Climate dreams from my children

As we kick-off Climate Awareness Month in April, we applaud the promising actions taken so far by the Biden administration on climate breakdown - from key, climate-friendly appointments all across the U.S. executive branch to the 2.2 trillion dollar infrastructure plan announced by President Biden on March 31st.

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“Immigration law is something like a dam that holds back the natural movement of life.”

On March 25th, the Global Hispanic Caucus hosted the event “Immigration Reform: Farmworker and Dreamer Justice” in collaboration with the Global AAPI, LGBTQ, and Youth Caucuses as well as DA Canada, DA Spain, DA Mexico, and DA Germany. The event focused on the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, as well as the separate American Dream and Promise Act (HR-6) and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (HR-1603), which are currently being discussed in Congress. 

The first speaker was Tawheeda Wahabzada, a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipient and the co-founder of Departed Dreamers, a group on social media to gather other DREAMERs & DACA recipients who left the country to provide a personal and professional support group for those who are starting a new chapter of their life in a foreign environment. She was raised in Carson City, NV, and moved back to Toronto, Canada in early 2020. Due to the restrictions put in place by the Trump Administration, she was unable to travel for her job and faced difficulties when talking with politicians, which contributed to her decision to leave. By leaving, it was a “way to finally reclaim [her] agency”. This decision to leave also meant that she cannot re-enter the U.S. for ten years. With the Dream and Promise Act, it will provide a streamlined pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients, as well as for those that do not qualify for DACA, and those with temporary protected status. As the bill moves to the Senate, Tawheeda stressed the importance of pressuring our Democratic Senators to preserve the original language in the Dream and Promise Act.

Eun Suk “Jason” Hong is an ex-DACA recipient from NY/NJ who moved to Madrid, Spain, in August 2019 to pursue a dual Masters degree. He co-founded Departed Dreamers with Tawheeda. Eun Suk shared his story and the sense of relief provided by the passage of DACA, which allowed him and fellow DREAMERs to step out of the shadows and feel like they may be accepted in their communities. For him, “The Dream and Promise Act isn’t about providing a legal status or paper or documents. It’s about giving people their freedom and their humanitarian rights. [...] The Dream and Promise Act is the vaccination that every DREAMER needs.”

Edgar Franks is the Political Director of Familias Unidas por la Justicia. He has worked on a variety of initiatives that led to greater protections and treatment of farmworkers and their families. This union is the only farmworker union to be founded in the last 30 years in the U.S. and is made up of indigenous Mexican people. Edgar spoke to us about the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which was drafted during the Trump Administration and negotiated without much consent from farm labor groups. He pointed out some of the red flags of this bill and why this is not a bill farm workers actually want. This includes making e-verify mandatory, which requires the need of a valid social security number to allow someone to work, and the expansion of the H-2A program or guest worker program that allows employers to limit and control their movements and cap wages, among others.

Nicole Salgado moved into voluntary exile in Central Mexico in 2006 with her husband Margarito Reséndiz. Due to her husband’s immigration record, they had to leave the U.S. and wait ten years to apply for re-entry due to his permanent ban status. She wrote about it in her book Amor and Exile and shared with us the story of her and her family as they tried to re-enter the U.S. This included the psychological toll life in exile took and the stress of the process to re-apply for re-entry. She stressed the need for legislation to include families that are affected by exile and to help build awareness that families are being impacted in this way.

The event ended by the speakers answering some questions from the audience. A recording of the entire event can be viewed here. For those interested in participating in the “DREAM with Us” challenge, presented by the Global Hispanic Caucus, more information is available here.


**Main quote from Nicole Salgado during her talk at the event.

Recap of “Connect the Dots Leadership Workshops”

"It was a really welcoming way for people at any level of involvement to see how the org works and how to find their areas of interest," Sarah Mulloy, Vice Chair North and Central Bavaria Chapter, DA Germany

“I want to also say it was an excellent event and it was great to have so many people there who would not have ordinarily met," Veena Siddharth, Counsel DA Costa Rica

In the past four years, Democrats Abroad (DA) has seen a tremendous amount of growth in its membership. As we saw in 2020, having a strong volunteer base is crucial for achieving success and we will need to make sure we find ways to engage interested volunteers as we prepare for 2022. To introduce our members to the variety of opportunities available with DA, the Global AAPI Caucus and the Global Hispanic Caucus hosted the Connect the Dots Leadership Workshop series.

Three workshops, each at times convenient to members in the three main regions of DA (Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Europe, Middle East, and Africa) were held over a three-week time span. Leaders from the different levels of DA were invited to present about their experiences becoming an active volunteer and leader, and what their current role in DA entails. The speakers included:

  • Global-level leaders: John Eastwood, former DNC member; Martha McDevitt-Pugh, DNC member, Global LGBT Caucus Co-Chair; Aaron Fishbone, Director Global Communications; Julia Bryan, Global DA Chair
  • Regional-level leaders: Kat Allikian, Regional Vice-Chair, Asia-Pacific Region; Merrill Oates, former Regional Vice-Chair, EMEA Region; Will Bakker, Regional Vice-Chair, EMEA Region
  • Country Committee leaders: Samantha Wong, Asia Pacific Deputy Regional Vice-Chair; Adrienne Johnson, Chair, UK Black Caucus and former member of the UK Executive Committee; Quyen Nguyen, Chair, DA Colombia
  • Non-Affiliated leaders: Carmelan Polce, Chair Taxation Task Force; Elisabeth Myers, Democracy Lead for DA-Morocco; Asha Subas, Chair, Global Election Committee; Roz Reymers, Non-Country Committee Coordinator, Americas Region

Virtual Speed Networking, specific Q&A rooms for volunteer teams, and the main plenary gathering provided 3 levels of participation - individual networking, live feedback from current volunteer team members, and presentations on different leadership positions.  

Approximately 500 people that signed up for the workshops. The organizers received positive feedback from both speakers and participants. Moving forward, we hope to host similar events twice a year and bring in more volunteers to help Democrats Abroad continue to grow and reach more voters overseas.

Recipes from Home: Alexander's Vegan Vichyssoise

Wildly popular with my omnivorous household, this recipe for vegan vichyssoise is a potato-leek soup.

It is not, as my honeymooning, proofreading mother once discovered on a Bermudian menu, a potato-"leak" soup. You don't have to wonder what is in it!

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Bridging Climate Change’s Effects … and Causes

The new Biden Administration is making climate change a priority for the United States, after four years of neglect, if not outright denial, under the Trump Administration.

But climate change is a global problem, which requires global solutions, and global support and understanding to help us get there. US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, after a visit to the European Commission, stated that the United States would “work together and with other countries to help the world's most vulnerable cope with the devastating impacts of climate change.“

As Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, we are acutely aware of the effects of climate change on our relatives, friends, and communities that live around the world:

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A Short Reading List on the AAPI Experience

We know many in the AAPI community are in shock after the violent attack in Atlanta earlier this month. It comes after a year of increased rhetoric and violence against AAPI communities since before the pandemic began, and is an intensification of a phenomenon that has happened for a long time.

We felt it was best, at this point, for us to take a step back, and share a reading list: of articles that examine how the events of the past year have affected the AAPI community; of non-fiction books that explore the history and stories of AAPI communities; and of works of fiction that detail AAPI immigrant experiences.

We hope you find this list useful.

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Stop AAPI Hate Vigil - Shareable Graphics

Please download and share these graphics on social media.

Use these posters (or your own sign), take a picture of yourself, email it to us at [email protected], and post it to your Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram page. This is a rolling action and we'll keep adding pictures to our vigil page as we receive images. 

Download the series in A4 format
Download the series in square format

AAPI-Vigil-PrintOut.jpg AAPI-Vigil-Posters_A4.jpg
AAPI-Vigil-Posters2_sq.jpg AAPI-Vigil-Posters3_sq.jpg
AAPI-Vigil-Posters4_sq.jpg AAPI-Vigil-Posters4_sq.jpg
 Download the series in A4 format Download the series in square format


Click here for this deck in color.
Click here for this deck in black and white.

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Book Club Event Review: The Dancing Girl and the Turtle

The AAPI Caucus was thrilled to host DA member and author Karen Kao for our discussion of her novel The Dancing Girl and the Turtle. The first part of her Shanghai Quartet, The Dancing Girl and the Turtle is a harrowing, immersive story of loss, violence, and power during one of the most tumultuous times of Chinese history.

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Tofu Tuesdays!

Tofu Kofta… Mapo Tofu… Crispy Tofu Sisig… spicy, flavourful, mouthwatering!

Our diverse AAPI heritage offers up not only a banquet of tofu, but also a myriad of other delicious vegetarian and vegan dishes to entice us and satisfy our taste buds. A predominantly vegetarian or vegan diet is both healthier for us and for our planet as a whole.

That’s why we’re collecting your favorite vegetarian and vegan recipes for Tofu Tuesdays! We don’t have to go cold turkey (on turkey), and we don’t even have to eat tofu. But going meatless just one day a week helps to reduce our carbon footprint from food, as livestock contributes a whopping 14.5% of total greenhouse gas emissions.

With Climate Month and Earth Day right around the corner in April, we need your vegetarian and vegan recipes. So lend us Grandma’s tofu miso soup. Entice us with your veggie Poke Bowl. Make our taste buds cry for joy from your spicy Saag Paneer. Submit your recipes here.

Help us make Tuesdays more Tofu!


Photo by Eiliv-Sonas Aceron on Unsplash

March News: AAPI Networking in Asia Pacific and EMEA

February flew by and we hope that you could join one of our events this past month. We hosted two film screenings of the Grace Lee Boggs documentary “American Revolutionary”, a book club event with author and fellow Democrats Abroad member Karen Kao, and two “Connect the Dots” Leadership Workshops with the Hispanic Caucus. We still have one more workshop this coming Sunday, March 7th at 3:30pm EST - all are welcome to join! Thank you to everyone that was able to join and make these events a success.

We will be continuing our Teatime series this month with one on Wednesday, March 3rd at an Asia-Pacific-friendly time and on Wednesday, March 24th at a Europe-friendly time. The first event, which you can read about here, was a great success and a wonderful way to meet other members of the caucus. 

At the end of the month, we will be hosting a film discussion about Parasite with the Progressive Caucus. We'll watch some short clips from the movie and discuss them. We do recommend that you watch the entire movie prior to the event.

As we’re sure many of you have seen, there have been a number of attacks against members of the AAPI community in the United States. For resources on dealing with racism specifically related to the coronavirus, you can check out the Asian Americans Advancing Justice. We hope that everyone continues to remain safe, wherever you are, and that all of your family and friends in the U.S. are also safe. Please stay tuned for an event discussing this rise in attacks and what we can do to fight AAPI racism.

We look forward to meeting you at one of our events this month!

Best wishes,

Cory J. Lemke and Emily Lines

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