You gotta love when the Washington Post gives us free promotion. Let the media to do your bidding! I am quite happy with this story, and I hope it helps bring some people out to Freedom Plaza tomorrow!
Voting-Rights Activists in a Blue Mood
By Lori Montgomery and Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, June 30, 2005; Page DZ02
Ukraine had its Orange Revolution, Georgia had rose. In Kyrgyzstan, pro-democracy demonstrators wear pink.
Now, D.C. voting-rights activists have settled on a color to symbolize their own somewhat less epic struggle against oppression: In the District, the revolution will be blue.
The new shade goes on display tomorrow, when voting-rights activists wearing blue armbands plan to gather outside the J.W. Marriott Hotel for the opening of the 14th annual session of the parliamentary assembly of the Vienna-based Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The OSCE, the world’s largest regional security organization, is meeting in Washington to consider, among other agenda items, a proposal to urge Congress to pass legislation granting D.C. residents full representation on Capitol Hill.
Voting-rights advocates from a variety of groups — including the D.C. Democratic State Committee and the League of Women Voters — plan to welcome OSCE parliamentarians with great fanfare. In addition to the blue-armband protest, tomorrow’s schedule includes “what can only be described as a grand piece of political theater,” according to a press release from Worldrights, a local human rights group.
In front of the Marriott, “3 voting booths will be placed in the center of [Freedom Plaza] surrounded by barbwire, symbolizing how DC residents are barred from voting in Congress,” the press release says. “Signs will be hung on the fences that read: ‘Washington, D.C. — Democracy Denied.’ ”
Organizers also plan to hang a huge banner bearing the words “OSCE: Equal Voting Rights for D.C.” in the group’s official languages of Russian, French, German, Italian, Spanish and English.
Afterward, activists plan to march to the Marriott’s entrance on 14th Street NW to heckle arriving U.S. dignitaries, including House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice .
Worldrights Executive Director Timothy Cooper notes that Rice “recently stated that the United States is now ‘supporting the democratic aspirations of all people,’ ” even as the “the Bush administration and the Republican-controlled Congress remain adamantly opposed to the legitimate ‘democratic aspirations’ of the people of Washington, D.C. . . .
“The U.S. government’s recalcitrance is becoming an international embarrassment of the first magnitude,” Cooper said. “How can the U.S. possibly advocate for global democracy when the essence of democracy is so conspicuously absent in its own capital city?”