Dozens of American flags on display in D.C. Friday have a small addition that carries big meaning: each has 51 stars.
Some 140 of these special flags were put up along Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the U.S. Capitol.
They were installed ahead of a Monday morning parade planned along Pennsylvania Avenue, called a 51 Star Flag Salute to D.C. Statehood.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and veterans from the city will take part.
Mini-versions of the 51-star flag will be handed out to participants and onlookers.
The parade is one in a series of events leading up to Thursday morning’s hearing on a statehood bill before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform.
It will be the first House hearing on D.C. statehood since 1993.
The bill, introduced in January by D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, has 219 co-sponsors. A similar bill in the Senate has more than 30 co-sponsors.
On Friday, Barbara Helmick with the group DC Vote said during a livestreamed event on the mayor’s Facebook page that many D.C. residents have served in the military and have even given their lives for their country without having full representation in Congress.
“We had more people die during the Vietnam War than many of the states. We do what’s required of good citizenship, yet we have no voice. It is un-American. It is unfair. It is discrimination, and it must end,” Helmick said.
Bowser will be among those testifying Thursday. Beverly Perry, Bowser’s senior adviser, said the mayor will demand a vote on statehood.
“All Americans are entitled to equal treatment. I mean, should we be disenfranchised by a Zip code?” Perry said.