News

October Newsletter


Gearing up for 2020 – 

Despite how seamless and effortless we all would like the voting process to be, the fact is that it isn’t. People forget to change their party affiliation in time to vote in closed primaries, to register every calendar year, and to actually mail in their registration form and/or ballot. Many Americans don’t even know they actually can vote when living abroad!

Democrats Abroad and Vote from Abroad are of course here to help all Americans through the process and advocate for voters when there are snags in the system.

There is a lot of preparation work to do as we gear up for 2020 and we’re already getting started. We’re signing up volunteers for the vital work of registering and reminding people here and at home to register and vote; we’re developing our communications, press and social media teams to provide critical services; and we’re signing up call hub volunteers so we can hit the phones in January. All, of course, while we’re still providing the fun and interesting monthly events that our members have come to expect from DA Austria.

If this sounds like a lot, it’s because it is. As Obama’s campaign manager David Plouffe (podcast: Campaign HQ) said on Pod Save America (Whistle While You Spy, 9.19.19), “We better prepare for an epic battle.” DA needs to stand united to work together to register Americans at home and living abroad, and to get out the vote.

Our members are the margin for victory in many elections and we’ve got a democracy to take back. We hope you’ll be a part! DAAVolunteer

– DA Austria Executive Committee

photo: Seymann - Die Weinhandwerkerei im Pulkautal

In This Issue –

Events:

  • Global Black Caucus Book Club VIII
  • Experienced Dems
  • Debate Watch Party IV
  • Solidarity Sundays
  • Thanksgiving

Issues & Actions:

  • DAA Executive Committee Changes
  • Tax Advocacy Meetings in DC
  • Gearing up for 2020
    • Voter Registration Drive
    • Now is the Time
    • It’s All About Turnout!

Reviews:

  • GOTV/Membership Drive @ David Sedaris
  • September’s Watch Party
  • Solidarity Sundays on Gerrymandering

Members Corner:

  • Disinformation, Cybersecurity, and Online Influence: Lessons from Eastern Europe

Events

 

GBC Book Club VIII

Becoming

Come join us at the next book club where we will finally discuss the New York Timesbest seller Becoming by Harvard educated lawyer, university administrator and former First Lady Michelle Obama. We will also be discussing the next three books we will read! We hope to see you Friday, October 4th at 7pm. Location will be given with your RSVP.

– Faith Hall-Herbold, DAA Global Black Caucus Coordinator

When: October 4, 2019, 7:00 p.m.

Where: Location will be given with your RSVP, 1080 Vienna

RSVP: Black Caucus Book Club

 

Experienced Dems

Join us at the monthly meeting of Experienced Democrats. All are welcome!

When: October 15, 2019, 6:00 p.m.

Where: Cafe Museum, 1010 Vienna

RSVP: Experienced Dems

 

Debate Watch Party

Winnowing is the word. The next Debate Watch Party will again be at Beaver Brewing Company at 7pm on October 16th. We look forward to seeing you there for another round of democratic drinks, debate and discussion!

When: October 16, 2019, 7:00 p.m.

Where: Beaver Brewing Company, 1090 Vienna

RSVP: Debate Watch Party

 

Sol Sun 27: High Crimes and Misdemeanors

Google searches for "impeachment" are skyrocketing as scandals pile up around the White House. Join Solidarity Sundays for a look at the ins and outs of the process to charge, try and remove public officials for misconduct.

And if it's not a topic anymore, we'll be celebrating.

When: October 27, 2019, 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Where: Amerlinghaus, 1070 Vienna

RSVP: Sol Sun #26

 

A Feast With All The Fixings

On Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 28th at 7PM, we invite our Democratic friends and families to our annual Thanksgiving Dinner.

We have made reservations for 60 at Melker Stiftskeller in the 1st district. We’ll have a large private room all to ourselves under the arches of an almost 600 year old cellar built and owned by the monks from Melk. There will be a buffet with a 3-course feast including pumpkin soup, turkey with all the fixings – mashed potatoes, roasted red beets and sweet potatoes, green beans, red cabbage, stuffing, cranberry sauce – and dessert.

If you can, please bring a pumpkin or pecan pie. They are always very appreciated!

–––

Tickets are 25 Euros for adults and 12 Euros for children under 12. RSVP at https://www.democratsabroad.org/at_eventsThis event sold out last year, so be sure to reserve your tickets early!

– Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair

When: November 28, 2019, 7:00 p.m.

Where: Melker Stiftskeller, 1010 Vienna

RSVP: Thanksgiving Dinner


Issues & Actions:

 

DAA Executive Committee Changes

The Executive Committee would like to give a huge thank you to Keith Jacomine who has over the years been a fantastic ExComm leader. Keith was Chair of DA Austria from 2013 to 2017 and has been serving as Vice Chair since. Under his leadership DAA held a very successful 2016 Global Presidential Primary, doubled our membership, and developed a good dose of fun in Fun-raisers and other DAA events. Both Keith and Kate have played a vital role in increasing active membership engagement as well as being so generous as they opened up their home for DAA events many times over the years and have contributed in every way possible both within Austria and in representing DA Austria Abroad. Family obligations have required the two to be in the US for the time being, but we look forward to having him back in Vienna soon!

 

“I am very honored to have been appointed as the new Vice-Chair of Democrats Abroad Austria by the ExComm Board. I will be replacing Keith, who has done a tremendous job as past Chair and Vice-Chair, and I want to say a big thank you for all his great work.” Many of you know Juan Cerda as the Co-coordinator of Sunday Solidarity Sundays and as leader of our LGBT Caucus. Juan will bring his considerable experience in political campaigning, phone banking, and event organizing skills to the ExComm Board. Juan said, “We have a great Board and super volunteers with incredibly talented people, and I know we will accomplish a lot during a very critical election year in 2020.”

 

Tax Advocacy Meetings in DC

The Taxation Task Force published a report this weekabout our expat tax advocacy meetings on Capitol Hill the week commencing Monday, September 16th.

READ MORE

 

Gearing up for 2020

Over the next months, this column will provide a space for the thoughts, opinions and announcements from both the DA Executive Committee and our members. While we may not endorse or support any particular candidate before the primaries, we are interested in sharing ideas about what Democrats can and will do to win up and down the ballot in 2020.

– Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair

 

l. Voter Registration Drive

The last week of September, DA Austria had a total of four voter registration events for study abroad students at IES (Institute for the International Education of Students) and Webster University registering students and faculty to vote. It went really well – the students and staff are appreciative that registering is made so easy by the fact that we come to them. People often have questions and being there makes it very simple for them and provides clarity.

During the week we registered more than 30 people and we expect to do as well or better in the next few months! I will be holding more events in different venues in November and again in January 2020. Anyone who would like to join should please contact me at r.saul@democratsabroad.at. Let me know if you have ideas of where you think we should have a GOTV event.

– Raina Saul-Ganev, Voter Registration Coordinator

 

ll. Now is the Time –

Vote in 2019 and Prepare for 2020!

  1. Do you, your friends or family vote in Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey or Virginia? These states all have important state elections in 2019. Now is the time to request your ballot!
  2. Did you have trouble voting in 2018? Now is the time to work with us and your local election officials to fix those issues.
  3. Are you switching party affiliation or registering to vote for the first time? Voters in states with closed primaries need to switch party affiliation or register for the first time NOW! Deadlines – KY: Oct 7, 2019; LA: Oct 16, 2019; NY: Oct 11, 2019; VA: Oct 15, 2019. https://www.headcount.org/deadlines-dates/

 

lll. It's All About Voter Turnout!

by Mary Ann Balko-Koch

I feel very passionate about voter turnout! The problem we as Dems need to concentrate/focus on IS TURNOUT! #1 issue as far as I’m concerned. We need to make sure that people actually go out and vote!

In 2010 I was lucky enough to be on one of the Huffington Post buses to go to the John Stewart rally in Washington DC. This event was shortly before the midterm elections that year. As I asked the young people on the bus line around me if they were all voting on the following Tuesday, I received many excuses as to why they weren’t - they were studying in NY from another state, they had to work that day, they had just moved to NY, etc.. I knew right then and there that we were going to lose the midterm elections. When Obama came out and said that we got shellacked in the midterm elections, I took his word for it. BUT (years later it was clear) we didn’t! According to a pew research poll, only 37% of the voting age population came out and voted.

I think Obama handled this poorly at the time. Imagine if he had come...

READ MORE


Reviews:

 

GOTV/Membership Drive @ David Sedaris

DA Austria is thinking outside the box. After having a very successful GOTV event (and hearing some fantastic music) at the David Byrne concert last year, we’re taking our voter registration efforts to other unusual venues where Americans might be. In September, the team registered voters at the David Sedaris show at Gartenbaukino and DA Austria even got a shout out from him!

Send us your idea of a spot we should visit next. IdeasFor2020

 

September’s Watch Party

Democrats in Austria enjoyed watching the Democratic primary candidates at Beaver Brewing Company on September 13th. We hope you’ll join us at October’s watch party!

 

 

Solidarity Sundays 26:

The Amazing Disappearing Voter

We spend lots of time debating candidates, their health plans, climate plans, can they beat Donald Trump? None of this will matter if we don’t focus more on maybe the greatest vulnerability Democrats face in 2020: the Republican war on voting.

Republicans know the majority does not agree with them. They’re using their advantage in state legislatures to erase minority and young voters – to make the electorate as white, old, and Republican as possible. Because states determine voting rules, we’re waging a national battleover voting rights, but fighting it state by state, in courts, and over arcane rules that increase barriers to the ballot.

September 29, Solidarity Sundays took a deep dive into voter suppression. Before the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965, literacy tests and poll taxes kept minorities from voting. Today, it is administrative burden, absentee ballots lost in the mail, and closed polling places. Modern suppression makes it look like you made a mistake, not that the system is mistaken.

The most sinister GOP tactic is voter purging– removing registered citizens from voting rolls. Since the Supreme Court struck down the Preclearance Section of the VRA in 2013, the pace of purging has grown exponentially.

What steps can you take to protect yourright to vote? Register to vote every January. Then double check: sometimes names get removed by mistake. Or by people who hate – what’s the word? – democracy.

Solidarity Sundays attendees wrote postcards to voters from Virginia. Both the house and senate are up for election. Winning both chambers would put Democrats in charge of re-drawing gerrymandered districts, and make Virginia the 38th – and final -- state needed to ratify the ERA.


Members Corner:

 

Disinformation, Cybersecurity, and Online Influence: Lessons from Eastern Europe

U.S. Embassy Austria

Nina Jankowicz, Wilson Center

Alexander Schatten, SBA Research

Moderated by Christoph Zotter, Profil

RSVP: viennaprograms@state.gov

When: October 10, 2019, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Amerika Haus, Friedrich-Schmidt-Platz 2, 1010 Vienna

ID required


Tax Advocacy Meetings in DC

The Taxation Task Force published a report this week about our expat tax advocacy meetings on Capitol Hill the week commencing Monday, September 16th. 

READ MORE


It's All About Voter Turnout

by Mary Ann Balko-Koch, DAA member and former Database Manager

I feel very passionate about voter turnout! The problem we as Dems need to concentrate/focus on IS TURNOUT! #1 issue as far as I’m concerned. We need to make sure that people actually go out and vote! 

In 2010 I was lucky enough to be on one of the Huffington Post buses to go to the John Stewart rally in Washington DC. This event was shortly before the midterm elections that year.  As I asked the young people on the bus line around me if they were all voting on the following Tuesday, I received many excuses as to why they weren’t - they were studying in NY from another state, they had to work that day, they had just moved to NY, etc..  I knew right then and there that we were going to lose the midterm elections. When Obama came out and said that we got shellacked in the midterm elections, I took his word for it. BUT (years later it was clear) we didn’t! According to a pew research poll, only 37% of the voting age population came out and voted. 

I think Obama handled this poorly at the time. Imagine if he had come out and said the following, “The Republicans are going to tell you that we got shellacked in these midterm elections. Don’t you believe them. Only 37% of you showed up to vote! Where were the rest of you? I thought you had my back! Folks, democracy can’t survive on 63% of you not showing up and participating in this process!” Then, maybe voters would have been aware of how few people vote and how important voting is, especially in the midterm elections. Maybe voter apathy could have been avoided in 2016. (You can’t fight what you’re not aware of.)

We can contact every Democrat on the planet in a GOTV campaign but if they don’t show up to vote, our efforts are useless.

Here are more statistics where it’s all about voter TURNOUT - 

AOC vs Crowley in 2018 primary - after all votes in, 11.8% turnout decided this primary.

https://nypost.com/2018/06/28/most-voters-stayed-home-for-stunning-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-win/

Doug Jones vs Roy Moore

This, for me, says it all as far as turnout goes - 25% turnout was expected, 40% showed up https://www.al.com/news/2017/12/turnout_exceeds_expectations_i.html

Most recently - NC9 2018 votes for McCready vs 2019 votes for McCready.

Almost 100,000 vote difference in the number of voters who turned out to vote in the special election.  If McCready had only received the same number of votes as in 2018, he would have won.

We can contact every Democrat on the planet in a GOTV campaign but if they don’t show up to vote, our efforts are useless. We need to do a better job of educating voters in the following ways:

  1. Don’t pay attention to polls!
  2. Register/request an absentee ballot on January 2, 2020. Get ahead of state deadlines. 
  3. Once a candidate is nominated then all money and effort goes into GOTV as well as education: 
    1. register those not yet registered
    2. educate people on where their polling places are, how are they getting there (carpooling?), voting buddies, voting rights, especially if someone tries to turn them away from the polls (what can they do?) 
    3. absentee ballots, special elections
    4. stress TURNOUT, TURNOUT, TURNOUT!! Our focus has to be on turnout - aim for 100% and maybe we will get 65%.
  4. IGNORE the polls!! IGNORE the pundits!! Don’t take anything for granted and Don’t count your chickens before they hatch!

In 2016 the turnout for both R & D primaries/caucuses was 28%.  

https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/06/10/turnout-was-high-in-the-2016-primary-season-but-just-short-of-2008-record/

When almost 3/4 of eligible voters do not participate in the democratic process, it's no wonder that people are dissatisfied with the choice of their candidates come the general election. Somehow they don’t realize that it’s their own fault when they don’t participate in the process.

Maybe we need to offer courses - Civics 101!


September Newsletter

Events 

  • Presidential Primary Debate Watch Party
  • Salzburg Meet-Up
  • Experienced Dems 
  • Solidarity Sundays 
  • Black Caucus Book Club
  • DA EMEA Regional Meeting

Issues & Actions

  • Upcoming Elections 
  • Volunteer Opportunities

Reviews

  • Black Caucus Book Club
  • Presidential Primary Debate Watch Parties Round Two 

Around Town

  • American Diplomacy in a Disordered World
  • Vienna Humanities Festival 

 

ExComm Dates for September and October

DA Austria’s Executive Committee meetings are normally at 7pm on the second Wednesday of the month. However, due to travels the September meeting will be moved. Our next meetings will be held on: 

  • September ExComm: Thursday, September 5
  • October ExComm: Wednesday, October 9

Please contact Jennifer at chair@democratsabroad.at for the location, if you’d like to come. 

 


 

Events:

Are We There Yet? Presidential Primary Debate Watch Party

What top issues do you want to see addressed in the next #DemDebate? Here's your chance to let the Democratic Party know. All questions you submit will be shared by debate media partners here.

The 10 candidates who have already qualified are: former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.; Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.; the former housing secretary Julián Castro; Senator Kamala Harris of California; Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas; Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont; Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; and the entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

Join us on September 13 at Beaver Brewery Company. Come early to get a bite to eat and a beer and then settle in as we listen to the wealth of talent that makes up the slate of 2020 democratic presidential candidates and discuss what they have to say.

When:  Friday, September 13, from 7pm

Where:  Beaver Brewing Company, Liechtensteinstraße 69, 1090 Vienna

Contact:  Faith Hall-Herbold, f.hall-herbold@democratsabroad.at

RSVP: Debate Watch Party

 

Salzburg Meet-Up

DA Members and others are warmly invited to join us for a meet-up in Salzburg on the day after the third presidential primary debate. There will certainly be a lot to discuss!

The location is not yet fixed, but it will be in the vicinity of the Salzburg main train station. Please email me at m.kollert@democratsabroad.at if you are interested and then I can give you the location. It does not have to be a firm RSVP, but that is how you'll know where to join us!

When:  Friday, September 13, from 5:30pm

Where:  TBD, Near the main train station, 5020 Salzburg

Contact:  Mary Beth Kollert, m.kollert@democratsabroad.at for location

RSVP: Salzburg Meet-Up

 

Experienced Dems Meet-Up

First meeting of the 2019-2020 year!

The Experienced Dems look forward to seeing democrats and interested folks at our monthly meet-up to discuss the latest in politics and current affairs. We start at six, but you're welcome to join at any time.

Remember, you don't have to be grey to be experienced! 

When:  Tuesday, September 17, from 6pm

Where:  Cafe Museum, Operngasse 7, 1010 Vienna

Contact:  John Cahill, j.cahill@democratsabroad.at

RSVP: Experienced Dems

 

Solidarity Sundays 26:  The Amazing Disappearing Voter

Voter Suppression undermines democracy and the legitimacy of elected officials. It also changes legislative outcomes:  gun restrictions, child-care subsidies, prescription drug price reduction, and green energy bills are widely popular with voters. Each time one of these bills passes in the House, the Republican majority in the Senate blocks it. Let’s be clear:  there wouldn’t be a Republican majority in the Senate if the electorate looked more like America. And the electorate keeps shrinking, becoming whiter and more Republican, due to voter suppression.

Solidarity Sundays believes democracy isn’t a fight, it’s a practice. For our September meet-up we’ll discuss voter suppression, and the organizations pushing back. Bring ideas to share on how Americans living abroad might contribute to the battle for Voting Rights back home.

What:  Coffee, Cookies, and Civics

When:  Sunday, September 29, from 4-6pm

Where:  Amerlinghaus, Stiftgasse 8, 1070 Vienna

Contact:  Tanya Lolonis, solidaritysundays@democratsabroad.at

RSVP: Solidarity Sundays

 

Black Caucus Book Club

At October's book club we will discuss the New York Times bestseller Becoming by Harvard educated lawyer, university administrator and former First Lady, Michelle Obama.

Come join us!

When:  Friday, October 4, from 7pm

Where:  TBD Vienna

Contact:  Faith Hall-Herbold, f.hall-herbold@democratsabroad.at

RSVP: Black Caucus Book Club

 

DA EMEA Regional Meeting

Do you want to dump Crazy Trump and ditch Moscow Mitch? Do you want to be one of the thousands of DA members around the globe to get out the vote and make that happen? 

If so, you’ll want to join Democrats Abroad as we get together for a series of workshops, training sessions, and presentations to prepare for the 2020 election. There will also be a welcome reception by DA Greece, caucus events, a cocktail reception, and a gala dinner. 

This is a fantastic way to experience the breadth and depth of DA’s leadership talent, exchange ideas, and keep up with 2020 get out the vote plans. I’ll be there with some other Excomm members – we hope you’ll join us! 

Please feel free to contact me at chair@democratsabroad.at with any questions you may have. For more detailed information about the DA EMEA Regional Meeting and to RSVP, click on the link

– Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair DA Austria

What:  Democrats Abroad Regional Meeting for Europe, Middle East, and Africa

When:  October 12-14, 2019

Where:  Athens, Greece

RSVP: EMEA Regional Meeting 

 



Issues & Actions:

 

How to Make A Difference at Home

Sleepy special and state elections may seem minor, but we should all be aware by now just how important state governors and legislatures can be as a push-back to Trump and his devastating policies. That’s why if you vote in any of the following six states please make sure to spread the word to your family, friends, and social media contacts to vote in the 2019 elections! 

This autumn will see special elections in North Carolina Districts 3 and 9. NC-9 is having a special election because of ballot tampering. Read More 

There are also five states — Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia — that will hold General Elections in November 2019 for state executive offices, state legislative offices or both. 

Don’t forget overseas voters need to submit the Federal Postcard Application (FPCA)to request a ballot each calendar year to be guaranteed to receive ballots for elections in that year. Absentee ballots will be sent out on September 21.

First-time voters may simultaneously register to vote and request a ballot using the FPCA if the form is submitted according to the voter registration deadline. All other voters must submit the FPCA by the ballot request deadline

For more information about what’s on the ballots in the State elections and how to register to vote, go to What is on the Ballot in 2019? 

 

We Can’t Win Without You!

DA Austria is looking for people to fill the following positions so together we can dump Trump and elect Democrats up and down the ballot in 2020!

It will take a village to do all the things we need to do. Here are some opportunities to help:

  1. Take our Volunteer Survey. We are looking for volunteers in all areas.
  2. DA Austria is looking for members interested in heading our Youth Caucus and Hispanic Caucus and other vital positions. Find out more information about how to join our team
  3. Do you have an idea? We're looking for suggestions on how we can connect with more Americans in Austria, find places to advertise, events to have, and any suggestions you have to get more people to vote.  Bookmark this link and submit your ideas at any time.

 


 

Reviews:

 

GBC Book Club 

The group met up at a private location to discuss We were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Each chapter represented a year in the presidency of Barack Obama. The presidency of Barack Obama was monumental and was nearly scandal free, a far cry from the current administration. Coates, as well as the rest of the nation, are still analyzing the factors that lead to individuals voting first for Obama and then for Trump, including what racially motivated factors that were at play beyond the standard “economic anxiety” that was put forward as a main cause. Coates uses the historical precedence of the Reconstruction era that saw the successful integration of African Americans into the political and socioeconomic systems of the US only to be driven back during the backlash of Jim Crow era that followed. The chapters were so packed with beautifully written commentary, personal storytelling, and information that the group did not have enough time to discuss them all.

Even so, we will move on with the next book club where we will discuss the New York Times best seller Becoming by Harvard educated lawyer, university administrator and former First Lady Michelle Obama. Come join us on Friday, October 4th at 7pm. Location TBD.

– Faith Hall-Herbold, Black Caucus Coordinator and Member at Large

 

How to Meet Your Next US President

June and July had great turnouts at our double-header Presidential Primary Debate Watch Parties. We had the chance to meet and discuss with lots of members, new members and concerned non-Americans who hope we’ll dump Trump – it was wonderful to meet all of you!

As we go into the fall, the field of candidates will narrow down and the debates themselves will certainly heat up. It may feel like a long time until November 3, 2020, but the first primary caucus is in Iowa on February 3 – just six months away. And DA’s Global Presidential Primary, where you can vote for DA’s delegates to the convention, will take place March 3, on Super Tuesday. 

We hope to see you at an upcoming debate night watch party where you’ll be able to “meet” the future President – all the candidates have been joining in!

– Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair DA Austria

 


 

Around Town:

American Diplomacy in a Disordered World

On Thursday, September 19, IWM Permanent Fellow Ivan Krastev will talk with Ambassador William J. Burns, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, about America's changing role in the world and the purpose of American diplomacy. Registration is required. Find the registration form and more information at IWM Geopolitical Talks.

 

Vienna Humanities Festival

The fourth Vienna Humanities Festival will take place from September 26-29 with the theme Hope and Despair. As always, the IWM and Wien Museum have lined up interesting speakers to discuss “the burning issues of our time.” Most of the events are free. Find the program and more information at: Vienna Humanities Festival.


Join Our Team – We can’t do it without people like you!

DA Austria is looking for people to fill the following positions so together we can dump Trump and elect Democrats up and down the ballot in 2020!

Caucus Coordinators

Hispanic Caucus

Youth Caucus

General description for Caucus Chair positions:

  • Disseminate information to members
  • Coordinate caucus-related events in Austria
  • Periodically report to the global caucus steering committee
  • Find ways to add diversity to non-caucus events

Caucus Chair specific job descriptions:

Hispanic Caucus Chair: The caucus Chair coordinates and plans events and activities aimed at the Hispanic American community, works to raise awareness of issues concerning Hispanic Americans, and promotes National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15-October 15.

Youth Caucus Chair: The caucus Chair coordinates and plans events and activities with members and American collegiate groups at Austrian universities to better reach, engage, and mobilize younger DA members in Austria.

Please be sure you are an official member of the caucus you are interested in leading. Go to their website, linked above and click the join button.

 

Communications Coordinator

  • Work with Chair & ExComm to set communication goals 
  • Build up and oversee a Communications Team (Comms Team)
  • Work with Chair & ExComm to draft internal membership communications: Monthly newsletters, regular national emails, occasional voting notification emails, occasional invitations to events, etc.
  • Ensure that information on DAAT is updated regularly (Excom and chapter contacts, events, activities, etc) on the DAAT website
  • Communicate and coordinate with the international Communications Director on a regular basis

 

Get Out The Vote Coordinator

  • Form an “Elections Team” of various officers, at large members and others to coordinate all aspects of GOTV work in the runup to the 2020 elections
  • Plan and coordinate phone banking
  • Coordinate and organize info-stands and voter registration tables
  • Organize mass mailings to DAAT’s membership encouraging registration, voting, and donations (working in some cases with the Communication Coordinator)
  • Distribute information, templates, and know-how from DA International to the DAAT Excomm

 

Media Contact

  • Demonstrate verifiable experience and/or training in the fields of Media, Press and/or PR
  • Work with Chair & ExComm to set media goals 
  • Act as liaison between DAAT and international press officer
  • Write and organize translations (by one of our volunteer translators) of relevant press releases  (those not provided by international press officer)
  • Maintain national contact database for journalists / press contacts (googledoc)
  • Record and archive all press activities, articles, interviews (googledoc)
  • Create press kits for Global Primary and 2020 election

 

Social Media Coordinator (Part of Comms Team) 

  • Work with Chair & Comms Coordinator to set social media goals 
  • Develop a schedule of posts and web content
  • Create timely posts to DAAT social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
  • Monitor all posts and comments on DAAT social media sites
  • Communicate and coordinate with the international Communications Director on a regular basis

If you are interested in one of these positions, please send an email to chair@democratsabroad.at

All positions will be appointed by the DAAT Chair with the consultation of the Executive Committee for a term of two years. Coordinators and Caucus Chairs may be removed by the DAAT Executive Committee at any time for conduct contrary to the interests of DAAT.


Dems Win When Dems Vote!

Don't forget – overseas voters MUST register to vote in every calendar year. Even if you registered for the 2018 midterms you will need to register and request your ballot for special elections in 2019.

If you, your friends or your family vote in North Carolina, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi , New Jersey or Virginia? Remind them to vote in the upcoming special elections because Dems win when Dems vote and special elections matter!

+

July's Newsletter

Events

  • Global Black Caucus
  • Presidential Primary Debate Watch Parties Round Two
  • Experienced Dems
  • SolSun

Issues & Actions

  • The Difference You Make
  • How Activists Spend Summer Break

Reviews

  • DAA Talks
  • Pride Parade
  • Presidential Primary Debate Watch Parties Round One
  • Solidarity Sundays

ExComm Dates for August and September

Our Executive Committee meetings are normally at 7pm on the second Wednesday of the month. However, due to summer travels the September meeting will be moved:

  • August ExComm: none
  • September ExComm: Thursday, September 5

Members are welcome to join us at the meetings. Please contact Jennifer at chair@democratsabroad.at for the location.


Events:

 

Global Black Caucus

We were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates is an award-winning collection of powerful essays and articles written during the Obama era that thoughtfully examine the issues of race that are still prevalent in the US today. Come join us!

– Faith Hall-Herbold, Black Caucus Coordinator and Member at Large

WHEN: Friday, July 12, 2019 at 7:00 PM

WHERE: The venue will be given along with your RSVP.

Visit this event on Facebook

 

Presidential Primary Debate Watch Parties #2

It's debate time! Join us as we get together to watch and discuss the second round of debates.

– Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair

WHEN: Wednesday, July 31 and Thursday, August 1 at 7:00 PM

WHERE: Fladerei, Hugo-Wiener Platz/Mittersteig 2a, 1040 Vienna

 

Experienced Dems

Experienced Dems is on a "Sommer Pause." We will meet again in September and I look forward to seeing each of you at that time.

–John Cahill, Experienced Dems Coordinator

 

SolSun

Solidarity Sundays is tanking energy and will be back on September 29th!

– Tanya Lolonis & Juan Cerda, SolSun Co-Coordinators

 


Issues & Actions:

The Difference You Make

There is exciting news from the latest Election Assistance Commission survey results for the 2018 mid-term elections. While there is still some analysis to be done, it really looks like the turnout from overseas was THREE TIMES as high as in the last mid-term elections in 2014. This is an AMAZING result - an increase that far outstrips any stateside growth in voter turnout. Julia Bryan, DA International Chair, mentioned that Democrats Abroad and our efforts likely accounted for close to half of all voter turnout in 2018. I would only add that we probably directly impacted 50-75% of all DEMOCRATIC votes from overseas. I'll say it again. This is amazing - for a "state party" to have such a tremendous direct impact on voter turnout. Admittedly, this was a highly visible mid-term election. But this increase is a testament to the efforts of our leadership and our amazing volunteers. However, I would be remiss (or at least I think I would be remiss) if I didn't also mention the impact of money.

We spent well over $100,000 on GOTV activities in the last two months of the 2018 election. That money went towards a range of expenditures, but I will highlight two that played a big role in last year's amazing growth: funding for our CallHub phone-banking operations; and paying for social media advertising through Facebook ads that targeted overseas Americans and in particular "liberal" potential voters. These two elements, together with all the other great GOTV activities like voter registration booths, emails, and SMS-messaging, helped drive the incredible increase in voters. Volunteers help get out the vote. And money helps get out the vote. And we need both. So I would encourage all of you to donate what you can to Democrats Abroad - and encourage everyone you know, your members, your friends wherever they are, and your family to support us. There will be more to come as to how each of you can help - and more to come, I am sure, about the amazing 2018 results. But it's good to know that we really do make a difference.

– Art Schankler, DA Co-Chair Fundraising Committee

 

How Activists Spend Summer Break

It‘s summer. It‘s hot. Your brain is short-circuiting from a diet of Policy-by-Twitter. So much to react to, so much to save, so much to do. Democrats Abroad Austria and Solidarity Sundays urge you to use the summer months to retreat, relax, and re-charge. Come fall, we need you fit and focused: we have a democracy to take back. But activists (and who isn’t one after 2016?) are restless with nothing to do. We‘ve curated a small collection of articles, podcasts, and films to keep you engaged in the conversation of democracy. Check out one or two over the summer and keep your activist muscles limber.

Podcasts:

At publication, there are twenty-three Democratic presidential candidates. Who are they? Why are they running? What do they bring to the fight for democracy? The political podcast “Pod Save America” is conducting in-depth interviews with each candidate. Download their “2020” interviews, plug in your earphones, and let candidates tell you the problems they identify in our democracy, their solutions, and why they think they can solve them. http://crooked.com/podcast-series/pod-save-america/

For an irreverent, savvy and informed unraveling of the mysteries of the Mueller investigation by a binder full of women, check out the Mueller She Wrote podcast.http://www.muellershewrote.com/

Articles:

The New York Review of Books discusses important books as an indispensable literary activity. It`s also incisive on politics. For those who take holiday relaxation seriously and pack beach reads rather than political tomes, NYRB offers good discussions of key books—without having to read them (unless you want to):

Streaming:

Robert Mueller says his report speaks for itself. Read it yet? If 400+ pages is a slog on a holiday, here’s a novel way to take in all ten counts of obstruction: A live reading (one hour) of the Mueller Report by Hollywood stars: The Investigation: A Search for the Truth in Ten Acts. http://lawworksaction.org/

Films:

Cope with our current political climate with comedy. We can’t promise you‘ll forget about global warming, right-wing nationalists, misogyny, racism, and homophobia, but a few laughs can restore heart and sanity for the work ahead:

National populism: To Be or Not to Be (Ernst Lubitsch, 1942). Carole Lombard‘s final role is spent among a troupe of hilariously bad actors disguising themselves in order to mess with occupying Nazis in 1939 Poland.

Global warming: The Day After Tomorrow (Roland Emmerich, 2004). When this film came out, it was a far-off, apocalyptic flick. Now, it‘s a bit too real, but Dennis Quaid and a young Jake Gyllenhaal apply hotness to the battle of surviving climate change.

Donald Trump: Forbidden Planet (Fred M. Wilcox, 1956). Famous for being mentioned in the opening song of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and featuring a young and dashing Leslie Nielsen, re-watch this to remember that we are more powerful than any monster.


Reviews:

 

DAA Talks with Eric Frey –

A View of America and Journalism in the Age of Trump

It was a sweltering evening on June 4th when about 30 DA Austria members and friends gathered to hear Dr. Eric Frey, Senior Editor of der Standard, discuss his perspective on current issues in the US and Austria. After a thorough analysis of the upheavals in Austrian politics, Frey moved on to what he and many Europeans are hoping the Democrats will do to make sure Trump is a one-term president. Not surprisingly, the audience had many questions and a lively question and answer period followed.

Many thanks to Dr Frey for giving his time to speak with us!

–Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair

 

EuroPride 2019

We want to extend a big thank you to all those who joined the 2019 EuroPride Parade on June 15 in Vienna by marching and showing solidarity with DA Austria. This year marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and we gathered together to show our support of LGBTQIA+ rights worldwide!

Our theme was “Love Trumps Hate” as well as “Make Love, Not Walls.” It was a blast and (not to forget) a great message! We saw much love and support from bystanders who approached us for photos, flags, and just loved seeing us out there resisting the hate and policies of the current administration.

Laura and I had the honor of planning this year’s march and we couldn’t be happier with the turn out! It was a great group of people, over 35 of all ages came out and endured the heat to show their pride together. It truly was beautiful and colorful! The “MAKE LOVE, NOT WALLS” t-shirts were a big hit, and if you would still like to get one we could make another order if we get enough people interested. Let us know.

We are especially excited and energised for next year. Plans are already in the making for a bigger, more colorful, louder, and progressive march! As always we are excited for anyone's ideas, contributions, or even help in making next year’s march a reality. You can reach us at j.eckhart@democratsabroad.at and laura.farmwald@hotmail.com. Thanks again and stay proud!

Colorfully yours,

– Joey Eckhart

 

A note from a member: Thank you Laura and Joey and everyone else who helped make Democrats Abroad Austria's participation in the Europride Parade 2019 so incredible. I'm sure many people invested countless hours and great effort before the parade even started. Consider just the t-shirts: drumming up a team, conceiving, discussing, designing, spreading the word, taking orders, placing the order, picking up the shirts, selling the shirts... but that's not all: participation registration, flyers, flags and buttons, stunning banners, signs, a cart of supplies, water spray bottles ... even refreshments and watermelon! As a gay man, I was very touched by the solidarity and support so many DA allies displayed for us LGBTIQA+ people! I had to dash off at 1:30 to get ready to sing a concert, but I left with a full heart. Thank you, Scott W.

 

Presidential Primary Debate Watch Parties, Round One

Fifteen or so DA Austria members got together each evening on Thursday, June 27 and Friday, June 28 to watch the first round of the 2020 presidential primary debates. And we weren’t alone! There were over 250 watch parties in the US and another 57 organised by Democrats Abroad around the world.

The way we win is by reaching voters and organizing everywhere. That is why we’re hosting these events – so that Americans around the world can hear firsthand from the candidates on their ideas for the American people. The lineups for each night were selected through a process that ensures no candidate begins the debate calendar at an immediate disadvantage because they've been relegated to a "kids table" debate. On the first night were: Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Bill de Blasio, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O'Rourke, Tim Ryan, and Elizabeth Warren. The second night’s lineup was: Michael Bennet, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, John Hickenlooper, Bernie Sanders, Eric Swalwell, Marianne Williamson, and Andrew Yang.

All of the candidates attended our watch parties (see pictures). However, many candidates also accepted an invitation by Democrats Abroad and either came in person or sent a video to the Annual General Meeting that took place in May in Washington D.C. Listen to what they said to DA.

The two watch parties began with attendees trying to name all the candidates and sorting them into the two debate nights – there were many unknown’s! Then we listened carefully to what they had to say to help us learn about their positions on issues – and to fill out our buzzword bingo cards! Afterwards, there was lots of informal discussion about the candidates, both their positions and their performances.

The next watch parties will be held on July 31 and Aug 1, and September 13 & 14 (see events for details). Because of the time difference, the watch parties will always be the day after the debate. We hope you’ll join us!

–Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair

 

Solidarity Sundays #25: The Green New Deal & You

Violent and frequent hurricanes. Record heat waves. Thousand-year floods. Devastating wildfires. Rising sea levels. Species decimation. Climate disruption is here, and scientists tell us we have 10 years to radically decarbonise to keep global temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees. With the GOP in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry, Democrats are the only party discussing how to address our near-apocalyptic crisis. What are they proposing?

Faith Hall-Herbold took Solidarity Sundays attendees through the key points of the Green New Deal. As the name indicates, the GND is inspired by FDR’s New Deal which addressed the Great Depression. The document is short and radical – short on specific policies and radical in its policy aims. It calls on the US to: (1) enact a climate change action plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030; (2) re-structure the economy with cooperation between unions, communities, business, and government; and (3) ensure justice so that coal workers, rural communities, and people of color aren’t left behind during the transition.

READ MORE

A global climate strike, expanding beyond school children, has been called for 20 September 2019. It will be followed by a global week of action: http://globalclimatestrike.net. Details on how to participate as part of Democrats Abroad Austria will be in the September DA Newsletter.

DA Austria
http://www.democratsabroad.org/


Solidarity Sundays #25: The Green New Deal & You

 

Violent and frequent hurricanes. Record heat waves. Thousand-year floods. Devastating wildfires. Rising sea levels. Species decimation. Climate disruption is here, and scientists tell us we have 10 years to radically decarbonise to keep global temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees. With the GOP in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry, Democrats are the only party discussing how to address our near-apocalyptic crisis. What are they proposing?

Faith Hall-Herbold took Solidarity Sundays attendees through the key points of the Green New Deal. As the name indicates, the GND is inspired by FDR’s New Deal which addressed the Great Depression. The document is short and radical – short on specific policies and radical in its policy aims. It calls on the US to: (1) enact a climate change action plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030; (2) re-structure the economy with cooperation between unions, communities, business, and government; and (3) ensure justice so that coal workers, rural communities, and people of color aren’t left behind during the transition.

It’s a tall order. It’s made more difficult by the fact that the fossil fuel industry is more organized than the renewable energy lobby. But Hall-Herbold identifies two reasons for hope that we can act in time: first is the sorry state of America’s infrastructure. This offers the chance for bi-partisan cooperation to repair and upgrade electricity generation, road and rail transport, and buildings. The GND emphasis on massive federal investment in clean energy is politically appealing – especially now that Democratic candidates have stopped mentioning the politically radioactive “carbon tax”.

The second opportunity resides in the youth movements demanding government action on climate change. Natural systems appear to have “tipping points” in which positive feedbacks accelerate the rush toward disasters. Loss of sun-reflecting snow and ice, for example, accelerates the pace of global warming. Our socio-economic system may be developing “good” tipping points. Alternative energy sources are becoming cheaper than fossil fuels, and may initiate a rapid shift to the former. Political campaigns, too, can have outsized results. Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg inspires people to protest around the world through the amplifying effect of the internet and social media. Public support for the policies that will be necessary to transition to a low-carbon economy is critical: more young people voting, and spreading awareness of the costs of climate change hold promise of a good tipping point in the near future.

A global climate strike, expanding beyond school children, has been called for 20 September 2019. It will be followed by a global week of action: http://globalclimatestrike.net. Details on how to participate as part of Democrats Abroad Austria will be in the September DA Newsletter.

–Tanya Lolonis, Member-at-Large, Solidarity Sundays Co-Coordinator


It's Debate Time!

WATCH PARTY: FIRST DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has announced that they will hold twelve debates in the run-up to the presidential primary. The debates will be held monthly over two consecutive nights with ten candidates on stage each evening. There are a number of requirements a candidate must fulfil to get a spot in the debate and the top tier candidates will be equally divided on each night. DA Austria will be streaming the debates at two watch parties on June 27 and 28. Note, this is the day AFTER the debate because of the time difference.

Read more

June's Newsletter

In This Issue:

Events

  • DAATalks
  • Experienced Dems
  • Pride Parade
  • Debate Night
  • Sol Sun June

Issues & Actions

  • DA Global Meeting

Reviews

  • SolSun
  • GBC
  • Progressive Pizza

 


Events

DAATalks with Eric Frey–

A View of America and Journalism in the Age of Trump

Democrats Abroad Austria is excited to welcome Dr. Eric Frey, Senior Editor of der Standard, for our next DAATalks lecture series.

US or Austria? Trump or FPÖ? Politics or journalism? With everything going on in the States and the recent upheavals in Austrian politics there will be a lot to discuss!

WHEN: June 04, 2019 at 7pm - 9pm

WHERE: Republikanischer Club, Rockhgasse 1, 1010 Vienna

Entrance at Hebenstreit Restaurant (5 min. from U2 Schottentor).

 

 

Experienced Democrats Meet-Up

The June Meeting of Experienced Democrats of Democrats Abroad Austria

WHEN: June 06, 2019 at 6pm - 8pm

WHERE: Café Museum, Operngasse 7, 1010 Vienna

CONTACT: John Cahill · jmcahill47@yahoo.com

 

Pride Parade

2019 marks 50 years since the historic Stonewall Riots, arguably the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement, which catapulted queer activism and rights ahead. Today we see more equality and visibility than ever. However, the paradigm of progress has shifted. LGBTQIA+ rights are once again under threat in the Trump Administration and the Supreme Court. Democrats Abroad Austria stands together and proud with the 2019 EuroPride events in Vienna this June. Don’t be a bystander! We hope you will stand with us as we march for all of our right for rights!

This is the most outlandish party on the DA Austria calendar and this year Vienna is home to EuroPride, so expect a wild and wonderful day! We'll update our event page and fb page as soon as we know our start number. The parade start (#1) is at Rathausplatz/Burgtheater and goes back towards Schottentor. See the Pride Parade map for more info.

WHEN: June 15, 2019 at 11am - 4pm

WHERE: Near the University/Schottentor (exact location to be announced), 1010 Vienna

CONTACT: Joey Eckhart · lgbt@democratsabroad.at

 

 

Primary Debate Watch Parties

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has announced that they will hold twelve debates in the run-up to the presidential primary. The debates will be held monthly over two consecutive nights with ten candidates on stage each evening. There are a number of requirements a candidate must fulfil to get a spot in the debate and the top tier candidates will be equally divided on each night. DA Austria will be streaming the debates at two watch parties on June 27 and 29. Note, this is the day AFTER the debate because of the time difference.

We'll be meeting on Thursday, June 27 at Beaver Brewery and Friday, June 28 at Kung Wu. Come early to get a bite to eat and a beer and then settle in as we listen to the wealth of talent that makes up the slate of 2020 democratic presidential candidates. 

We hope you'll join us!

WHEN: June 27 & 28, 2019 at 7pm. Come early and eat!

WHERE: June 27- Beaver Brewery, Liechtensteinstraße 69, 1090. June 28- Kung Wu Welthandelsplatz 1, 1020.

CONTACT: Jennifer Rakow-Stepper · chair@democratsabroad.at

 

 

Solidarity Sundays 25:  The Green New Deal & You

The recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts we have a decade to get carbon emissions under control before catastrophic climate change impacts become unavoidable. The Republican party ignores the problem. The Democratic Party claims to accept and understand it -- but does not have a plan to address climate breakdown.

Young activists have a plan:  The Green New Deal. GND refers to a massive program of investments in clean-energy jobs and infrastructure, meant to transform the energy sector and entire economy. There is immense political energy around the GND, but converting that to real results on the ground will involve a lot of political and policy engineering.

Join Solidarity Sundays and explore how the GND became a priority, what's next, and how you can help shape political priorities.

WHEN:  June 30th from 4-6 pm

WHERE:  Amerlinghaus, Stiftgasse 8, 1070 Vienna.

CONTACT:  Tanya Lolonis · solidaritysundays@democratsabroat.at

 


Issues & Actions

 

DA’s Annual General Meeting in Washington D.C.--17 to 19 May 2019

Meeting with 125 dedicated Democrats Abroad from all over the world just a stone’s throw from the Capitol, and with 75 or more equally energized leading members, including our DA Austria Chair, Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, online is an experience I will not soon forget. Our highly principled discussion and attention to rules of order inspired me, even more so because it helped us to elect an excellent Global Team, adopt well-vetted bylaw changes, and pass progressive resolutions, including our endorsement of Medicare for All. Several Presidential candidates, including Kirstin Gillibrand, Bernie Sanders, Marianne Williamson, Joe Biden, and Cory Booker offered in-person or video messages. Even more Democratic Party leaders conveyed messages of confidence and encouragement as we gear up to maintain control of the House, win back the Senate, and put a Democrat in the White House in 2020! Immediately after the AGM, dozens of us spent two days visiting our representatives in targeted efforts to communicate our key messages in Congress. Now it is our turn to give it our all as the Democratic presidential debate season draws closer, campaigns at all levels of government take shape, and we continue our advocacy work for our big plate of issues!

– Bruce Murray, Counsel and Voting Representative

 

 

A Step Forward On the Road to Residency-Based Taxation

Following a series of meetings on Capitol Hill this week and last week we are pleased to confirm that Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA08) is partnering with Rep George Holding (R-NC02) on the development of legislation to enact Residency-Based Taxation (RBT). There's still much work to be done, but securing bi-partisan support for RBT from important members of the tax writing subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee is a critical step forward on the road to Residency-Based Taxation legislation.

What can you do to progress RBT?

The best thing you can do to progress RBT is to reach out to your elected representatives to remind them of the importance of this reform to you and your family and to ask for their support. Personal stories are the most effective. Include as much detail as you feel comfortable sharing. Call, write or send electronic messages to your House member and Senators. All outreach to those counting on your electoral support is helpful. If you get a boilerplate response that scarcely relates to the message you sent, write again demanding more. If you get an interesting response that you think would be useful for us to know about in progressing our work, please send it through to us.

For more information visit Taxation Task Force. Send questions or comments to taxationtf@democratsabroad.org.

 


Reviews

 

Global Black Caucus Book Club 

The members of the GBC book club met once again at Café Phil, this time to discuss The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin. James Baldwin succinctly and powerfully articulates many of the issues that are still being discussed today in a book that is only two chapters and about 100 pages long. The group spent most of the evening discussing the first chapter, which is a letter entitled "My Dungeon Shook: Letter to My Nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Emancipation". Baldwin explains to his nephew the clear and nuanced historical events that have led to the current state of black oppression in the US. He also shares how he learned to cope with the many daily aggressions and stresses of being a black man in America, with the hope that his nephew would use this primer to succeed in spite of his environment. It was both logical, uplifting, but for the group, a hard pill to swallow because the events and mentalities that Baldwin discussed are still a reality. The question that hung in the air was "What can we do as Americans living abroad to change the way people of color are treated back at home"? Our answers: (1) we can acknowledge that racism still exists in America and it is present here in Austria, (2) we must take a more active role in confronting friends or family members who make racist comments, (4) we have to continue having open conversations about race and its intersection with class and gender, (5) we can continue to donate to causes that are fighting to end systemic racial discrimination because equality for the most marginalized member of our society means equality for everyone.

Due to Pride Week and all of the events in June, the GBC book club will resume in July where we will be discussing We were Eight Years in Power,  a collection of writing and essays by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Time and date TBD, but we hope to see you there!

– Faith Hall Herbold, Coordinator DAA Black Caucus, Member-at-Large

 

 

Solidarity Sundays 24: Death By A Thousand Cuts

Creeping normality, or death by a thousand cuts, is the way major change can be accepted as normal when it happens slowly, through incremental change. We are watching it live.

On Sunday, April 26th, LGTB Caucus leader Juan Cerda reviewed the legal status of lesbian, gay, transgender and bi-sexual citizens before and after the 1969 Stonewall Riots. In the 1960's homosexuality was essentially illegal in the US. Lesbian and gay citizens were deemed “diseased”, banned from serving in the military, viewed as security risks, and police crackdowns against gay-friendly bars were violent events. Resistance to the police raid of the Stonewall Inn led to several nights of rioting, and is cited as the first major protest against the criminalization of homosexuality.

After Stonewall, advocates challenged discrimination against LGBTQ people. A year later, the first Gay Pride march declared the desire for equality. Throughout the 1970s, activists in many states successfully overturned laws banning homosexuality. In 2003 the Supreme Court decided states could not criminalize homosexuality, and in 2015 legalized same-sex marriage. Human rights activists continued fighting discrimination in employment, education, public housing, and healthcare, as well as to reduce hate crimes against LGBTQ citizens.

With the Trump-Pence Administration, attacks against marginalized Americans are increasing, and increasingly promoted by government policy. The administration has attacked LGBTQ Americans in policy and rhetoric over 100 times since January 2017. Juan explained how the removal of Obama-era civil rights safeguards for transgender citizens exposes the cruelty of the Trump administration.

Last week, the House passed the Equality Act of 2019. The bill expands the Civil Rights Act to explicitly include protections for LGBTQ people. The Senate majority refuses to consider it. Solidarity Sundays attendees wrote postcards to their senators demanding they support S.788, The Equality Act. To urge your Senators to act against the death of LGBTQ civil rights by a thousand cuts, find their address at www.senate.gov/senators/index.htm and send them your instructions. Be brief, be polite, be an ally.

– Tanya Lolonis, Co-Coordinator Solidarity Sundays, Member-at-Large

 

 

Progressive Pizza

Thanks to the more than 20 hungry progressives who joined our Progressive Pizza event at L’Osteria on May 30! Our group included people who vote in states from New York to California, including Midwestern swing states such as Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan, as well as Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, and others!  We affirmed our commitment to protect the democratic achievements of our revolutionary founders and transform our society in accordance with the goals they set and we have not yet achieved. Following our high-cholesterol dinner, and with Scott Witmer in charge of our sign-up list, Raina Saul-Ganev provided information about the current Medicare for All legislative proposals in the House and Senate. We learned that HR. 1384, led by Representative Jayapal, has 110 co-sponsors and that S. 1129, led by Senator Sanders, has 14 co-sponsors including four presidential candidates: Senators Booker, Gillibrand, Harris, and Warren. Raina and others also commented on the foreseen transition to Medicare for All, its coverage and financial provisions. Our discussion was in a word--progressive! More information is available from sites like these:

The evening ended with June event information from DA Chair Jennifer Rakow-Stepper and thoughts about our next meeting. One option will be to consider collaborating with DA Black Caucus Chair Faith Herbold, who will lead the next Solidarity Sunday discussion on the Green New Deal (30 June). Look for more information in the DA Event Calendar. Also look for our ProDA Facebook page, which will go online very soon!

– Bruce Murray, ProDA Liaison