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?"
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) has been unjustly slimed by the liberal advocacy organization MoveOn.org.
In an e-mail last week, MoveOn organizer Noah T. Winer congratulated members for lobbying the House and forcing the restoration of $100 million in federal funds for public broadcasting. Then he added this postscript: "Your Congresswoman, Rep. Norton, voted the wrong way on NPR and PBS funding. You can call her at 202-225-8050."
Of course, Norton has no vote on the House floor.
Rather than take offense, Norton took advantage of the slip-up by pressing MoveOn to join the fight for D.C. voting rights.
"I'm a good sport when it comes to jokes on me, but this is a joke on my constituents," she said in a statement. "I am asking for real amends, . . . hopefully engaging MoveOn in a progressive cause they have had little to say about -- equal voting rights for the citizens of the District of Columbia."
MoveOn's press operation did not immediately return a request for comment. But the group has apologized for what it called a "database error," adding that it supports full enfranchisement for D.C. residents.
The D.C. school system is trying a new approach to longstanding criticism from senior high school principals that the central office is out of touch. Maria Tukeva, principal of Bell Multicultural Senior High School, has been appointed assistant superintendent in charge of high schools citywide.
But Tukeva's not leaving her post at Bell in Northwest Washington. Instead, she will wear both hats: one as principal and one as administrator in charge.
"This is what senior high principals have been asking for, as far as a good fit," said Alexander Donahue, who will serve as special assistant to Tukeva. Unlike Tukeva, Donahue will leave his job as principal of the Roosevelt Senior High School night school program called STAY and relocate to the central office.
"This is a cluster leader concept," he said. "I'll be her right-hand man downtown so she won't have to leave her building too often."
Tukeva replaces Ralph H. Neal, who retired from the school system early this month. Neal will serve as principal of Friendship Junior Academy at the Friendship Edison Public Charter School in Southeast Washington.
A priority for Tukeva and Donahue will be to implement Superintendent Clifford B. Janey's high school reform initiative. Starting in fall 2006, the high schools will offer a three-year track for students who want to double up on classes and graduate early as well as a five-year track for students who need an extra year.
"The flexibility will be really, really good and helpful," Donahue said, adding that the schools also will offer more vocational programs.
Tukeva and Donahue begin their new jobs Tuesday.
Staff writer V. Dion Haynes contributed to this report.