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New student group to campaign for D.C. statehood

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Danielle Mahar.

GW students will be officially joining in on the effort to make D.C. a state.

Students from the University will help to create the first Students for D.C. Statehood chapter next fall, Angel Zhang, a sophomore who is also a chair for the organization, said. Zhang said the group’s goal at GW is to have more voter awareness events and enhance leaders and the local government.

“People don’t realize how much we can do locally,” Zhang said.

The Students for D.C. Statehood hosted a reception at the One Washington Hotel Thursday for the Unrepresented Nations and People Organization, which represents minorities and unrecognized territories to preserve their environment, protect their rights and find non-violent solutions to conflicts within their country, according to the UNPO website.

Washington, D.C. was admitted to UNPO on Nov. 7 after U.S. Sen. Paul Strauss, the shadow senator for D.C., pushed for the District to be accepted to the group, he said at the reception.

“The UNPO has admitted us as the only territory in North America to be a full-fledged member in UNPO,” Strauss said.

The UNPO is a non-profit organization that is “based on values of democracy, human rights, tolerance, self-determination and non-violence,” Johanna Green, the UNPO program manager, said.

D.C.’s new membership in UNPO will help the new student organization and strengthen the movement for statehood, the leaders of Students for D.C. Statehood said.

“Getting admitted to UNPO is another platform that introduces more resources for our organization,” Zhang said.

The group’s president will be Matt Pesusek, a sophomore majoring in international affairs. Pesusek and Zhang have been trying to get the word out for the group to the GW community by distributing fliers and emails.

He said the group plans on helping D.C. achieve statehood by getting more students involved.

“Hopefully we’ll get to the point that D.C. becomes a state,” Pesusek said.

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