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D.C. Voting Rights Object Of Hunger Strike

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Hunger strikers, From left to right, Sam Jeweler, Kelly Miers, and Adrian Parsons are vowing to drink only water until D.C. residents are granted voting rights.
Patrick Madden
  Hunger strikers, From left to right, Sam Jeweler, Kelly Miers, and Adrian Parsons are vowing to drink only water until D.C. residents are granted voting rights.  

The fight for D.C. Voting rights has taken many forms over the years: huge rallies and marches, congressional lobbying, and even civil disobedience -- like this year’s massive arrests outside the Capitol.  Three members of the Occupy DC movement have launched a hunger strike Thursday for D.C. voting rights.

The demonstrators say they will consume only water until Congress grants D.C. more local autonomy. The men, Adrian Parsons, Sam Jeweler and Kelly Miers, will stay in a clear plastic tent at McPherson square to draw attention to their cause. They are all members of Occupy DC, but their hunger strike is not sponsored by the larger Occupy DC organization.

Before taking the food-free plunge Thursday, the three demonstrators enjoyed one last meal, polishing off some Indian food and fruit smoothies, while a friend delivered a Buddhist blessing.

"Occupy has been talking about a lack of representation among the 99 percent, but we here in D.C. we have 100 percent of its citizens not represented," says Parsons. "We are talking about financial inequality, but we are talking about an inequality that is just as important -- non-representation."

Parsons says he hopes to the change the minds of federal lawmakers on Capitol Hill before they break for recess: "But we are willing to hunger strike until D.C. has the right to vote, budget autonomy and legislative autonomy."

Tomorrow the three men will go to Capitol Hill to deliver their "conditions" for ending the hunger strike.

Residents of the District currently elect a non-voting delegate to Congress, and D.C.'s budget and legislation is subject to congressional approval, despite possessing a larger voting population than the state of Wyoming.


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