Sean Doolittle and Eireann Dolan are DC State activists



Sean Doolittle is from New Jersey and Eireann Dolan, his wife, grew up outside of Chicago. But don’t tell them that the approximately 689,000 people in the District of Columbia have no electoral representation in Congress.

“It’s a matter of life and death,” Dolan said. “I know this sounds dramatic, but…”

“When I tell my family and friends or whoever – people who aren’t from here – it’s like sometimes the voting part doesn’t quite hit, right?” said Doolittle. “Because in their head, people are like, ‘Okay, what are the consequences of this?'”

It’s not a manufactured emotion. They live it. Doolittle is a forever member of the 2019 World Series champion Washington Nationals. But baseball life is nomadic, and he doesn’t know where he’ll pitch next season after recovering from elbow surgery that ended to its 2022.

But this is now their hometown – and a charity event to help support its people, which we’ll get to. Doolittle said it all Friday, sitting on the couch next to Dolan, who tucked her feet under herself in a chair in the living room of the Capitol Hill townhouse they had moved into only earlier this week- the. Their rescue dogs Fiadh – an Irish word meaning wild deer – and Rooney swooped in, making themselves available for scratches. For most nationals, part of September will be spent packing up rented apartments and houses to return to where they live. Doolittle and Dolan are home, because whatever happens with Sean’s baseball career, they are owners who will be spending their offseasons in Washington, D.C., for the foreseeable future.

“We just fell in love with the city,” Doolittle said.

How would Ted Leonsis lead the Nationals? Let’s look at his track record.

That affection grew ahead of the 2017 midseason trade that made him a National. It evolved during off-season holiday visits here, when Doolittle was an Oakland Athletic, before he had any inkling that he would be a star for Washington, before he could consider to post a 1.74 ERA in nine 2019 playoff appearances, including the four outs that closed Game 1 of the World Series and the two outs that closed Game 6.

“Every time we ventured outside the National Mall and the Smithsonian, we were like, ‘This is amazing,'” Dolan said. “It’s one of those things that people visit on their eighth grade trip or whatever, and they see what we saw, which is the National Mall, the monuments and the Smithsonian museums. But there is so much more in the city.

So their decision to sell their place outside of Chicago and buy in the District, where they fled to the Mall the day after the 2017 season. Because they are civic-minded, Dolan and Doolittle embraced not just the city, but the issues of the city. Statehood – or at least electoral representation in Congress – is among the most important. Their interest is not performative. It’s passionate.

“It’s a human rights issue,” Dolan said. “It’s about environmental justice. It’s a matter of racial justice.

An hour-long conversation focused on the District of Columbia’s Organic Act of 1801, which placed DC under the control of Congress. It covered Washington’s uniqueness among other democratic country capitals; the citizens of London, Paris and Brussels all have the right to vote, because of course they do. He covered the difficulty of getting people in other states to first understand, then care, that nearly 700,000 of their fellow citizens don’t have the same government representation as the rest of the country. It covered the idea that it was easier to repress a city that was, until a decade ago, majority black.

“For a long time, at least the last 50, 60 years probably, the demographics of the city were a reason why they were – not thinly veiled — saying, ‘That’s why they don’t get statehood,’ Doolittle said. “Whether they thought the black population and residents here couldn’t run the district, or they were like, ‘This is automatically going to be two electoral votes for the Democrats.

“Whichever way they wanted to go, the demographics of the city were absolutely a reason – and that’s racism – why they didn’t want to nurture statehood.”

They speak the language. They live the language. And so when DC Vote, an organization that promotes electoral representation and statehood for the district, reached out to Nationals to get in touch with Doolittle, he and Dolan were thrilled. On Monday night, they’ll be hosting an event called “Art Drives Statehood” at the Atlas Theater on H Street NE, supporting both DC Vote and a studio called Art Enables, which provides artists with disabilities the opportunity to create, market and sell their own work. . . (Tickets are $51. Do you understand?)

The event is a perfect fit for Doolittle and Dolan, not only because he supports statehood, but also because Dolan’s older brother has autism. Drawing – elaborate and detailed portraits of everything from Buddha to a baseball stadium – is therapeutic for him.

“It’s such a good connection for us,” Dolan said.

Will DC become a state? Explain the obstacles to the creation of a State.

Anyone in the District, Maryland, or Virginia knows DC’s license plates, which now feature the slogan “End Taxation without Representation”, an update of the old “Taxation without Representation”. At Monday’s event, artists with disabilities will unveil their interpretations for a new “Statehood” license plate.

“Art is storytelling,” Dolan said. “It’s telling a personal story, a personal story and experience. I think that’s why it’s a really good story-sharing opportunity for DC artists with disabilities to tell their story. I think the license plate art will reflect their experience living here.

Sean Doolittle’s left arm is still in a splint, and his Nationals contributions for the rest of the season will be limited to rehab when the team is home, perhaps sharing some wisdom gained over the course of the season. of 11 big league seasons and 463 big league. appearances. He turns 36 next month, and whatever baseball’s future holds, he certainly has more games behind him than ahead.

But even though his contributions to the Nationals are over, it looks like his contributions to Washington are just beginning.

“We try to humanize it to connect with people so it can be somewhat relatable,” Doolittle said. “You are not going to sell people by talking about lobbyists. I think the thing that we’ve tied so much to the city is that people have so much pride — civic pride — in living in DC”

Welcome home, Eireann and Sean. Let’s vote.


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