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If the federal government is going to take D.C. with it during a government shutdown, we’re going down in style. Or, if the District’s elected officials break federal law and defy the shutdown by spending money without Congressional approval, perhaps they are.

Statehood activist Josh Burch, who runs the blog Neighbors United for D.C. Statehood, and his brother, a graphic designer, designed shirts to rally the city behind statehood in the face of a government shutdown—-which would shutter local government agencies and keep all “nonessential” employees out of work, although in a letter to the Office of Management and Budget yesterday, Mayor Vince Gray declared all D.C. government workers “essential.”

“I AM ESSENTIAL AND SO IS STATEHOOD,” the red shirts read.

The plan, according to Burch, is for everyone to wear the shirts on Tuesday, Oct. 1, the day the shutdown would go into effect.

“I think it’s a way that folks can show solidarity that the mayor and the council and the city leadership are putting their jobs on the line essentially,” he says. “Statehood is the only way forward that is going to make us equal to everyone so we’re not pawns.”

If you want a shirt, place your orders with Burch today by emailing unitedforstatehood@gmail.com with your size.  They’re $15, and it looks like the mayor is going to be getting one too.

And even if Congress is able to avert the shutdown this time around, the looming government shutdown is a recurring theme these days, so this shirt will likely be useful at some point in the not-so-distant future.

Photo courtesy of Josh Burch.