To the media:
Please see our press release attached and below regarding our event tomorrow, where we will launch three new initiatives as the next phase of Occupy the Vote DC, the campaign for full DC enfranchisement.
Occupy the Vote DC Announces Three New Initiatives
The DC hunger strikers and their supporters, including Mayor Vince Gray, will be announcing three new initiatives on Friday, Dec. 30, 2011 at 11:00 a.m., on the lawn of the Luther Place Memorial Church (near the headstone of Mitch Snider, a legendary homeless advocate and hunger striker), located at 1226 Vermont Street, NW, Washington, DC.
As Occupy the Vote DC transitions into its next phase, more supporters from around the city and the nation want to get involved. Thus Occupy the Vote DC is launching the following three initiatives:
An online petition with 617,996 signatures from around the country, representing one for every DC resident. The petition demands full representation in Congress, legislative autonomy and budget autonomy for DC. It is addressed to both houses of Congress and the President, demonstrating that the vast majority of Americans, once they learn about DC’s plight, agree that Republicans should work with Democrats to grant the city full enfranchisement.
The beginning of a 51-day series of 24-hour hunger strikes by 51 different people consuming only water, representing their support for the District of Columbia as the 51st state.
The proposal to create a DC people’s representative who would inform and lobby Congress, and act as a DC rider-finder, to push legislators on Capitol Hill towards recognizing full democracy for DC. “If we can’t elect a voting representative we will enable an advocate of our own,” said Adrian Parsons, who will be 23 days into his hunger strike on Friday.
The event will be attended by Parsons; Sariel Lehyani, who will be 11 days into his strike; Sam Jewler, who fasted for 11 days; Joe Gray, who fasted for 10 days; and Kelly Mears, who fasted for 8 days.
They have already been joined by several dozen people doing 24- and 48-hour hunger strikes in solidarity with the cause, including Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), DC faith leaders and other members of the community. Civil Rights activist Dick Gregory has been fasting since Dec. 17, calling on DC residents to unite in solidarity for enfranchisement. “The more people we have sacrificing for the cause, the better our chances of getting the message out across the country,” said Gregory.
Contacts: Sam Jewler 202-210-9362 Joe Gray 301-275-4431