Black History Month kicked off on February 8th at Toukoul Cafe in Brussels, with an inspiring program of readings, song, and a few rounds of Black History Bingo, complete with prizes. We met new friends, registered new voters, and learned more about a part of our history that most of us never really learned, whether here in Belgium or back in the States. But thanks to DAB volunteers, Robin Lofton & Sandra Keegan, we inaugurated what we hope will become an annual Lunch, and we prompted even more spontaneous get-togethers around the theme of Black History. The following week, members gathered to see the film "Just Mercy" at UGC DeBrouckère in Brussels; other are planning to attend the premieres of "Queen & Slim" and "Harriet", and many will hear DAB member, Dorrie Wilson, moderate a Writer's Panel ahead of the March 1st showing of the documentary on acclaimed writer, Toni Morrison, "The Pieces I Am" (tickets still available here - http://www.bozar.be/en/activities/163357-toni-morrison-the-pieces-i-am).
We’d really like our attention to Black History and the African-American experience to go beyond the month of February, so if you can help organize an event in the coming months, please get in touch!
DAB member, James Chizungu, reads from James Ellison's "Invisible Man"
A huge thanks to our volunteers, Joyce Kedzuf Mostinckx & Anne Clark, who registered US students at KU Leuven last month - as they can attest, it's easy and fun!! So consider helping us Get Out the Vote by joining Tuesday's GOTV Volunteer call - drop a note to Trip DuBard at email@example.com and we'll send you the call-in details.
We also have a couple of debate watch events coming up, one in central Brussels on Friday and one out in the 'burbs on Saturday - look for details on our Events page.
Don't have time but still want to help? Consider making a small donation to DA Belgium through our DAB bank account (DAB-Bronzwaer - KBC BE74 7360 2169 3207) or to Democrats Abroad’s international efforts via this link (Donate).
Hope to meet you all soon,
Pauline Manos - DA Belgium Chair
This weekend, many of us are voting in European and local elections. We also commemorate Memorial Day in the US, honoring those who gave their lives to defend the democracy that we so often take for granted. Last weekend, that democracy was in action, as Democrats Abroad held three days of global meetings in Washington, DC. Thanks to the DA Travel Fund, one our members, Annie Tanampai, was able to attend, and DA funded many more of us participating from afar via WebEx.
But fewer than 1% of DA members donate to help us defend this democracy. Please help us change this. Donate Now to Democrats Abroad on a global level. DA provides the resources for us to do what we need to do - from paying for phone calls to our members to social media advertising that helps us get out the vote among the millions of overseas Americans in Belgium and around the world. Our donations really do make a difference, as you saw in our Treasurer's Report at our March Annual General Meeting. So please make a donation now.
I also encourage you to join our Global Caucuses. You can read more about them on DA’s website, as well as meeting the newly-elected International Executive Committee. The Caucuses are open to all allies of the various groups so consider signing up, following them on social media, and even volunteering.
Here in Belgium, our events continue into June, thanks to our many volunteers!
- June 6th 6:30pm - Schaerbeek Pub Social - RSVP here
- June 12th 6:30pm - Brussels Film Night - Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 11/9 - RSVP here
- June 27th - Extended ExCom Meeting & Debate Watch Party - pencil in the date and stay tuned for more details in our next email.
If any of you outside Brussels would like to organize a similar event and help us reach more Americans beyond the capital, please do get in touch with us! This is the time for us to raise awareness, ahead of our January 2020 voter registration drive.
A special shout out to the Leuven gang who helped register American exchange & graduate students at the university twice this year…they enjoyed a well-deserved drink on Election Night!
In Brussels, we watched Fox, CNN, and MSNBC until 5am in the same warm setting where we saw many a presidential debate in 2016.
DAB was proud to join the Lights 4 Rights group to mark the one year anniversary of our 2000-strong Brussels Women's March. The beautiful voices of Indigo Creative asbl led us in song (video on our Friends of Democrats Abroad Facebook page!) and we even able to give voting information to a few new Americans. If you haven't already requested your absentee ballots for 2018, be sure to go to www.VoteFromAbroad.org. See you at our next event, this coming Thursday!
We were very happy to welcome on November 6th Paula Jakub, the CEO of the AFSPA, which administers health insurance as part of the Federal Health Benefits program. Paula is also the Executive Director of the Senior Living Foundation and spoke to us of her learnings from running this non-profit organization that is devoted to helping elderly Foreign Service retirees and survivors. She also answered our questions on Medicare and Medicaid, Essential Health Benefits, long-term health insurance, pre-existing conditions, and the latest on the state of the Affordable Care Act. A special thanks to volunteer Sandra Keegan for having organized the comfortable venue, which helped soften the blow for some of us who realized we might never be able to move back to the US for a simple lack of affordable health care!
To all our members, please take part in the Tiny Action on Health Care - take a selfie in support of Universal Health Care - details on http://www.democratsabroad.org/healthcare_stories.
Thanks to the efforts of our determined GOTV Director, Tiffany Fliss, DAB was at KU Leuven's International Student Orientation Activity Fair on September 20th. Leuven DAB member Kevin Bardool and Chair Pauline Manos helped sign-up a dozen or so American citizens and encouraged all the other curious students (especially attracted by DA Germany's "Make America Gay Again" postcard!) to help us spread the word.
DA Belgium Chair, Pauline Manos, and Republicans Overseas Chair, Mike Kulbickas, spoke on a September 14th panel sponsored by the Université Libre de Bruxelles Extension Program at La Louvière: L' Amérique de Donald Trump....200 jours plus tard! It was a refreshingly civilized discussion (with even a few laughs) that covered a wide range of topics, from the values of each party to the history behind divergent views on issues from health care to foreign policy to immigration, with many thoughtful questions from the 70+ attendees. Our warm thanks to moderators Jean-Paul Renier and Salvatore Ribaudo for allowing us to move out of our "Brussels Bubble".
No pics, but we had a great Pub Social on August 16th - here's what our crowd looked like:
- age range: late 20s to 65+
- time in Belgium: two weeks to 40+ years
- political persuasion: self-proclaimed sort-of anarchist to fiscally conservative
- voting states: CA, FL, NM, NC, OR, and more
And our "Friends of DAB": Wallon, Flemish, Bruxelloise, British, and a couple of D.C. tourists and a vacationing American working in Senegal
THIS IS DAB, THIS IS AMERICA!!!!
Thank you, Paula Romanchak Cagli, for a great intro to Brussels' Art Nouveau treasures...a welcome reprieve from an intense political week!!!
This St-Gilles walking tour was guided by long-time DAB member, Paula Cagli, who holds a BA and an MA in Art History. After the tour, we moved on to a local pub for drinks and eats.