By Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair
It goes without saying that the 2016 US presidential election was a shock to pretty much everyone. While most of us still have the “what if” soundtrack replaying in our heads, a number of things have become clear since Trump’s inauguration on 21 January 2017. First and foremost, we, as citizens, not only stand up for our beliefs, we also get involved, we get organized, and we get active. So, regardless of the threat to our democracy that many of us perceive, we’ve proven that our voices can be heard.
This is why I’m excited and looking forward to my coming term as Chair of Democrats Abroad Austria.
The critical issues that are keeping thousands of activists busy in the US and across the globe are the very same issues, actions, and events that are generating a new wave of members to become actively involved in DAA and will enable Democrats Abroad to help take back the Senate and turn Congress blue in 2018.
Directly after the November 2016 election, DAA couldn’t just sit still so, instead, we stepped up and responded in the best ways we knew: we organized a vigil; we joined in with and supported Caroline Kirkpatrick, who organised the “Women’s March on Washington” here in Vienna; and we gave our whole-hearted suport to the newly formed DAA Grassroots activists and started working on their monthly Solidarity Sundays. We’re investing a LOT of energy!
Over the coming two years, my goal as DAA Chair is to build on that energy and move it towards, not just the ExComm, but encouraging each and every one of us to take one step up. If you registered to vote from abroad, help us now to register others to vote for the 2018 mid-term elections. If you went to an event before, now help organize one. If you thought something wasn’t working right, then step up and help change it for the better. If each and every one of us takes just one little step up to the next higher level of participation, come November ‘18, we will have generated a Democrats activists’ storm–let’s make it a Category 5!
The new Executive Committee looks forward to meeting and working with many volunteers over the next few years! We would also sincerely like to thank our retiring board members, Mary Ann Balko-Koch, Stanley Hale, Christian Gauster, Eva Ciabattoni, and Fred Robinson for all their enthusiasm, hard work and commitment over the past years.