News

Calling All Democrats Abroad

This January we need everyone to join the effort! We need you to go here and request your ballot. AND we need you to help the Toronto Chapter reach out to our thousands of members who haven’t heard from for us in a while. We need to update their updated information to send them voting information! Our goal is to do this January 31st!

This event has passed, but phoning Democrats will be happening all year long! 

What: Phoning Democrats in Toronto and Canada

When: Sunday, January 14 - 10 am - 1 pm

Where: Artscape Youngplace
180 Shaw Street,
Suite 314 the Office of Inspirit Foundation
Toronto M6J2W5

We  had  coffee, tea and light snacks,  brought our laptops and even got occupy an office or two for easy phoning. 

Danielle Stampley was there to walk us  through the  steps. Brooke Scott organized the event and Kate Leuschen Millar arranged for the space. What a great teamwork.  Here are some pictures of the days heroes.


You can phone from your from the comfort of your own place!

If you are new to phonebanking or just need a refresher, you can find sign-up instructions and training materials on our website at: www.democratsabroad.org/phonebanking Join the campaign for DACA Membership. 

Phone campaigns, run from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm and Democrats Abroad strictly uses CallHub program to make calls.

If you are already a phonebanking volunteer, just go to https://callhub.io to login to your CallHub account and join the campaign for DACA Membership. You can check out the script here: Script DACA Membership Verification

Brooke Scott, volunteer-toronto@democratsabroad.ca
Volunteer Co-ordinator, Toronto Chapter

RSVP here - Event has passed!

+

Women's Caucus Event January 20th- Women March On

WOMEN MARCH ON - Defining Our Future - Saturday, January 20, 2018

Because we're not done yet! First make sure you request your ballot at VoteFromAborad.org!and then join us to March On!

In 2017 women across North America and around the world marched and the Resistance was born, but it was just the beginning. On Saturday, January 20, 2018, we March On because we're not done yet. Women March On this year - more committed than before, ready to take action, and push for gender equity, political power at the polls and social change for the most marginalized and oppressed among us.

We will meet with fellow Democrats indoors before the march and then proceed to Nathan Phillips Square, where we will gather to the LEFT area of the stage.

Meet-Up Place for DA Toronto Women's Caucus

10:15 – 11:00 a.m.

RSVP Here for the estaurant or just meet us at the Stage.

Richtree Natural Market

Toronto Eaton Centre

Level 1 facing Queen St. W.

220 Yonge St, Toronto M5B 2H1

Closest Subway on the Yonge Line at Queen Station and Dundas Station. Also Queen and Dundas streetcars. Paid parking on site or there are nearby options City of Toronto Municipal Parking Facilities

Women March On - Defining Our Future

12 Noon - 2 p.m.

Nathan Phillips Square

LEFT area of the stage

100 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5H 2N2

The closest subway stations are Osgood and Queen and there is paid parking on site (Queen St West) with more suggestions found within a 10 minute walk at this link- City of Toronto Municipal Parking Facilities

Important - Wear layers of clothes to keep warm! Bring charged cell phone to connect with the DA Caucus members, friends and to post photos to Democrats Abroad Toronto on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

More info from the Women March On Website.

___________________________________________

Larry Cohen, Chair of Our Revolution, in Toronto - Saturday, January 20, 2018 4 PM (more info here)

+

Larry Cohen, Chair of Our Revolution, in Toronto - Saturday, January 20, 2018

Democrats Abroad and Our Revolution are hosting an event with Larry Cohen following  the Women March On event. A highly respected Union Leader in the US and Canada, Cohen was head of the 700,000 member Communications Workers of America. Cohen is a member of the DNC and joined the Sanders campaign in 2015. Our Revolution hopes to leverage the success of the Sanders campaign to transform America and advance a progressive agenda.

When: 4:00 p.m.

Where: Jack Astor's Bar and Grill, 133 John St - note this is  venue change  from original post

An informal gathering is planned to follow the presentation.  RSVP soon!

+

Women's March Canada Info for January 20th 2018

Frequently Asked Questions-from Women's March Canada Website

MARCH DETAILS

Q: When is the Women March On: Defining our Future event happening?

A: January 20, 2018, from 12:00 p.m. to approximately 2:00 p.m. The march will start with a rally at 12:00 p.m. After a few speakers we predict the rally will leave for a short march about 30 minutes later, around 12:30 p.m.

Q: Where is the starting point?

A: The starting point will be at the stage in Nathan Phillips Square. There will be speakers and a short rally before we begin the march.

Q: What is the route?

A: The march will proceed west along the lane between Osgoode Hall and the Superior Court of Justice. Then it will proceed north on University Avenue, eastbound on Dundas Street West, south on Bay Street, and westbound on Queen Street West, returning to Nathan Phillips Square. The total distance is approximately 1.5 km. A copy of the map can be found here.

Q: What is the program itinerary? Who is speaking? How long will it last?

A: The Women March On: Toronto organizing committee is working hard to create a dynamic and diverse program of speakers. We will post the list of speakers once all participants have been confirmed. Please note that our small organizing group simply does not have the capacity to hire and assist local artists and musicians who have kindly asked to participate. We are however encouraging folks to make the march an inclusive, accessible and lively experience. So we encourage you to bring your own signs, noise makers and have fun during the march and rally.

Please check our Facebook page for updates.

Q: Who do I contact if I need help or have questions during the march?

A: We will have women and women-identified people available to assist you during the march. The marshals will line the outside of the march, along the sides and at the front and back. Marshals will be clearly identified. Marshals can help direct you to volunteer medics, and to the accessible vehicles (please note that once the accessible vehicles have been filled to capacity and have started following the march, they will not be able to stop to pick up more passengers). Please speak to a marshal if you need assistance.

We are planning a peaceful demonstration. We encourage all participants to observe the principles of this action and to be mindful that this is a family-friendly event rooted in non-violence if you wish to participate in this march.

Q: Should I bring my child/children?

A: Including your child or your children in the march is a personal choice. In your planning, consider the length of the route, the size of the crowd, and the limited access to restrooms along the way.

ACCESSIBILITY AT THE MARCH

Our Accessibility Plan can be found here.

Please keep in mind that from start to finish we expect the rally and march to take about two hours in total, from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. If you are attending the march, we respect people’s personal choices to come and go from the march as their personal needs require.

We are committed to working together to include everyone and make things accessible for individuals to participate. We do also ask that all participants act collectively and inclusively to support the flow and access during the march, and work together to offer support to include people with disabilities or limited mobility as we march.

Q: Will there be a modified route for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

A: In an effort to promote accessibility and include all people in the march, we are planning a route that is on a flat surface, starting and ending at Nathan Phillips Square.

During the last stretch of the march along Bay Street, people may wish to enter Nathan Phillips Square via two alternate routes:

  • Option 1 – There is a curb cut leading to a ramp at Albert Street. The ramp may be narrow for some users and does not have a continuous or graspable handrail.
  • Option 2 – There is a curb cut on the east side of Bay Street at Hagerman Street. There are well-spaced bollards at this intersection. People can enter the Square by travelling alongside the City Hall building.

Our marshals will do a walk-through of the route in the morning prior to the march, and during the march will provide information and announcements as required. Marshals will help to secure off-road areas that may have issues and provide information to marchers as we go.

Q: What if I don’t want to march on the street?

A: While we encourage people to take the streets in an effort to reclaim space, we respect that there may be access concerns and that for some this is a personal decision.

The march goes along major streets and there are sidewalks. As an attendee you could also travel with the march using the sidewalks that run parallel to the march if this is more suitable for your personal access, for any reason.

Q: Is there an accessible vehicle during the march?

A: Yes, we are planning to secure accessible transportation. We will post details as soon as they are finalized.

Q: Will there be ASL interpreting services?

An ASL Interpreter as well as a Deaf Interpreter will be on stage at the rally. An area will be designated in front of the stage for those who need to be closer. Marshals can provide directions.

Regrettably, we do not have the technical capacity to offer live captioning at the event.

Q: Will there be seating available at the rally?

A: Organizers are making every effort to accommodate those who cannot stand for extended periods of time. However, priority seating near the stage may be limited. Marshals can provide directions.

Q: What if I need support during the march?

A: There will be a team of marshals that will surround the outside of the march on the left and right, the front and the back. Marshals will be clearly identified. This group of volunteers can assist you in accessing support, locating the accessible vehicles, and answering questions.

LOCAL TRANSPORTATION

Please note that as a small volunteer organizing group, we do not have the capacity to organize buses or be responsible for parking or permits, and cannot be responsible for transit issues. We have provided this information in an effort to share resources and offer some quick tips to assist in your attendance at the march.

GO TRANSIT

Other GO Transit stations that connect with TTC can be found on this map:http://www.gotransit.com/timetables/en/PDF/Maps/12171217/system_map.pdf

TTC

Wheel-Trans dedicated stop:

  • There is a dedicated Wheel-Trans stop/waiting area on the north side of City Hall – at Elizabeth and Hagerman Streets. There is a wide ramp with a continuous, graspable handrail. Attendees will need to travel around the building, south to Nathan Phillips Square.

Q: Which subway stations are the closest to Nathan Phillips Square?

A: The nearest subway stations to Nathan Phillips Square are Osgoode and Queen. Both stations are accessible.

BY CAR

Q: Will there be designated “drop-off” points for cars to drop passengers off near the march site?

A: There is no designated drop-off area at Nathan Phillips Square, and given the increasing numbers we expect that there might be delays in getting to the rally, so please plan your arrival accordingly.

Q: Is there a good place for me to park my car?

A: Paid public parking is available at several lots within a ten-minute walk. We are not responsible for parking arrangements; these are some suggestions.

BY BIKE

Q: Can I bike to the march?

A: You are welcome to ride your bike as transportation to the march. However, bikes are not allowed in the rally area or the march route.

Cyclists, here are some places to park near the rally site:

  • West side of City Hall (near Osgoode Hall): approximately 18 bikes
  • West side of City Hall (near playground): approximately 15 bikes
  • East side of City Hall under the elevated walkway near Bay Street: approximately 20 bikes
  • There are also quite a few bike racks on Chestnut Street and Elizabeth Street behind City Hall
  • The underground parking garage has room for approximately 30 bikes. The best way to get there is to enter the garage from Bay Street, make the first right (official parking) turn right at the ramp and the racks are near the mural that says "Welcome to City Hall". Note: usually fills up by 9:30 a.m.

WHAT TO BRING TO THE MARCH

Q: Will there be signs? Can I bring my own?

A: Yes! We will have a few signs on hand, but we are encouraging you to make your own and bring it to the march. One thing to note is signage or slogans are better remembered when they are brief, just a few words. Also consider that this will not only be seen in person at the march, but pictures and video will capture the march as there is an incredible amount of interest.

Q: What should I wear?

A: We advise you to check the weather regularly. Layers are always a good idea! The end of January can be cold. Please plan accordingly and dress for the weather. Remember, we will be outside for at least two hours. Even if the temperatures are higher than normal, being outside for hours at a time will affect you.

Q: Is there a single color we can wear to unite us?

A: We are not planning to wear anything in particular except VERY WARM CLOTHING. Please do the same and have fun planning ways to connect visually with your friends, groups and family members.


CONNECT WITH THE MARCH

Q: What is the best way to stay connected?

A: Keep checking the event page on Facebook. You can also join our Women March On: Toronto group on Facebook, follow us on Twitter.

Q: I’m not a woman or I don’t identify as a woman, am I invited?

A: Yes, Women March On: Defining Our Future is a march in support of all people: all backgrounds, nationalities, and genders. All are welcome. We will be marching in solidarity of equality, diversity and inclusion.

Q: Why are we marching?

A: Because we’re not done yet.

Across Turtle Island (North America) we continue to see a rise in acts of hate. On Saturday, January 20, join us for a women’s march - Defining Our Future - to unite our communities in Toronto and discuss the future of our city, as imagined by young, local activists.

Speakers will be confirmed shortly.

We come together to recognize the steps that have been taken to make our city more inclusive but continue to resist the hate that threatens, demonizes and insults so many of us – Muslims, Jews, racialized people, Indigenous people, migrants and those with precarious or no legal status, members of the LGBTTQQ2SI communities, disabled people and women.

As we gather on the anniversary of a historical moment in time - that saw millions of people come together for the Women’s March to say no to hate and yes to justice – we must march on and help build the city and world we dream of.

We hope this march inspires you to take action and push for social change and equity for the most marginalized and oppressed among us.

All allies are welcome.

Q: Who is organizing this?

A: We are volunteers! We are a diverse group of women/women-identified people that have multiple identities, and we range in our race, age, sexual orientation, disabilities, experiences, religion, education, class and social location. We came together last year to organize the 2017 Women’s March in Toronto and decided to do it again. Our organizing was organic and we are attempting to do our best to make this an inclusive and accessible action. Please bear with us as we are learning and growing from this organizing experience and we will make mistakes.


+

Giving thanks for the gifts of resistance and change

by Virginia Smith


Over 50 DA members and their families gathered at Toronto's Globe Bistro on Thanksgiving to express their gratitude for both their capacity to resist and their firm resolve to change the U.S.'s political direction next year. They also had fun together as they enjoyed a traditional turkey dinner. London-based members Gena Brummit, the chair of the London Chapter, and Marnelle Dragila, an officer of DA Canada, drove to Toronto to bring greetings and join the celebration.

The evening was hosted by Toronto vice-chair Nathan Lujan, who welcomed diners to the annual dinner. Various DA members took the microphone to voice their thoughts about the significance of the day and about upcoming DA projects. Toronto member Virginia Smith talked about the Vietnam Project, which will reflect on the ongoing relevance of the experiences of Americans who came to Canada in the early 1970s.

A humorous quiz about the first year of the Trump administration was circulated by DA Canada vice-chair Ed Ungar, who led diners through a list of questions that seemed to have no right answers. Isn't that what the last year has been like for most of us? A book was the prize for the winner in this apparently no-win situation.

Two of the quiz questions were (answers below, no cheating!):

1. What Fox headline crawl represented the network's greatest hope for development?

a. Obama admits that he can't match Trump's eloquence.

b. Trump: eventually, we will get something done.

c. Early returns look like GOP Virginia sweep.

d. Kelly's praise of Trump sincere!

2. According to Trump, what can you not be?

a. too rich

b. too thin

c. too humble

d. too greedy

The evening closed with good will to all and a renewe sense of purpose to work for change in the U.S. Congress by Thanksgiving day 2018. Summing up the evening, Toronto chair Julie Buchanan expressed gratitude to all those who contributed to the occasion, including David Markham, who donated the portable sound system that enabled speakers to communicate with the big group as a whole. It was a great evening spent with friends old and new. There was good food and good service. The annual Thanksgiving event creates a sense of family among Democrats Abroad members.


Quiz answers: 1. b, 2. d


+

Toronto greets Bernie with Standing Ovations

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            by Virginia Smith


Bernie Sanders’s late October speech at the University of Toronto advocating a single payer health care system in the U.S. was greeted enthusiastically by Democrats Abroad Toronto members. DA members gathered in two groups to respond to Sanders’s presentation – one group at Convocation Hall and one group at a nearby pub, where the event was watched on livestream.

Sanders’s Toronto weekend visit to Toronto included visits to three Toronto hospitals, where he discovered that it is not fair to say “that the system here is not a strong system and innovative system.” He said that the neonatal intensive care unit at Sinai’s health system was one facility that particularly impressed him. His speech about the necessity of health care for all was punctuated by standing ovations.

The DA members (who are officers of DA Canada and/or Toronto) who were able to attend the packed event were Christine Odunlami, Ed Ungar, Marnelle Dragila, Sue Alksnis, Carol Donahue, and Mari Rutka. The tickets were made available through DA Global to DA leaders and volunteers active in the DA health care stories campaign. Sue provided a petition calling on U.S. senators to cosponsor the Medicare for All Act brought forward by Sanders. Americans attending the event were invited to sign the petition, which was then sent to the national office of Health Care NOW.

These are a few of the responses to the speech by DA members in Convocation Hall:

Sue Alksnis: “When Dr. Danielle Martin of Women’s College Hospital asked how we will achieve the change we need, Bernie said the fight of this moment is to unify and take on the oligarchs. He said: ‘ I will tell you with 100% certainty there are people who are enormously powerful, with more wealth than you can dream of, who couldn’t care less about your lives, your children, about your parents. They want it all economically. They want it all politically. And we in the United States, in Canada, all over this world, we’ve got to stand together and tell these oligarchs that this planet belongs to all of us.’
….. Bernie also said the U.S. health care debate needs people in Canada and around the world to share their health care stories so that Americans cannot say that it isn’t possible to provide health care for all. Toward that end, DA has collected almost 400 health care stories from DA members. The stories are being printed in a book to be presented to Congress and Senator Sanders’s office. Stories can still be submitted at http://www.democratsabroad.org/healthcare_stories

Christine Odunlami: “Ever since Senator Sanders first put in his bid to run in the 2016 presidential election, to his current continuing activism, I knew something was indescribably extraordinary about him. Witnessing his speech solidified my expectations and more. It is my deepest hope that our fellow American citizens and politicians take full recognition of what Bernie’s speech communicates; single-payer healthcare is needed now. The passion and warmth displayed by Dr. Danielle Martin at Women’s College Hospital and at the other hospitals the senator toured show that patient-centred care as a human right is doable…”

Ed Ungar: “Every Senate term, Bernie introduces a single payer health care bill and, until this time, hardly anyone else signs on. But, this time, 16 of the most high profile Democratic senators are co-sponsors. The bill is basically modelled on Canada’s medical system. But as Ed Broadbent, former leader of the NDP, noted, Bernie’s bill improves on Canada’s system. Bernie thinks dental care, full psychological services, and dental services should be a basic right. If Bernie’s bill passes, and the odds are improving, then Canada may decide to catch up to the U.S. We shall see.”

DA members who watched the livestream at a nearby pub were greeted by Toronto Chapter Chair and Canada IT manager Julie Buchanan and Women’s Caucus Toronto Chair Karin Lippert, who worked as a team to set up the event.

Julie and Karin had these comments: “We're always happy to see our members at DemsAbroadTO events! We don't sponsor many brunches, but Brunch with Bernie at the Duke of York was a great opportunity to get together and hear his message on single payer health care. It was impressive that he had toured hospitals in Toronto the previous day and displayed detailed knowledge of the history of health care in both England and Canada. As Bernie said, change regarding health care came from ‘the bottom up’ in both countries. This has been true throughout history for change that benefits the general public. So it is up us to make sure we create the momentum and demand for single payer health care in U.S. elections going forward! The best moment of a Livestream event is when the tech works and we sign-up new volunteers. For those at the live event in Convocation Hall, Ed Ungar's sign summed-up what would be true for many of our members who benefit from Canadian health care: ‘ I'd be DEAD if I had stayed in the U.S.A.’"


+

In Person US Tax Seminars

DA Toronto - U.S. Tax Seminar

Thursday, October 26 and Thursday, November 2, 2017

Democrats Abroad Toronto is pleased to offer a new seminar on reporting requirements for U.S. citizens living in Canada.

U.S. citizens living abroad are required to file U.S. federal income tax returns annually, reporting their worldwide income. Are you uncertain about whether you’ve met the U.S. federal filing requirements? Have you filed your U.S. tax returns, but are concerned that what you reported may be incomplete or incorrect? Come get some answers to your questions and find out about potential relief from IRS penalties.

This live presentation will address both the technical and practical considerations associated with:

  • The impact of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) on filing requirements and IRS detection risk;

  • Submission of overdue or amended tax filings under the IRS’ Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedures (SFOP); and

  • Alternate means for submission of overdue or amended IRS filings.

You can choose to attend either of two sessions at Metro Hall in Toronto:

7 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Thursday, October 26, 2017 in Room 308 or

7 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Thursday, November 2, 2017 in Room 310

This is an in-person event, and registration is required.

REGISTER HERE

Jason Ubeika, CPA, CA, CPA (Illinois), the U.S. Personal Tax Practice Leader for BDO Canada LLP (BDO), has generously offered his time and expertise to host these sessions. Since 2003, he has specialized in Canada – U.S. cross-border taxation issues. Learn more about Jason and his practice at BDO here.

All funds raised by these seminars will be used to get out the vote in 2018 and 2020 and put Democrats back in charge!


+

Hillary’s Visit to Toronto: A Time for Celebration of Our Resistance

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  by  Virginia Smith

Democrats Abroad members celebrated Hillary Clinton’s September appearance in Toronto with drama, discussion, and a show of commitment. DA member Sue Alksnis, who attended the event costumed as Lady Liberty, was one of a group of DA volunteers who talked with the ticket holders, mostly women, as they stood in line for hours, about the importance of voting in the 2018 midterms if they are Americans. Ken Sherman, attired as Uncle Sam, also canvassed the lines. “I was overwhelmed by the numbers of Canadian women in attendance. I estimated at least 5,000,” he told Democrats Abroad.

The members of the group that engaged with people in line about voting were Melinda Medley, Gail Littlejohn, Kim Stone, Annie Parry, Shannon Parry, and Erin Campeau. The group was coordinated by Brooke Scott, who reported after the event that there “was such a positive feeling, some sadness and frustration, but actually a nice change.” The organizing team for the event included Danielle Stampley, Karin Lippert, and Julie Buchanan as well as Brooke. Both the volunteers and organizing team communicated the hope and energy that Democrats need to fuel their activities, now and in 2018.

A life-size cardboard cutout of Clinton also contributed to the drama of the event. Globe and Mail columnist Elizabeth Renzetti described how delighted her mother was to be photographed with the cutout. “This was her Woodstock.” DA member Tracy Hudson enthusiastically photographed ticket holders who wanted to be shown with the Hillary cutout and many others too. Over 100 photos were taken under the watchful scrutiny of the Secret Service officers who were there to protect the former First Lady.

 The event also featured serious discussion of the election and its outcome. The processes of talking about  and understanding the Democratic loss are vital to ensuring success in the 2018 elections. Sue Alksnis told an interviewer at CP24 about the importance of talking honestly about the 2017 result. After the election, “we were talking nonstop about it all the time, at home, at Democrats Abroad, and at work.” Hillary herself started the discussion with her book What Happened, and she made it clear that she is not afraid to tackle the facts.

Ken Sherman told DA that, in her talk, Hillary told the audience about how she emerged from her many walks in the woods, not only to reflect on her loss, but also to empower more women to seek elective office. She also said that “she believes that the Russian involvement in the election directly impacted her loss, but not as much as FBI Director James Comey’s announcements concerning her email investigations.” 

+
Read more

Proclaiming the Fierce Urgency of Now

Proclaiming the Fierce Urgency of Now

by Virginia R. Smith


DA Toronto members responded to the “fierce urgency of now” by gathering across the street from the U.S. Consulate on the 54th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech to reread those momentous words and rediscover their meaning as Americans confront the racism on display at events such as the recent neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A number of speakers brought viewpoints to the gathering based on their personal experiences:

-MC Carol Donohoe talked about how Dr. King’s speech expressed “the ideal we strive” for, which is stated in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights…” The "I Have a Dream" speech was fundamental to the process of passing the 1964 Civil Rights Act, she said.

- Danielle Stampley, vice chairperson of DA’s Toronto chapter, said that “we need his inspiration right now…Dr. King showed us how to resist…His speech is a source of hope.”

- Ed Ungar, vice-chair of DA Canada, was present at Dr. King’s speech on August 28, 1963. When he and other young people travelled from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., they immediately sensed the “universal love in the air…I’ve never felt anything like it before or since…From his first words, we knew that this was something different.” Ungar said that he was “grateful for the opportunity to be there.”

- Dewitt Lee III, treasurer of DA’s Toronto chapter, emphasized that “we have to be honest about how Africans came to the United States” and about “how they are treated” even now. About Dr. King, Lee said that “we need to take his advice…we are the inheritors of his dream and as he said, 'we cannot turn back!'” Lee also cited Emancipation Month in Canada as a time to remember the abolition of slavery in the British Empire on August 1, 1834, and noted the UN General Assembly’s proclamation of 2015 – 2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent.

- Ken Sherman, the chair of DA’s Hamilton-Burlington chapter, recalled that he was a pastor of a Black Lutheran Church during the 1960s civil rights movement. On February 6, 1968, he and other members of the organization Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam stood together with Dr. King at a vigil at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. Immediately following the assassination, Sherman went to Memphis to support the sanitation workers, and he marched with Coretta Scott King, SCLC and union leaders, and 42,000 others to honor Dr. King on April 8, 1968.

The "I Have a Dream" speech, which has become an oration second only to "The Gettysburg Address" in U.S. history, was then proclaimed. Readers, including Dewitt Lee’s children, Dewitt IV and Chy'Ana, took turns reading portions of the speech. A sense of deep respect spread through the gathering as we once again heard: “Free at last, Free at last, thank God almighty we are free at last.”

The gathering was well attended by Toronto media, which reported on the event that evening.


+

Report on Resistance Summer in Toronto

About a dozen Democrats engaged in discussion and postcard writing to members of Congress at an August 12 pop-up summer resistance event in Toronto’s High Park. Democrats Abroad (DA) banners alerted park strollers to DA’s active presence in the city’s west end. The event was one of three DA summer pop-ups in the Toronto area.

These events are important because Americans abroad want to be contacted so that they can show their resistance to hurtful initiatives such as the effort to repeal Obamacare, according to Danielle Stampley, vice-chair of DA’s Toronto chapter. DA Canada membership spiked after the 2016 election, and there is strong new interest in DA Canada’s women’s caucus and LGBTQ caucus. DA needs to keep raising its level of visibility through gatherings like the High Park pop-up.

Participants in the pop-up wrote postcards to their members of Congress about issues such as health care and peace making. Some wrote in support of a bill that would restrict the president’s first use of nuclear weapons, which was introduced this year by Senator Edward Markey (Mass.) and Representative Ted Lieu (Calif.). The bill, known as HR669, would require a declaration of war by Congress before the use of nuclear weapons.

By Virginia Smith, member at large on the Toronto board

+