The Washington Post

Occupy D.C.’s newest hunger striker: Congressman Keith Ellison

A week after three Occupy DC protesters began a hunger strike for District of Columbia voting rights in Congress, a new striker has joined their ranks, at least for a while: Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.).

Occupy protesters Adrian Parsons, left, Kelly Mears, right, and Sam Jewler, not pictured, have their last meal before beginning their hunger strike. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post)

The hunger strikers tried to meet with various lawmakers on Capitol Hill this week to share their “declaration” of support. Ellison has pledged to read the declaration on the floor of the House of Representatives to enter it into the congressional record.

Ellison is a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He is the first Muslim to serve in the House, and first African American elected to the House from Minnesota.

The strikers have not been as successful with other lawmakers, however. House Speaker John Boehner (R.-Ohio) would not emerge from his office to read the declaration, even after protesters staged a sit-in out front for hours.

The three original hunger strikers were Adrian Parsons, a performance artist with a history of participation in protests; Kelly Mears, a Web developer who is part of Occupy D.C.’s “tech ops” team; and Sam Jewler, a writer/editor for The Occupied Washington Times, the Post’s Katie Rogers reports.

The hunger strikers’ declaration calls for full voting rights for District residents and legislative and budget autonomy.

The District currently has only a nonvoting delegate to the House.

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