Housing Complex

How D.C. Can Advance Statehood: Guerilla Public Space Planning

(Photo editing by Lydia DePillis)

In a few hours, Councilmember Michael Brown will hold a roundtable on whether we should rename a small stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue to raise awareness of D.C.'s disenfranchisement. I think this is a fantastic idea, and bossman Michael Schaffer has some thoughts on how it might be done. But why stop there? The Republicans may still veto our laws and perpetuate our votelessness, and President Barack Obama may still not put the Taxation Without Representation license plates on his motorcade, but District residents (largely) control their physical environment. They've tightened the screws by taking away Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton's symbolic vote–now it's time for retaliation. A few more ways D.C. officials could use public space to remind everyone we're still second-class citizens:

  1. Affix "Abandon your vote, all ye who enter here!" to the signs at the edges of the city welcoming people to the District.
  2. Paint "Paid for by the disenfranchised" on prominent streets around the Capitol.
  3. Commission sculptures prominently featuring shackled D.C. residents for placement on District-owned land downtown.
  4. Hang District flags from bridges at rush hour. Maybe even burning. Or create a "Gates"-style installation of D.C. flags in the Arboretum.
  5. During tax season, print D.C. income tax bills with the message, "Hate paying federal income taxes too? At least you can vote on how these are used."
  6. On directional signs downtown that tell people where things are, include an arrow pointing to "Federal Oppressors" at the Capitol building.
  7. Do flower plantings that spell out "Flowers are Beautiful. So is Democracy."

Got more ideas? Tell us, and we'll send them to Councilmember Brown.

  • http://www.facebook.com/PeterOrvetti P.J. Orvetti

    Let's just retrocede to Maryland in the middle of the night without telling them.

  • Rick Mangus

    Michael Brown is an idiot!

  • John

    Or just seriously look at retroceeding instead of wasting our time and money on a useless statehood joke that just gives self-esteem and employment to activists.

  • Billy

    DC could actively not plow streets that members of congress live on, or fill potholes, or fix streetlights...

  • Rick Mangus

    Statehood, start acting like responsible adult, and not like whining childern, then maybe it will happen!

  • Rick Mangus

    Correction: adults, not adult.

  • Rick Mangus

    Lydia, why did you use a photo of a mass murderer in this story?

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