What's in a Name? How About Voting Rights?

By Nancy Norman
|  Tuesday, May 3, 2011  |  Updated 9:25 PM EDT
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What's in a Name? How About Voting Rights?

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The first street is Pennsylvania Avenue. President Barack Obama’s home address at the White House. It would be called “D.C. Statehood Way.” Next would be Independence Avenue -- that spacious sweep of a street that leads to the Capitol building. It would be called “Let D.C. Vote Way.”  And then there is Constitution Avenue, famous for it’s grand patriotic parades. It would be called “Free D.C. Avenue.”

Those are the street names D.C. Councilman Michael Brown is proposing to call attention to the District's lack of voting rights in Congress, selected by the public in an online survey. A second proposal swaps the suggested names for Pennsylvania and Independence avenues.

The original street names wouldn’t be changed. That would almost be sacrilege in the nation’s capitol. Rather, ceremonial street designation signs would go up under the current signs.

Hey, it just might happen. Take for example the D.C. license plates that read “No taxation without representation.”  Who thought when that idea was first proposed that it would actually happen?  It has, and tourists have gotten an education in the city's lack of voting rights.

Brown hopes more reminders in the form of street names just might push D.C. voting rights a little closer to becoming reality.

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