U.S. Virgin Islands takes up resolution in support of D.C. statehood
Advocates for D.C. statehood rally in March 2021. | AP

On May 31, 2024, in the legislature of the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Committee on Government Operations, Veterans Affairs, and Consumer Protection introduced a resolution in support of admitting the District of Columbia as a state in the United States of America.

The resolution notes that when the seat of government was transferred from Pennsylvania to the District in 1800, the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801 created a situation where residents of the District “ceased to be considered citizens of a state, no longer entitled to all the rights, guarantees, and immunities of the Constitution of the United States including, but not limited to: the right to appoint at least three Electors to the Electoral College for President and Vice President of the United States, the right to elect two Senators and at least one Representative in the Congress and the right to self-govern and ratify proposed amendments to the Constitution of the United States, despite continuing to pay federal taxes, serve in the military, and share all other responsibilities of citizenship in the United States.”

It furthermore discusses amendments that granted D.C. a non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives and Home Rule, which gave the District a system of limited self-governance.

The resolution further states that the U.S. Congress and the president have continuously interfered in the District’s local affairs. It specifically pointed to sexual assault reform in 1981, the schedule of heights in 1991, the revised criminal code in 2023, and the imposition of budget riders limiting the use of local tax revenue, affecting reproductive health services, cannabis use, statehood advocacy, and more.

The U.S. Virgin Islands, if it passes this resolution, will join the chorus of over 35 legislatures of U.S. states and “territories” that have passed resolutions that support admitting the District of Columbia as the 51st state.


Jamal Rich
Jamal Rich

Jamal Rich writes from Washington, D.C. where he is active with the Claudia Jones School for Political Education.