WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 12, 2014 – (RealEstateRama) — The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced that Norton will speak about the 40th anniversary of the Home Rule Act and the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and be honored at a ceremony by the Steering Committee of the District of Columbia Bar’s D.C. Affairs Section tonight, Thursday, December 11, at 6:45 p.m. at the law firm Venable LLC (575 7th Street NW).
The ceremony, entitled “From Civil Rights to Home Rule: Looking Back to Look Forward,” celebrates D.C. home rule and the Civil Rights Act, two causes Norton has championed for nearly her entire life. Norton, an honored guest of the ceremony and third-generation Washingtonian, was invited to offer remarks on both milestones because of her efforts to preserve home rule and protect it from federal interference, and her deep involvement in the civil rights movement.
“I’m honored that the Steering Committee invited me to speak on two issues that continue to have an impact on the work I do,” said Norton. “More importantly, I look forward to celebrating the efforts of those who persevered during the civil rights movement and fought for home rule, especially as they continue to work until D.C. is granted the full rights of self-governance.”
Norton got the only House vote on statehood, in 1993, not long after being elected to Congress. Almost two-thirds of the Democrats and one Republican voted for the bill, giving it a strong start, but the Democrats lost the House majority in the next Congress. Since that vote, Norton was able to get the D.C. House Voting Rights Act through the House in 2007 and the Senate in 2009, which would have given D.C. a voting House member, had it not been derailed by a National Rifle Association-backed amendment that would have wiped out D.C.’s gun safety laws.
Although D.C.’s right to vote on the House floor in the Committee of the Whole, which Norton first won in the 103rd Congress, was approved by the federal courts, Norton continues to, without a vote, pass D.C. bills, successfully fight attacks on home rule, get D.C. rights traditionally afforded to states, expand home rule, get significant new support for D.C. statehood, and build unprecedented momentum for budget autonomy.
Norton was a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the thick of the civil rights movement, and as a student, worked with SNCC to help organize the 1964 Freedom Summer and was on the staff of the 1963 March on Washington. As a young lawyer, she helped write the brief for the Mississippi Democratic Freedom Party that challenged the segregated Mississippi delegation to the 1964 Democratic Convention, and she ran the lobbying challenge to the traditional Mississippi Democratic delegation. Before her congressional service, Norton participated in many aspects of the civil rights movement. She was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to serve as the first woman to chair the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission