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D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray says this weekend's rally to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington should serve as a rallying cry for D.C. statehood.
Gray unveiled plans for a rally at the D.C. War Memorial on Saturday morning ahead of the main speeches later that day at the Lincoln Memorial. The War Memorial, which is located on the National Mall, is a tribute to the D.C. residents who fought and died during World War I.
Gray says it's a fitting reminder of the sacrifices that city residents continue to make while being denied autonomy in Congress. "We send our relatives, sons and daughters , our grandchildren out to fight wars in faraway places and yet they come and continue to be denied full democracy here in the District of Columbia," Gray says.
He also compares the conditions that led to the March on Washington to the conditions experienced by District residents, who do not have voting representation in Congress and lack the same autonomy granted to the states.
"Two-hundred and fifty thousands people showed up here because they were sick and tired of the disenfranchisement that existed in this country, they were sick and tired of turning their television on and seeing people being hosed down and seeing dogs being sicced on people. Well we don't have dogs sicced on us or being hosed down but we might as well be, given the indignity to which we are subjected in our city," he says.
Gray wouldn't provide an estimate for how many people he expects to show up, but he says 100 organizations have signed to help on Saturday. On Thursday organizers will be meeting at Freedom Plaza to make signs for Saturday's march.