January 08, 2018

Global Black Caucus: We’ve Only Just Begun


The idea of a Global Black Caucus (GBC) was initially conceived by Black leaders from around the globe in London at the 2013 DA Global Meeting. Many of the members of this group were heavily committed to their local and country chapters in France, Italy, South Africa, Sweden and the UK. It wasn’t until August 7, 2017, during a conversation between me and Shari Temple, the Democrats Abroad (DA) Global IT Team Chair and a DA Germany Voting Representative, I asked the question, why isn’t there a Black Caucus? Shari told me no one has volunteered to start it, so I volunteered and off we went.  This really illustrates how DA is truly a grassroots organization. All of our members can participate in working for positive change. If you want to do something that will further progressive causes, DA is there to support you.

To start we sent out a survey to see if people were interested in participating in the caucus and/or the formation team, which is now our steering committee, and to find out what issues were important to our future members. From the responses we received, we developed a list of issues which we used to develop our foundation document called Terms of Reference. This is a living document that will evolve as time goes by. If you have an issue that you feel passionate about and it’s not listed email us at [email protected] and we’ll consider adding it.

Our formation committee, now our steering committee, consists of 12 members from around the globe but mostly from Europe at this time.  That group includes myself, Angela Fobbs from Germany, Shari Temple - Germany, Cuthbert Telesford  - Denmark, Erica Smith-Escassut - France, Angela Shaw - France, Christina Skovsgaard - Norway, Karen Lee - Greece, Adrienne Johnson - UK, William Young  - UK, Tannis Thomas Netherlands, Michael Ramos - Australia, and  Kass Thomas – Italy.

Putting together the Terms of Reference document was a great team building opportunity. We put the document together in about 6 weeks. It was a very intense and very enlightening process that made us a cohesive team. We bought a variety of viewpoints and ideas to our meetings and we worked through the issues until we could come to some consensus and resolution. It was really my dream scenario of how a team should function and work together.  Our Terms of Reference document embodies our team work and concern for the issues.

The primary reason we started the GBC is because Black Americans are an important constituency within the Democratic Party. Democrats Abroad is a very egalitarian organization and we hope to attract more people by actively addressing the issues of Black Americans. Our main goal is to ensure people’s concerns are heard and acted upon. Democrats Abroad is a voice for people who care about making America and the world better.

The GBC is interested in the ideas that people have in our global community. We have a lot of work to do in 2018 and in preparation for the Presidential election in 2020 and beyond. We want to hear your concerns and ideas. How can we attract more people? What sort of events can we put together? How can we link back to America and work with people there? There’s a lot of opportunity for growth and activism. We are also looking for volunteers to work on projects with us and be a Points of Contact in all the country committees.

Please join us for our first general membership meeting on January 28th 2018, RSVP today.

You can check our Black Caucus blog page for books, films and other resources that we recommend for events like MLK day, Black History Month and more. To keep up-to-date on what’s happening follow us on Facebook. Starting in March 2018, we will be highlighting each of our issues and solutions, if they are available, on social media and our blog, the schedule is under our resource pages. We are planning a webinar for Black History Month on which more information will be available in January 2018. Stop by and say hello, if you are coming the EMEA Regional Conference 9-11 February, in Madrid. A majority of the steering committee will be in attendance. We will also have a session during the conference and are hosting the Cocktail party on Saturday the 10th.

The political climate that we’re in right now can be very discouraging. It requires courage and creativity to act and make change. So many people have something to offer but they are afraid. Power to the people is not just a saying, it is what’s going to save us. Join us and we can all fight and be brave together.