to the Biden/Harris ticket. [DCist]

  • Mayor Muriel Bowser is relaunching D.C.’s mortgage assistance program. [DCist]

  • Sunrise DC is hosting a virtual forum with at-large Council candidates Christina Henderson, Ed Lazere, and Markus Batchelor. [Sunrise]

  • Even with the name change, congressional leaders are wary of bringing the NFL team to D.C. [WBJ]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • The local hospitality industry raised $70,000 to help Ayuda support the immigrants that staff D.C.’s restaurants. [WCP]

  • A comprehensive guide to fighting food insecurity in D.C., including volunteer opportunities. [Eater DC]

  • A Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate refused to wear a mask and threatened legal action, according to restaurant owners. [Washingtonian]

  • José Andrés and World Central Kitchen are in Beirut feeding people impacted by the catastrophic blast. [DCist]

  • Krispy Kremeis bound for Columbia Heights. [WBJ]

ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall (tips? krandall@washingtoncitypaper.com)

SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • The Big Ten has officially canceled its fall season. The decision,made due to the safety and health of players and staff, but also, as some have argued, the preservation of amateurism of college athletes, leaves plenty of questions unanswered for programs like the Maryland football team. [247 Sports, LA Times]

  • Get ready for the NHL playoffs. The Caps start their first-round series against the Islanders today at 3 p.m. [NBC Sports]

  • Retired Washington Football Team defensive back DeAngelo Hall will join his former team in the broadcast booth as an analyst while Bram Weinstein will be the play-by-play voice. [Yahoo]

  • The Washington Football Team also announced that games will be played with no fans in attendance at FedExField this season, and, well, the jokes kind of write themselves. [Sporting News]

CITY LIGHTS, by Emma Sarappo (Love this section? Get the full newsletter here. Tips? esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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