The Washington Post

Mayor Gray’s birthday wish: Statehood for D.C.

Grammy nominee Raheem DeVaughn sings "Happy Birthday" to D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray on the steps of the Wilson Building during a rally for District voting rights and statehood. (Maggie Fazeli Fard/The Washington Post)

Tuesday marked the launch of a marketing blitz by the mayor, the D.C. Council, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and others who support granting congressional voting rights to the District.

Gray and council members announced a new Web site,, and unveiled a line of items, including calendars, stickers, window decals, T-shirts and even Metrobuses, emblazoned with statehood slogans.

Council member Michael A. Brown (I-At Large) characterized the campaign as an “offensive” rather than “defensive” approach to securing voting rights. He said the city will focus on getting the message out to tourists and legislators in other states by mailing out copies of the calendars to governors and other leaders.

Supporters of D.C. voting rights posed with a Metrobus featuring a pro-D.C. statehood slogan. (Maggie Fazeli Fard/The Washington Post)

The council presented Gray with a cake and Grammy nominee Raheem DeVaughn led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to the mayor.

“This has got to be a day-in, day-out fight,” said Gray, noting that he doesn’t think rallies and marches are enough. “If we don’t wage this fight day in and day out, nobody’s going to listen to us.”


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