Petula Dvorak missed the mark when she asserted in her July 16 Metro column, “Dear America: D.C. is real — and so are its people,” that the reason 64 percent of respondents in a recent nationwide Gallup poll “don’t favor statehood” for the District is because they don’t know who we are. I find when I travel that people think we have the same representation all U.S. citizens get. It’s counterintuitive to think that the residents of the capital of the world’s greatest democracy lack democracy. If we want Americans to support us, we need to explain why. We need resources and a strategy.

Surely, if we can spend $200 million on a streetcar that few ride, we can spend more than the pittance we currently dole out to secure our basic civil rights. We need a well-funded, concerted, sustained and strategic effort to educate Americans, not just kiosks in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the occasional rally that draws 100 people or breakfast for the city’s elite on Emancipation Day. It will be great to have a House hearing on statehood in the fall, but we all understand that’s where it will end. To paraphrase the Bard: The fault, dear Petula, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.

Until we understand that and stand united together with the resources to get our message out to America, we will always fall short.

Michael D. Brown, Washington

The writer, a Democrat, is a D.C. shadow senator.