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Just when you thought the momentum from John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight segment on D.C. statehood was petering out, District residents are rallying to keep the issue on people’s minds.
Local blog The Hill is Home announced yesterday that there will be a community gathering to sing John Oliver’s song supporting statehood for D.C.—this time, in a real-life performance. The sing-along will be held Sunday at 10 a.m. on the U.S. Capitol Grounds. The local blog is inviting residents and their “musically-inclined children” to learn the song’s lyrics and practice this week.
“As awesomely as John Oliver put it, it’s up to us, the residents of the District of Columbia to keep this fight going,” the post reads. “Yes, yes, we know [members of Congress] won’t be there on Sunday, but it’s recess, so they won’t be there any other day anyway. That’s what YouTube is for.”
Maria Helena Carey, a contributor to The Hill is Home who wrote the announcement, says Capitol Hill parents hatched the idea shortly after watching the segment on Last Week Tonight. Carey says she’s not worried about her own children singing the song in full, which touches on local topics from gun laws and legal marijuana to D.C.’s needle-exchange program against HIV and “asshole[s] with [bill-riders] who might live in Tennessee.”
“The profanity serves a purpose here,” says Tim Krepp, a Capitol Hill parent with seven- and 10-year old daughters who works as a tour guide and has lived in the District off and on since 1993. “There should be a bit of appropriate anger.”
John Oliver’s segment has resonated around the District in other ways too: just this morning, D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh declared she will propose a ceremonial resolution to honor Oliver for his contribution to the statehood-cause, the Associated Press reports. And on Monday, nonvoting D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton announced in a press release that she will use the Last Week Tonight segment as an educational tool during a briefing on D.C. statehood once Congress returns. (Notwithstanding the fact that, in the segment, Oliver compares Norton to “a child watching Dora the Explorer”—someone with “pretend power”—before showing a clip of her shouting on the Congressional floor in support of D.C. statehood in 2007.)
At DC Vote, a nonprofit that advocates for full voting equality for the District, executive director Kimberly Perry says Oliver’s segment has “been a great boost to the DC Statehood movement.”
“Hits to our website, national petition signers, and social media channels have increased since Sunday evening [when the Last Week Tonight segment first aired],” Perry wrote in an email.
So thank you, John Oliver, for helping people to realize that District residents have a voice, too.
Photo by Mr. T in D.C. via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0