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DC Flag Day in the Flesh
|| 6/15/2011 || 7:01 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Back in mid-May, late at night after a few of our friends had gotten out of jail after being arrested outside of the U.S. Capitol demonstrating in favor of voting rights & statehood for DC, Ally B., Adam E., and myself were discussing ways we could do another action. I brought up the idea of using Flag Day as an upcoming day that people could mobilize around and everyone agreed that there was enough time to plan & execute an event. Inspired by Shana Glickfield’s collection of DC Flag tattoos, together we wrote the first press release and since Adam & I were busy working on other projects, Ally did the rest of the organizing for “DC Flag Day in the Flesh“. In all, this was one of the best events I’ve ever helped to organize because we had such a great turnout and very positive media coverage. I’m looking forward to helping organize the second annual DC Flag Day in the Flesh :-) I’d like to get the folks from Guinness Book of World Records to come and document “the most tattooed ‘state’ flags in one location.”


Inked and Non-Inked Gather in Dupont Circle

Celebrate Flag Day Tuesday, June 14, 6-8 pm

It is well known that thousands of District of Columbia residents past and present sport DC flag tattoos. In fact, George Washington, whose family crest is the source of the DC flag, would never have predicted that so many would passionately adorn themselves to show their civic pride. Over the years, the “Three Stars and Two Bars” has come to symbolize over 600,000 Americans who can not enact their own laws nor elect voting representatives to the House and Senate.

This Flag Day 2011 we encourage a large gathering of people with DC Flag tattoo’s and those that support them as a way to get under the skin of America and bring attention to DC’s lack of rights in Congress.

Come celebrate DC Flag Tattoos, paint large Give Me a Vote Hands, and find out what you can do to get DC equal representation in Congress.

WHO: Inked, non-Inked, and all who LOVE DC
WHAT: Flag Day DC Celebration, Speakers sponsored by DC Vote, Art sponsored by Give Me a Vote and Albus Cavus, and surprises!
WHEN: Tuesday, June 14, 2011, 6pm to 8pm
WHERE: Dupont Circle, Washington DC, USA
“Home of Taxation Without Representation”



A couple photographs of me from BYT by Dakota Fine

DC Flag Tattoo Day – June 14 by Brandon Bloch


Video by Mike Flugennock


Video by Edgar Elmore


Video by Matt Bevilacqua

Press:
+ D.C. faithful get inked, rally for representation – Washington Post
+ D.C. Flag Tattoo Day: Show off your city pride – AP via Washington Post
+ D.C. residents to celebrate flag tattoos – AP via WTOP
+ D.C. residents to celebrate flag tattoos – AP via Federal News Radio
+ Tattooed DC Residents Push for Representation – WMAL
+ Flag day is for… showing off tattoos? – Seattle Post-Intelligencer
+ D.C. Ink: Flag-Tatted to Gather at Dupont Tomorrow – DCist
+ Photo Booth: D.C. Flag Tattoo Day – DCist
+ DC Flag Tattoo Day: Does it Matter If You’re Not Punk? – Washingtonian
+ With flag tattoos, D.C. residents seek representation in Congress – Scripps Howard
+ D.C. Flag Tattoo Day mixes District flag with tattoos – TBD
+ D.C. Flag Day tattoos: The Polaroids – TBD
+ Got a DC Flag Tattoo? Celebrate Today – NBC Washington
+ Showing off some inked skin for D.C. – WJLA
+ D.C. Flag Tattoos We Don’t Endorse, Even for Voting Rights – Washington City Paper
+ Welcome to Our Strife, Tattoo – Washington City Paper
+ Norton Commends Youth Activism and Achievements Today at Two Separate Events, DC Flag Day Tattoo Rally and Ballou STAY High School Graduation – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC)
+ DC Statehood advocates unveil DC flag tattoos for Flag Day – DC Direct Action News
+ Photos: DC Flag Tattoo Day! Go DC! #dcflagtattoo #dcvote – Vincent Gallegos
+ DC Flag Tattoo Day – Frank Turner
+ DC Flag Tattoo Day – Borderstan

From the Washington Post article:

When Allyson Behnke’s friend was arrested back in May for rallying in support of District representation in Congress, she and a few others started brainstorming ways to raise awareness for the cause in a more entertaining way. Somebody mentioned Flag Day, and an idea tattooed itself on her mind.



Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton & Senator Joe Lieberman introduce a D.C. Statehood Bill
|| 4/1/2009 || 11:10 am || + Render A Comment || ||

Upon hearing that the Justice Department has found the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009 to be unconstitutional, this morning Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) introduced a D.C. Statehood bill to Congress.

This bill will make the nearly 600,000 citizens of America’s capital city equal to those in every other state in America. The legislation will allow District residents to elect two senators & at least one member of the House of Representatives. It will also grant the residents complete budget autonomy, control over the penal system, and allow residents to vote for their own district attorney. The bill also shrinks what is considered the “Seat of Government” to the area around the United States Capitol and National Mall to allow Congress to retain some control over the District of Columbia.

“I’m tired of being treated like a second-class congresswoman,” said Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton this morning at the press conference, “and D.C. Statehood is the only route to full equality.” She went on to say that she was pressured by the high-profile advocacy group DC Vote to push for partial representation because they wanted to make sure D.C. only has one vote in Congress. She concluded, “they didn’t want to have to change their name to DC Votes.”

Former vice-presidential candidate Senator Lieberman introduced the Senate’s version of the bill that contains a unique compromise. Unlike previous D.C. Statehood legislation, it contains a provision that prevents D.C. residents from electing two senators from the same political party.

“As an independent, I understand the importance of partisanship and the current view of Washington, DC is that the residents only vote for candidates in the Democratic Party.” By including this controversial provision, Lieberman hopes to win over Republican leadership who fear that the senators will always come from the Democratic party. The DC Home Rule Charter already contains a similar provision for a portion of the At-Large City Councilmembers to be from minor political parties and this practice will be continued in the DC Statehood bill.

In order to help District residents understand the importance of what D.C. statehood will provide, this evening ACLU and many other human rights groups are hosting a teach-in & free concert on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. Their goal is to educate District residents on the benefits of D.C. statehood.

Below are two different flyers for tonight’s event at the U.S. Capitol:





UPDATE: In case you didn’t figure it out, this entry was my April Fool’s Day joke. While the event at the U.S. Capitol was real, the introduction of the D.C. Statehood Bill was a farce. I do, however, contend that Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton should stop wasting her time on the DC Voting Rights Act.




The D.C. Colonist receives a warm welcome from Senator Joe Lieberman at today’s Business Meeting of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
|| 2/11/2009 || 2:43 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Roll Call’s photo of the week from April, 2007

Today I attended the Business Meeting of the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs dressed in my colonial attire. I wear this costume for every congressional hearing related to representation for the residents of Washington, DC. I arrived early enough to snag a decent seat and sat down next to my friend Shadow Senator Michael D. Brown. As the other Senators arrived for the meeting he & I chatted about ideas related to what we can do next to get statehood for the District of Columbia.

A few minutes later when Senator Joe Lieberman walked in, Shadow Senator Michael D. Brown stood up, greeted him, and shook his hand. Senator Lieberman then looks at me and said something along the lines of “I’m glad to see that we have a colonist here. Do you go by the name of Paul Revere?” I said, “No, I’m just a DC colonist.” He followed, “So you don’t have a name? Just ‘DC Colonist’?” and I responded, “I’m just a DC Colonist that suffers taxation without representation.” He smiled, walked over to the end of the table, and sat down at his seat. A few minutes later the hearing began and he decided to greet me publicly…..

Click here to listen to the audio
or
Click here to watch the video

[to watch the video, you first need to hit play, then scroll the slider over to about 21:10 to watch the introduction]

Senator Lieberman said:

I do want to note and welcome Mayor Fenty of the District of Columbia we are honored that you are here and a somewhat older resident of the District from colonial times [laughter] also present. I gather you are making the general point about taxation without representation [off camera I nod in the affirmative]. Okay I don’t need to make my case any stronger than that [laughter]. Thank you for being here.



Also worthy of mention is that later on in the hearing (at around 43:15 into the video), Senator George Voinovich mentions the time when the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe were in Washington, DC and we lobbied them on the Potomac River (right photo). Hearing him mention that day made me laugh. It was one of my favorite demonstrations I’ve ever taken part in! I remember watching the parliamentarians applaud our efforts from the ship and the following day they passed a resolution calling on the United States government to give DC residents congressional representation.

In the end, only Senator John McCain voted against the bill, S.R. 160, the senate version of the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009, and it passed the committee with a vote of 11-1. Unfortunately, I agree with McCain’s opinion, only states should receive representation in Congress.

I feel that DC Vote and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton wasted a huge opportunity to give DC residents equal representation in Congress by reintroducing this three-year-old, constitutionally questionable legislation that was written for a Republican controlled congress. Times have changed, however, the bill and its constitutional underpinnings have not. I’m not sure what will happen next to the bill, like when will it be voted on, but I am sure it will be challenged on it’s constitutionality. In the meantime, I’m going to continue to work with my Shadow Delegation on lobbying for statehood for the District of Columbia.



UPDATE: February 12th, 2009 – Comedian Stephan Colbert interviewed Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton the following night:

Its too bad the editors missed the chance with the Colonist…

Related Colonist Entries:

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YouTube Video featuring the 6pm News Coverage Mashup of the 2009 DC House Voting Rights Act
|| 1/27/2009 || 10:55 pm || Comments Off on YouTube Video featuring the 6pm News Coverage Mashup of the 2009 DC House Voting Rights Act || ||

Today was the first hearing for the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009. Although I feel this bill is flagrantly unconstitutional, I attended the hearing……

This video features three clips I recorded and the 6pm coverage of three Washington, DC news organizations. The video starts out with my friend Chris on the microphone outside of the Rayburn building, then cuts to the ABC7 coverage, then cuts to the line waiting to get into the hearing, then cuts to the DC Fox5 coverage, then cuts to my footage inside of the hearing room, which features DC Mayor Adrian Fenty, and finally concludes with NBC4’s coverage.

In each of the clips you can spot me in the footage wearing my colonist outfit, which was worn to highlight the fact that DC residents are actually colonists who are forced to live under the tyranny of 535 unelected members of congress and suffer taxation without representation.

Related Colonist Entries:

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My DC license plate redesign was discussed today on the WAMU’s The Kojo Nnamdi Show
|| 12/5/2008 || 6:15 pm || Comments Off on My DC license plate redesign was discussed today on the WAMU’s The Kojo Nnamdi Show || ||

Yesterday I received an e-mail from a friend asking if I knew who was behind the “1/3 Representation Please” poster that has been showing up around town. I responded by stating that I did not know who the person was and sent the friend the two links related to poster. In the response e-mail it was then suggested that I contact the show to further the dialogue. So before the show started I decided to e-mail Kojo Nnamdi with the license plate above and the D.C. flag redesign as attachments and state for the record that I was NOT behind the poster or its placement around town.

The executive director of DC Vote, Ilir Zherka, was the guest on the show during the voting rights segment. Through the years he & I have had a very turbid relationship. We have a differing opinion on the 1/3 representation route his organization is advocating. During the show I paid close attention to his words and realized that he is not advocating for statehood at all, which is very sad because more DC residents want statehood and not fractional representation. During the show’s dialogue, the subject of president-elect Barack Obama changing the license plates on his limousine comes up….

Click here to listen to an MP3 of today’s show. The clip starts out with Zherka speaking about Obama changing the plates, then Tom Sherwood throws in a little bit of history, followed a question from Sommer Mathis, editor of one of my favorite DC blogs- DCist, then Kojo brings up my license plate, and Ilir Zherka responds….

Of note is that he states that his organization is already preparing for a court challenge if the bill his organization is advocating for gets passed in the House or Senate. Frankly I find this both sad and frustrating. Sad because they are knowingly trying to advance a bill that is not constitutional– only STATES can receive representation in the House or Senate. This is also frustrating because it only delays the equality for the residents of the America’s capital city. They could easily be advocating a new bill using a new strategy because there is a new congress, but they are still pushing for a piece of sub-par legislation that will be struck down on constitutional grounds.

After the show Kojo had an on-line chat in which I participated in. Below is the text from the chat:

+ MORE



One Third Representation Flyer Posted Outside of Busboys & Poets
|| 10/21/2008 || 11:25 am || Comments Off on One Third Representation Flyer Posted Outside of Busboys & Poets || ||

In August of this year, I posted the newest 1/3 representation graphic that had been sent my way. Last night I was at Busboys & Poets, a restaurant off U Street in Washington, DC, and I saw that someone had posted the flyer up on the electric box. Curiously, I am told that the owner of Busboys & Poets is on the board of directors of DC Vote, which is the DC-based non-profit that is behind 1/3 representation in Congress. Maybe this flyer was directed at him? I hope so. I also wonder if the flyer has been placed anywhere else in the city? Anyways, the photograph is taken in such a way that its difficult to read the flyer, so click here in case you are interested in reading the text of the flyer.


Related D.C. Colonist Entries:

+ MORE



The Dr. Bill Show!
|| 6/9/2008 || 9:00 pm || Comments Off on The Dr. Bill Show! || ||

I’ve been at odds with DC Vote for years. While we are on the same side regarding the importance of congressional representation for DC residents, I’ve been quite dissatisfied with their approach toward bringing true equality. As an ardent supporter of statehood, I’ve been annoyed that DC Vote has been a puppet of the Democratic Party and has wantonly gone after partial representation instead of full representation.

Last year I modified their logo to create a 1/3 fraction because of their support for the constitutionally dubious Norton-Davis bill that would give DC a token vote in the House of Representatives, but no representation in the Senate, or 1/3 representation. This was followed up by a nice phone call from the executive director of the organization asking me nicely to not screw around with their copyrighted logo (free speech rules!). I even created multiple designs of the DC Flag that had only one out of the three stars filled in to show my fractional contempt. However, my best creation was the modified DC license plate that said “TAXATION WITH 1/3 REPRESENTATION,” which was ultimately mentioned in the Washington Times.

Worse is that DC Vote has been able to conflate “voting rights” with “statehood” in public discourse to the point that people use the words “voting rights” incorrectly. The inherent irony is that they’ve been advocating for a voting right (singular) because they are staunchly in favor of giving Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton *a* vote in the House. In my opinion, “voting rights” (plural) involves DC residents having Congressional representation in both the House and the Senate. I remember when we marched at last year’s rally, I had to stop people from chanting “Give us the vote” because they were naively advocating for partial representation when we were holding a large flag that said “DC STATEHOOD NOW!


Earlier this afternoon I noticed an advertisement on Wonkette for “Dr. Bill” and after clicking on it I was brought to DC Vote’s website to watch a flash version of the video above.

Frankly, I really like the video and that’s why I am posting it here today. With my reservations about DC Vote aside, I actually like this video as a means for explaining the disenfranchisement of DC residents. There is no mention of any constitutionally dubious legislation, rather its a simple & straightforward video that makes a strong case for giving DC residents representation in Congress while making fun of America’s worst president.

If you are reading/watching this from outside of Washington, DC, please share this video with your friends. If you think “change” is coming to Washington, maybe it should start with the enfranchisement of DC residents.

Related Entries:

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Salt Lake Tribune covers the D.C. Colonist
|| 9/17/2006 || 7:45 pm || Comments Off on Salt Lake Tribune covers the D.C. Colonist || ||

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

Much of Thursday’s hearing focused on the district’s fight for representation in the House, and several people in the audience wore stickers with the number “51,” referring to their hopes to make Washington the 51st state.

One resident even donned a Revolutionary period costume, complete with tri-corner hat, to protest the district’s lack of representation. Nikolas Schiller said he wore the purple garb to “highlight the fact that D.C. residents are still living in a colony,” because they are being taxed by the government without representation.

read the rest of the article:

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ABC 7 Covers the D.C. Colonist…
|| 9/16/2006 || 9:24 pm || Comments Off on ABC 7 Covers the D.C. Colonist… || ||

albeit for a brief moment outside with the largest DC flag…

it’s so annoying when they have 30 minutes of footage, but cut it down to 5 seconds. I wish I could have that footage. It’s not like the footage will be used anytime soon….Sam and his camerawoman were the only news crew to cover the antics outside two hours before the hearing began.



International Body Backs Vote for D.C.
|| 7/6/2005 || 8:55 am || Comments Off on International Body Backs Vote for D.C. || ||

This is probably the final installment from the Washington Post concerning the OSCE for a little while, or until Congress decides to do something about it’s democratic hypocrisy….you can’t bring democracy to the world when you deny democracy at home….

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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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  • thank you,
    come again!