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D.C. Residents Celebrate Flag Day With Tattoos

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Ally Behnke, co-founder of D.C. Flag Day with her permanent D.C. flag tattoo.
Cynthia Eyram Ofori-Dwumfuo
Ally Behnke, co-founder of D.C. Flag Day with her permanent D.C. flag tattoo.

Hundreds of people waving D.C. flags and inked with D.C. flag tattoos paraded around Dupont Circle Friday evening for the third annual D.C. Flag Day.

The event is focused on promoting voting rights in the District. It started when D.C. native Ally Behnke's friend was arrested for blocking traffic during a D.C. voting rights demonstration in 2011.

In a show of solidarity, Behnke got a tattoo on her right arm and decided with her friends to spread the sentiment by passing out temporary tattoos, promoting voting rights for D.C., every year since.

"It started around being D.C. Flag Tattoo Day because so many people in Washington, D.C. have D.C. flag tattoos, or D.C. pride tattoos, but as you go around the city, you see the D.C. flag everywhere, and it turned into D.C. Flag Day because D.C. doesn't have a star on the American flag."

For the first time this year, the friends — now organized as Let Us Vote D.C. — are encouraging supporters to change their social media profile pictures to the District's three stars and two stripes.

"It'll bring awareness to their friends and people outside of Washington, D.C. who don't realize that Washington, D.C. is not a state, and we don't have any representation in Congress," she says.

Their D.C. flag tattoo idea has caught on. District Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton often gets a flag tattoo, temporary, of course.

"We get people with real tattoos to show off their tats," says Let Us Vote D.C. co-founder BrookeLynn Locke. "I'm a little too chicken to do that."

But other residents aren't so squeamish, including former Shadow Representative Mike Panetta and activist Bryan Weaver, who each decided to get real D.C. flag tattoos two years ago.

Video: D.C. Flag Tattoo Day 2011

U.S. Shadow Representative Mike Panetta and former ANC commissioner Bryan Weaver get D.C. flag tattoos.

DC Flag Tattoo Day - June 14 from Brandon Bloch on Vimeo.

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