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Ten Things You Can Do to Help Bring Democracy to DC
Mark David Richards
June 2001




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10 Things You Can Do To Help Bring Democracy to D.C.

Mark David Richards, mark@bisconti.com
June 2001

1. Learn about the issue and continue to develop a common language. Many D.C. residents did not attend D.C. public schools and do not have a basic knowledge of the history of D.C.’s political status and the role of citizen involvement in having made improvements. Visit D.C.’s historic sites, learn about the people who have helped create your neighborhood, read about D.C.’s history, attend lectures, films, interview those who are involved and informed and compare their perspectives. Interaction among groups and individuals will help in continuing to develop a common District language on political status. Groups should find common ground, areas on which they can collaborate and pool their energies.

2. Listen. Ask friends and visitors what they know and think about D.C.’s political status. Learn from what they are saying.

3. Celebrate D.C.’s hard won gains. Recognize that the efforts of those who came before have led to D.C. having the right to local elected officials, and a limited vote for President. Participate in Advisory Neighborhood Commission meetings and run for elected office. Thank those who do run for the most important jobs in a democracy—our elected officials.

4. Articulate D.C.’s cultural identities. Some say D.C. doesn’t have a cultural identity, but most who live here know that is not accurate. D.C. citizens have much in common. Identify D.C.’s cultural identities and participate in the building of civic pride.

5. Share your talents. Have ideas? Talents? Can you teach children to read? Organize an art exhibit? Perform? Is there a project you’d like to take on? Visit community and democracy activist groups, see if you feel comfortable, and find a home to learn, share, and work together.

6. Develop a personal story. Be graphic and create images to explain the issue in a personal way to those who don’t know why D.C. citizens feel the current situation is bad for them and explain how D.C. citizens have contributed to other Americans over 200 years.

7. Inform. Call or write elected officials in international, federal, state, and local governments when there is an issue they are considering that could help raise awareness of the problem and solution. Develop or encourage the use of national history or social studies curriculum on D.C., write to tourist guidebook publishers and encourage them to tell D.C.’s story, adopt a politician or media person and develop a relationship. Work with organizations you belong to, have them pass resolutions in support of granting D.C. the same Constitutional rights as citizens who live in states.

8. Continue the legacy. For 200 years, some District citizens have worked to advance D.C. political equality—they have left D.C. citizens with a great legacy. It is our time to take the baton. Become a democracy advocate, add to the base, and continue the legacy. Teach the children, get others involved.

9. Think positive—individuals make a difference. Read "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference" by Malcolm Gladwell or "The Power of One" by Bryce Courtenay. Individual actions add to social change.

10. Provide financial support. Consider groups and projects underway that you can support and to whom you can contribute money. Consider ways to raise money.

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