What Next

Why Don’t D.C. Residents Count?

Washington has never had a voting representative in Congress. For many, the fight for statehood has been lifelong.


Episode Notes

Growing up in D.C. during the civil rights era made the fight for D.C. statehood deeply personal for civil rights advocate Wade Henderson. He’s said that being unable to secure a voting representative in Congress is one of his greatest disappointments. Christina Cauterucci speaks with Henderson about the fight for statehood and why he still has hope for the movement.

This episode is a part of Slate’s Who Counts? initiative. In the run-up to the 2020 election, Slate will be investigating who counts in the voting booth, who counts as an American, whose money counts in the democratic process, and whose doesn’t. And we need your help. Your support will let us assign more stories, travel to overlooked places, commission special podcast projects, and pay for reporting we otherwise would not be able to do. To learn more about this project and how to support our work, please go to slate.com/whocounts.

Guest: Wade Henderson, former head of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Related reading: “Getting to 51,” by Joshua Keating.

Podcast production by Mary Wilson, Jayson De Leon, Danielle Hewitt, and Mara Silvers.

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About the Show

The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

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  • Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of What Next, Slate's new daily news podcast. She has reported throughout the public radio system, for NPR, Marketplace, and WNYC.

  • Christina Cauterucci is a Slate senior writer.