A commission working out the logistics of Washington, D.C.'s bid for statehood decided this week if they’re successful in becoming the 51st state, it should be called “New Columbia,” the Washington Post reported.
New Columbia beat out suggestions like “the State of Washington, D.C.,” “Anacostia,” “Douglass Commonwealth” and “Potomac,” according to WAMU, American University radio in Washington. It emerged as the victor in part because voters have technically already approved it once — in 1982, another time Washingtonians pushed to become a state.
“It’s the only name that’s even been voted on by the people of the District of Columbia,” shadow Sen. Michael Brown told WAMU. “For 34 years, people have used this name to push this movement forward.”
Brown is just one member of the statehood commission, which, in addition to approving the new name, drafted a constitution this week. The members hope the statehood issue will be debated at the Democratic National Convention July 25-28 in Philadelphia and pick up steam from there. Eventually, they plan to hold a citywide vote and petition Congress for recognition, according to the campaign’s website.
The movement has gained support from political leaders like Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. However, Patch noted the Republican-controlled Congress probably won’t allow New Columbia to be the 51st state because its residents are mostly liberal.
In any case, not everyone is a fan of the new name. Critics said New Columbia was too connected to Christopher Columbus, whose legacy has been scrutinized because of his link with colonization, WUSA-TV, a CBS affiliate in Washington, reported.
“If D.C. is going to convince members of Congress from the rest of the country that it should be a state, it needs to offer a much better name, and not just because New Columbia would create some ugly postal-code confusion with North Carolina,” the Washingtonian wrote Wednesday. “It needs a name that calls back to its geography, history or culture.”