Mayor of Washington, DC calls for a ceasefire
Woman calls for ceasefire at a press conference held by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser earlier this year. | Reddit

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Thursday, April 11, Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, DC, for the first time publicly called for a ceasefire in the Middle East. Local Black pastor, Rev. Anthony Motley, directly asked the mayor at a press conference about addressing the ceasefire in the Middle East and the ongoing violence in Haiti. The mayor initially responded by saying, “You hired me to work on DC issues.”

“The war in the Middle East is painful to watch,” were the words that the mayor minced. “For a lasting peace we need the Jewish people to have a state and for the Palestinian people to have a state,” seemingly weighing in on a political solution for the region, while also calling for a ceasefire and for the hostages to be released.

The Mayor has weighed in on international issues before, though. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the Mayor put Ukrainian flags on display along major DC streets like Pennsylvania Avenue. She also invited the Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States as a guest of honor at her recent holiday party.

After the events of October 7, along with the Wilson Building being lit in the colors of the Israeli flag by Chairperson Mendelson, Mayor Bowser lit the Frederick Douglass bridge in southwest DC in the same colors. Years before, Bowser had developed deeper relations between DC and Israel. Some examples include speaking at several AIPAC conferences and becoming a major trade partner.

Now that the mayor has called for a ceasefire, aligning herself with leading Democrats, she has the opportunity to send a resolution to the chairperson of the council’s desk to put the issue onto the DC council and urge a vote on a resolution. The mayor has largely avoided responding to the genocide in Gaza, but the continued pressure from the DC community, led by the DC for Ceasefire Now Coalition, has forced local DC political officials to change their tone and to respond directly to their constituents.

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Jamal Rich
Jamal Rich

Jamal Rich writes from Washington, D.C. where he is active with the Claudia Jones School for Political Education.