On March 9, 2021, Democrats Abroad Toronto held its Annual General Meeting and elected a new Board for 2021-2023. We are so excited to have these wonderful volunteers leading the chapter. Please join us in welcoming the following Board members:
Chair: Dianna English
Co-Vice Chair: Tim Ellis
Co-Vice Chair: Danielle Stampley
Treasurer: Reg Charney
Secretary: Colleen Mahaffie
Members at Large:
Peel Region - Matt Riggs
York Region - Brooke Scott
Durham Region - Lucia Lloyd
Thank you for your support throughout 2020. We are looking forward to keeping the momentum going.
Join us at 7 pm on March 9, 2021 for the Democrats Abroad Toronto AGM. We will be announcing the result of our 2021 Board elections and taking nominations from the floor for open positions. We will also be celebrating everything we achieved in 2020. Please see the candidate statements below for the various Board member positions we will be electing.
Voting will be taking place electronically, and the Nominations and Election Committee will circulate ballots in advance of the AGM. Keep an eye out in your email for your ballot. RSVP Here for the AGM.Read more
Volunteer for a role that could help shape America. Deadline for nominations: January 22
Info Session on January 17th, 1:30 pm - info & RSVP here
Term: starting March 8, 2021 for two years, ending approximately March 2023.
Eligibility: All currently registered members of Democrats Abroad Canada who are members of the Toronto Chapter are eligible unless prohibited (i.e., term limits) per the Democrats Abroad Canada by laws. Current members of Democrats Abroad Canada who live in one of the regions of Durham, Peel, and York are eligible for the regional position in which they live.
Nomination Deadline: January 22, 2021
Nomination Process: Self-nomination forms must be submitted with a candidate statement via the Nominations Google Form link: https://forms.gle/rjaUF1wgdK4m4z346
Please contact the Nominations and Elections Committee if you require accommodation in submitting a nomination form, [email protected]Read more
Submitting your sealed ballot to the U.S. Consulate: We'd be happy to accept your sealed voting ballot! Once it is received, we will send it to election officials via diplomatic pouch. Please note that it may be faster for you to mail your ballot directly to election officials using the appropriate postage and the fastest method of mailing available.Read more
On June 2, 2020, DA Toronto members joined DA members from all over the world to hear from each other about the work we must do, especially as allies, to end systemic racism and police brutality in the United States. Special guests included Nina Turner, Virgie Rollins, Michael Blake, Kelly Hall-Tompkins and Akilah Ensley.
If you weren't able to join live, please consider watching the recording here.
Annual General Meeting - February 25, 2020
Board Meeting Minutes – Draft
Attendance: Danielle Stampley, Karin Lippert, Mari Rutka, Virginia Smith, Brooke Scott, Stephanie Perry, Steve Nardi, Liam Keating, Kaitlyn Min, Yusuf Nakhooda, Mandy Moore, Carey Singer, Joann Sochor, Paulette Kelly, Jeanette McCabe, Reg Charney, Diana English, Tim Ellis, Tomas Bribriesco, Liz Olin, Dawn Lambert
Meeting called to order by Danielle at 6:05 p.m. Danielle asks folks to review 2019 AGM minutes. Steve reminds us that only those at the previous meeting can vote to approve.
Approval of the Agenda:
Danielle asks to add discussion of Global Convention under other business. Mari moves approval, Karin seconds. Approved.
Vote for Co-Vice Chair:
On-line ballot and paper ballot process closed as of Feb. 25th. Some paper ballots passed out at meeting to those who didn't vote. Mari held the ballots until Reg could take them and tally them at the end of the meeting.
Minutes and Business Arising from the Minutes:
Approval of March 17, 2019 AGM Minutes
Danielle asks for additions or corrections. None suggested. Stephanie moves approval of the minutes, Virginia seconds. Approved.
Treasurer’s Report: tabled for later in the meeting (see below).
Report on 2019 Events:
Karin speaks to events done last year, which included:
- Toronto Women's March in January, 2019
- Women's Caucus Movie Night
- US Tax Seminars
- Panel with Donna Brazile and Leah Daughtry
- Rally to Release the Mueller Report
- Women's Caucus Potluck at Mari Rutka's Home
- Women's Caucus at Second City Toronto
- Global Climate Strike Rally at Queen's Park
- Lights for Liberty Rally to Keep Families Together
- Meet & Greet with Julia Bryan
- "No One is Above the Law" Rally
- Thanksgiving Dinner
- Debate Watches
Karin reminds us to check our e-mails for upcoming events. Copy of list to be attached to minutes.
Future Scheduled Events:
GPP Voting Center, March 3, 7 & 8
Danielle speaks to the excitement of coming events. We have a debate watch after the AGM. She explains about the global presidential primary voting centers. Can vote on-line, but can also come to a voting center. There will be 4 centers. On March 3rd, one at East of Brunswick pub, one at Square One. She asks everyone to volunteer, especially in Mississauga. One on 7th at East of Brunswick and one in Mississauga on the 8th. Democrats Abroad get 21 delegates to the Democratic National Convention. They are allocated according to percentage of votes for those candidates getting over 15% of votes. Have gotten many new members over the past few months.
Global Convention for Democrats Abroad, May 15-17
In May, there will be up to 300 people from chapters all around the world in Toronto for the Global Convention. This is where delegates will be elected. The more voters in the Canada in the GPP, the more delegates Canada could send. There will be training as well on get out the vote activities at the convention. Toronto was chosen because of proximity to the US. Some folks may come up from the DNC and possibly even candidates. Details on how to become a delegate are online.
Liam says he gets questions he can’t answer. Steve points him to [email protected].
We will be using Zoom for remote access to the convention. Steve says we’re all welcome to attend. A call-out went out for volunteers and home stays. There are dorm rooms at Univ. of Toronto and rooms at the Chelsea. Contact Danielle if you want more information on this.
Pride, June 26-28
This is one of the largest community outreach opportunities. There are a lot of Americans that attend. We have a booth on Church Street. Hoping to march in the parade this year. Would like to get 100 people to march. Danielle gives examples of elections in Florida and Kentucky where the number of Democrats Abroad can make a difference in election outcomes.
There will also be other events to help get out the vote. Intend to set up on campuses. Would like to set up in Guelph because there are lots of Americans at the school because of their veterinary program. Liam says he’s met someone at Guelph who is interested. Steve says we need to connect them to local chapter. Danielle says please speak to her if you are interested in helping organize get out the vote events.
Danielle explains that most Democrats Abroad Toronto meetings are the second Tuesday of each month and everyone is welcome to come and help out.
Announcement of Election Results:
Reg says there were 76 votes for chapter co-vice chair.
Tim Ellis wins with 39 votes.
Carey Singer 28
David Green 9
No spoiled ballots.
Danielle thanks all who participated.
Treasurer’s Report (held from earlier):
Reg reports to the fiscal year end which is Dec. 31, 2019.
Reg submits details, which will be attached to the minutes for the AGM.
Motion to approve the report by Dianna, seconded by Danielle. Approved.
Future scheduled Board meetings:
- March 10, 2020
- April 14, 2020
- May 12, 2020
- June 9, 2020
- July 7, 2020
Adjournment moved by Mari at 6:46 pm.
Minutes respectfully submitted by Mari Rutka
The DA Toronto 2020 Annual General Meeting ("AGM") is February 25th at 6 pm. We will be circulating ballots for the Co-Vice Chair elections on February 11, 2020 by email to members. Alternatively, members can vote in person at the meeting. The candidate who is elected will serve until the 2021 AGM.
Electronic ballots must be submitted by 12:00 am EST on February 25, 2020.
I have just recently re-joined Democrats Abroad Canada. I was the treasurer several years ago. I am a CPA from Chicago. I have been practicing US Taxation for Americans in Canada for 30 years. I have Board Experience from DemCan in the past. I also was on the Board of the Reelworld Film Festival. I would be glad to provide more information and provide references at your request.
Other Background: Married with 2 children. My wife is Canadian. My kids, ages 18 and 21, are dual citizens. I am passionate about the cause. I believe that my past experience with Boards, as well as my business experience would help make me very qualified for the position. Thank you for your consideration.
I am Visiting Professor of History at Cornell University, where I have taught a Summer Session course in American political communication four times since 1991 and will be teaching it again this summer. The course is entitled "Words as Weapons: Political Vocabulary, Mass Media, and the Evolution of Political Consciousness." I taught the same course at York University here in Toronto during the summer of 2006. The course is an outgrowth of my book, The Language of Politics in America: Shaping Political Consciousness From McKinley to Reagan, published by Cornell University Press in 1991.
Since 2012, I have also been a contributor to The American Interest, a bi-monthly political journal based in Washington, D.C. My most recent article, entitled "Is the Mainstream Left, Right, or Center?", was published on June 19, 2019, and can be found at www.the-American-interest.com. If you go to their website and search my name, it will bring up five articles which I have published since 2012, beginning with "A Call to Linguistic Disobedience," which appeared on June 10, 2012. Alternatively, just email me and I can provide pdf copies of all five articles.
My educational background is as follows: B.A. Cornell 1962; M.A. Stanford 1963; Ph.D. Cornell 1967. I was also an American Council of Learned Societies Post-doctoral Fellow in 1971-1972 at the Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. In addition to Cornell and York, I have taught at Ohio State and given guest lectures at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C. and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
In the real world, since 1998 I have been President & CEO of Berenson Green Financial Services, Inc., an independent financial consulting firm. I am married to Arlene Gehring, Cornell 1964, and we have four children and six grandchildren (so far). Finally, I am a lifelong registered Democrat and vote by absentee ballot in Ithaca, N.Y., where Cornell is located.
I'm proud to nominate Timothy Ellis for Co-Vice Chair of the DA Toronto Chapter. He has been active with our chapter attending events, actions and bringing in new members for several years. He is an organizer with a long list of experience, including at Leadnow.ca as a community organizer.
Also he's been a campaign manager and worked for candidates (ex. Bernie Sanders), worked as a union community organizer and event coordinator. His political knowledge and people skills - bringing people out and getting them energized - will invaluable during this election year. I can't think of any other young adult with more experience, intelligence, enthusiasm and talent that we could elect.
He was a speaker - along with Danielle Stampley, Chair of the chapter and others - at our recent IMPEACH/REMOVE rally in Toronto. He got everyone's attention with his enthusiasm, positivity and confidence about what we can accomplish TOGETHER! He is from Eden, New York and attended Jr. and High School there.
-- nominated by Karin Lippert, Co-Vice Chair Toronto Board, Co-Lead Women's Caucus Toronto Chapter
Due to a resignation in 2019, we are looking for male/male-identifying/non-
Serving on the Board is a great way to take action and make a difference in 2020. We will be organizing debate watches, running a polling place for the Democrats Abroad Presidential Primary, and most importantly Getting Out the Vote for 2020!
The Co-Vice Chair performs the following role:
In the absence of the Chapter Chair, either of the Co-Vice Chairs shall call and preside at meetings of members and of the Executive Committee. The Co-Vice Chairs shall have such other duties as chairing one or more committees. The Co-Vice Chairs shall work with the Chair to ensure all responsibilities approved by and on behalf of the organization are supervised and executed appropriately.
The voting will take place online during February and at the DA Toronto Annual General Meeting on February 25, 2020. Further details of the AGM will be sent in January 2020 according to our Bylaws.
If you have any questions about what's involved and whether this is a good fit for you, email us at [email protected]
On July 12, about 100 people, including members of Democrats Abroad (DA), gathered near the U.S. Consulate in Toronto to protest the detention of thousands of migrant children in overcrowded settings in Florida, Texas, and elsewhere in the U.S.
A lawyer who visited one of these facilities has reported that a large majority of the children have U.S. based family members who could take care of them. Instead, they are sleeping on mats and cement floors, and they are not being adequately nourished. Fruit and vegetables are not provided.
Reporters for the Miami Herald, who visited a facility in Homestead, Florida, said that children are identified by a number rather than a name and have very regimented schedules, including five-minute showers and two 10-minute calls a week to family members.
As protestors gathered in Toronto, gatherings were happening at detention centres across the U.S. and in other countries, including Germany and Ireland. The Toronto gathering included participants in the YWCA Settlement Program, the Canadian Association of Refugee lawyers, members of the Honduran community, and other groups, as well as DA members.
A number of speakers talked about urgent need to close these prison-like facilities:
Irit Printz, the rabbi of B’nai Shalom v’Tivah synagogue, said that “This is not a moral gray area. Children should not be held in detention in conditions that are worse than the conditions in which people can keep animals. Parents should not be torn away from their children. Providing people with basic necessities and a safe place to stay should be obvious, not a matter of debate.”
Karin Lippert, DA Toronto chapter Vice-chair, stated later that “Our message at the Lights for Liberty was: Close the Camps. Americans and people around the world are horrified by the images of children in cages, sleeping on the floor in their own feces, without adequate food and water. This is not reflective of American and Canadian values and must not continue. Close the Camps was both a solemn demonstration and a sacred space. Several speakers reminded us of the decades of exploitation of Central America by American corporations – supported by the U.S. government – and the general disregard there has been for the PEOPLE of Central America.”
Ed Ungar, DA Canada Vice-chair, stressed that action is required: “If you do not provide the basics of life (toothbrushes, showers, and so on) for children in your custody, that’s child abuse – child neglect. Society removes those children from custody. This is just as society must remove children from the Trump administration’s custody.”
The gathering concluded with candle lighting, song, and words of encouragement for the journey forward. Julie Buchanan, DA Canada Executive Vice-Chair recalled that “after moving stories and inspirational speakers, we sang John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’”: Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one. ”True, I may be a dreamer but clearly I was not the only one there that day. There is always hope,” said Ms. Buchanan.
In her statement, Rabbi Printz noted the meaning of candle lighting: She said that Jews light candles on Hannukah “because of the principle that light should always be increased in the world, that the world is dark enough without removing what light there is. I am so proud to stand with you today as we add our light to the world with the hope that we can make the world a little brighter, a little more caring, perhaps even a little more just.”
For DA members, the July 12 protest pointed the way toward action that is needed in 2020. Karin Lippert said that the gathering was a powerful reminder of our shared humanity. “ Going forward, the activism of Democrats Abroad living in Canada and around the world, and also our voter turnout in 2020 will be an affirmation of our values and an expression of the collective power of every vote.”
Authored by Virginia Smith
The DA Toronto Women's Caucus brings members together on a key issue
A group of about 20 Democrats Abroad Toronto members, all women except for one, gathered over a June 9 potluck dinner to discuss strategies for resistance to the anti-choice laws that have been recently enacted in Alabama and elsewhere. The Alabama law, which is the most restrictive in the nation, would outlaw nearly all abortions and make performing an abortion a felony. Legislators in a number of other states, including Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Ohio have also recently passed bills limiting women’s right to terminate a pregnancy. It has become evident that the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision is not an adequate protection of American women’s ability to control their own bodies.
The pro-choice potluck dinner was graciously hosted by Toronto Board Secretary Mari Rutka at her home. The comfortable atmosphere enabled people to talk about their own lives. Toronto Women’s Caucus Chair Karin Lippert noted that “bringing women together, especially at a potluck in someone’s home, just like a quilting bee or a consciousness-raising group, gives women an opportunity to talk about their personal experiences. The story telling builds solidarity. It leads to unity, determination, and action.”
Jennie Toby, one of the participants in the dinner and discussion, talked about her stance on women’s right to choose this way: “I believe it is incredibly important that women have the right to choose what is best for them. The nuances and considerations that get factored in when making such an important decision, such as to continue or terminate a pregnancy, rest solely within the realm of the woman and her day to day life. No one can possibly know what that woman’s life is like, what her situation is, or what she should do. I do not and cannot support any laws that remove that choice from a woman. To do so is to remove any faith and trust in a woman’s capacity to make an informed choice about her life and future.”
Much of the discussion at the potluck focused on ways to make the case for women’s right to choose. We know that we have made the case many times before, but laws related to choice never seem to get finally settled. Therefore, it is vital to keep showing why protection of the freedom to choose is the only fair and just way to proceed. We agreed that we might be able to change people’s minds about choice, not by making theoretical arguments, but by telling stories and asking questions. We can ask: what would you do in this impossibly difficult situation? We can tell stories about why women make the difficult decision to terminate a pregnancy. We concluded our discussion by writing postcards to our Congressional representatives, urging them to uphold the right to choice.
*Thanks to Toronto Board Member Virginia Smith for writing this post.