News

Lights for Liberty: Democrats Abroad Joins Others to Protest Detention of Migrant Children

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

 

 


Dealing With Challenges to Choice

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.

+

Congratulations to the new Toronto Board!

At the 2019 AGM, the DA Toronto membership elected the following members to its 2019-2020 Board:

  • Danielle Stampley, Chair 
  •  Karin Lippert, Vice Chair 
  •  Reg Charney, Treasurer 
  •  Mari Rutka, Secretary 
  •  Janette McCabe, Member at Large 
  •  Brooke Scott, Member at Large
  • Kate Leuschen-Millar, Member at Large 
  • Sam Rowan, Member at Large 
  • Stephanie Perry, Member at Large
  • Ed Ungar, Member at Large
  • Arielle Loeb, Member at Large
  • Virginia Smith, Member at Large

They all look forward to serving the chapter members as we approach the 2020 election. Ever forward!

+

Spring Cleaning - $20 for 2020 Fundraiser

Julie Buchanan, our past DA Toronto Chair, has been doing some spring cleaning and would like to offer a deal to our members for some of our 'vintage' T-Shirts in our $20 for 2020 Fundraiser. T-shirts and swag will be sent straight to your shipping address, via Canada Post.

Sign up here! Help support our Get Out the Vote efforts for 2020!

+

AGM Information, Nominations and Election Commitee (NEC) Report, Candidate Statements

Toronto Chapter AGM
Center for Social Innovation
192 Spadina
Toronto
Sunday March 17th
3-4 pm

We will tallying ballots and finalizing the election, taking nominations from the floor if necessary, reviewing our many accomplishments over the last term.

We are planning to celebrate after the AGM at a nearby pub so stay tuned!

RSVP here to attend in person

You may also attend virtually by Web Ex on your own device! RSVP here to receive those instructions.

 

_____________________________

NEC Toronto Report 2019

The NEC held conference calls and evaluated the 2019 Nominee Statements.  We kept minutes, sent agendas, and worked towards filling all positions.  Our final report will be given at the AGM.

Erin Campeau, Teller
Reg Charney
Star Goggins, Chair

_____________________________

CANDIDATE STATEMENTS

 

Danielle Stampley

Chapter Chair

I am the outgoing Co-Vice-Chair of the Democrats Abroad - Toronto Chapter, and I am running for Chair because I would like to build on the momentum we created in 2018 by increasing engagement in 2019 and getting out the vote in 2020. I am also the current Counsel of Democrats Abroad Canada.

Before joining Democrats Abroad, I worked with other small volunteer projects. In the short time I have been with DA (since 2017), I have learned a lot about organizing and how to best deploy the resources we have available. We are all volunteers, which means we have limited time and have to be strategic in how we invest that time. We are getting better and better at this, and our enthusiasm is limitless.

As a Vice Chair, I helped plan meetings and chair them in our Chair's absence. I organized volunteers, sent out communications and planned events. I also worked to organize chapter resources online and train volunteers. I have attended our international DA Meeting and have developed a good understanding of the organization's resources and rules.

When I'm not working with DA, I'm a lawyer. I started out practicing in a large law firm in New York, and now I represent workers and unions in an employment and labour practice. In both settings, organization, planning, and leadership are key to a successful practice. I rely on these skills in my work with DA.

I am a Missouri voter, and I won't be satisfied unless we do everything we can to turn out every overseas Democratic vote in 2020.  I would very much appreciate your support.

_____________________________

Karin Lippert

Co-Vice-Chair

We need people like Karin Lippert who inspires the people with hope and
justice in their heart to devote enough time into changing the world.

She has devoted hundreds of hours to voter outreach events, hitting the
streets and handing out literature, working in voter outreach booths at
street fairs, organizing events like debate watches and producing a voter
outreach video at Second City.

In the last term she co-chaired the first ever Women's Caucus in Toronto and has been fighting for womens' rights for 50 years.

As our media contact, she sent out press releases and organized at least 3o interviews with various board members. The key in terms of media is establishing good relationships, providing accurate information and putting forward spokespersons who can put the
issues and Democrats Abroad role in getting out the vote to as wide an
audience as possible. Building the media relationships is especially
important in a large media market like Toronto.

She has the experience, expertise and is an inspiration to us all

Julie Buchanan

_____________________________

George Polak

Co-Vice-Chair

Hello,

I am a retired sales and marketing leadership professional with some 44 years of doing the work and leading the work of others in a team-oriented setting.

I am committed to the ideals of the Democrat party who, I firmly believe today more than ever needs to take back the White House and Senate while retaining the House.

I am an Army veteran of 3 years which included a tour in 1970 in Vietnam Nam and feel I did not make this sacrifice so that our thin skinned, no nothing, egomaniac could become leader of the US and the free world.
It would be my honour to serve!

_____________________________

Mari Rutka

Secretary

I have enjoyed my duties as co-secretary for the Toronto Chapter and am willing to continue in that role.  It has been a pleasure to be around so many who are dedicated to making a difference by helping to support Americans abroad, both in their ability to vote and in supporting matters of particular concern to Americans living in Canada.   Hope I can still help.

_____________________________

Treasurer

No nominee

Kathleen Leuschen

Member at Large

Hailing from Omaha, Nebraska with stops in Virginia and Maryland along the way, I have been a Toronto resident for over 20 years.  I have served as a Member-at-large for the Toronto Chapter for the last two years and as the Treasurer for the last few months.  I bring to the position my experience in the non-profit sector, including various roles in high profile private and public foundations.

Currently my passions include gender equity and parent engagement in education.  I volunteer in various roles that blend my own love of social justice with being a policy nerd and strategic planner.

This year, I hope to use my background in organizational governance and strategy to engage our younger, progressive members in our get out the vote efforts. Toronto has an amazing number of Americans living abroad that simply need the right reason to join us.

_____________________________

Arielle Loeb

Member at Large

I’ve been living outside of the US since 2006; first in Europe and now in Canada. While a proud resident of Toronto, I continue to be a fiercely proud American. I have chosen to submit my candidacy for Member-at-Large at Democrats Abroad Canada because I believe the upcoming 2020 elections are too important for me to remain a bystander and voter only.

While living in Canada, I want to do whatever I can to ensure fellow Americans living here are registered to vote. I want to show how easy it is to vote absentee from Canada and the importance of doing so. The midterm elections have demonstrated that every vote truly counts.

I have worked in marketing my entire career. First at General Mills in the US, followed by stints in Europe and Canada. Currently, I am the EVP of Marketing for Spark Power, an independent power company based in Oakville.

I would like to bring these experiences to Democrats Abroad Canada. While I am a relatively new member of Democrats Abroad, I think the upcoming elections offer a great opportunity to increase awareness about the organization, its cause, and how Americans living in Canada can engage and ensure their votes are counted and their voices are heard.

To the position of Member-at-Large and the Board overall, I will bring my passion for making positive change happen—as well as over 20 years of persuasive marketing and communication know-how—in any way that can serve the organization and its members.

Some races in the midterms were decided by as little as a percentage point. “With America’s elections increasingly decided by far less, participation in early voting can decide races from Congress to school boards” (Quartz article, After 2018, the US should stop calling it election day), I want to do my part to ensure that every American living in Toronto/the GTA have the chance to participate in a way that works for them. 

_____________________________

Lewis Luo

Member at Large

I'll say thank you to Julie for her email at the beginning. Julie said "We need you to volunteer to be a member of the Board of the Toronto Chapter".

I've known Julie, Star, Sherry, David, Ed, Bennett, Lissette and many other fellow Americans here and among Expat American abroad friends for some years now. Frankly, I've learned a lot from YOU and obtained both your helps and your friendships as well in many aspects. I feel grateful to your friendship, in particular David, Ednar and Starla 'Star'.

Participating DA branch organized "Register and vote abroad" community event, to advise citizen students in Toronto area to sign up online and to demonstrate the privilege right vote from abroad; attending Tax seminar in local library and tele-conference workshop on overseas American TAX issues and concerns; assisting in election-watch party, pub night and election debate, handling vote from abroad postings and accepting training in Toronto Consulate General etc. I've been a pretty active participant in the local branch community.

I'm passion of public service, obligated to voice people's concerns about their responsibilities verse their legal rights. i fully understand the role that DA can play in community and in electoral democracy process. Too often, I told myself it's not always about to win or to lose, but to show your passion and your care across the party line.

Ten years went through and gone by, since I left home state. I crossed over day by day and another, while missing home, friends and family relatives, too painful to tell. I never have such kind of feelings in my life!

Member-At-Large position can be a fit to fulfill my passion and to be ALWAYS ready on-call to GO HOME.

Thank you for your consideration.

_____________________________

Janette McCabe

Member at Large

Although my family and my roots are in Toronto, I have spent almost 25 years of my adult life living in the United States and my husband and I raised our three children there. When then candidate, Barack Obama became the Democratic nominee in 2008 I became highly energized to become an American citizen so that I could vote in this historic election. I was ecstatic with his victory and felt that the values and causes for which he and the Democratic party stood aligned with mine. Throughout my adult life I have been involved in social justice issues; in particular those related to Latin America, human rights/refugee rights and in the latter part of my professional life worked with a refugee resettlement agency in Louisville, Kentucky as the Special Medical Needs Coordinator. I have an undergraduate degree in Nursing and an M.A in Political Science. In the 2012 and 2016 Presidential elections I did some door to door canvassing in Cincinnati for Democratic candidates as well as some phone banking and most recently worked as a volunteer in the Toronto office assisting with phone banking for the 2018 mid-term election. In December I was invited to join the Toronto Board as a Member-at-Large and was happy to accept this position. I am deeply concerned about the events I see happening in the U.S. and feel a responsibility to work to bring about the changes necessary to reverse the course taken by the Republican government over the last two years. I am committed to working diligently with other Board members and volunteers with the goal of engaging and increasing the membership of Democrats Abroad, getting out the vote and ultimately, ensuring a Democratic victory in the 2020 Presidential election which by almost any measure will be the most consequential election of our time. I would be grateful for your support in this effort. Thank you.

_____________________________

Stephanie (Sarah) Perry

Member at Large


I am a retired lawyer, age 62, and as a phonebanker during the recent mid-terms I was one of the most committed (in terms of hours worked, not in terms of the fervour we all shared) volunteers in the Toronto campaign centre. I believe I may have been the "top-producer" for the Toronto chapter, and I know we all had a great time working together on a project we passionately believed in.

I'm really, really OLD, so I've done volunteer work for many organizations, dating back to handing out anti-war -- that's the VIETNAM War -- flyers every day after middle school, without my GOP parents' knowledge.

Most relevant for this position is that I chaired a non-profit community organization, The Cabbagetown Tour of Homes, here in Toronto. I had started as a one-day volunteer, then for a few years thereafter served as the volunteer co-ordinator and was responsible for organizing over 200 volunteers at multiple locations and in varying functions, for the weekend of the event, and eventually I got stuck running the whole damn thing for 5 years as chair.  We raised tens of thousands of dollars annually ( at a time when that was LOTS of money)  for local charities, including an after-school arts programs for at-risk kids in Regent Park which combined counselling with creativity, and an English literacy group for new Canadian women , many of whom couldn't read and write in their own languages and who were socially isolated.

I am grateful to DemsAbroad for keeping me informed on the issues most relevant to Americans abroad (of ANY political denomination) and for the help voting over the 25 years I've been here in Toronto, but I only got involved, came out to an event, and signed up to work for the organization as a phonebanker,  after Trump came in.

There is no cause more important to me at this time than 2020, and I understand that the Toronto Chapter is looking for competent and committed members with the time to step up and do more. 

If you can use me, I'm available.

_____________________________

Sam Rowan

Member at Large

I am self nominating myself to be a member-at-large for the next election cycle because as the posting on the website states, this is probably the most important election of my lifetime and want to help Democrats Abroad in any way possible. I recognize the importance that having an engaged base for the in the Toronto area as Democrats Abroad play a massive role in holding the Democratic Party to a progressive platform. Having volunteered municipal and provincial political parties in Canadian elections I have gained valuable experience talking and working get members and potential members of political parties to engage in the electoral process and look forward to doing the same in this coming election.

As a current student at Ryerson University, I feel that I'm an ideal candidate to be a member at large as I can help recruit fellow students who are eligible to vote yet haven't been engaged in American politics before to vote in this upcoming election. Being in a University environment ensures that I've been writing consistently over the past year in a way that will be considered professional and competent for this position. Additionally I find my current enrollment at a local University to be important because issues like climate change and financial equality are the most pressing issues of this next election and considering the enthusiasm that politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ro Khanna , show that mobilizing a young and progressive vote in Toronto will help assure that the party runs a optimistic campaign in order to combat the Neo-Fascist platform the Republicans will be running on the next election. As the last election proved a lesser of two evils platform is simply not good enough to beat Donald Trump's populist appeal.

_____________________________

Brooke Scott

Member at Large-York Region

My name is Brooke Scott and I am running for Member at Large-York Region. For nearly the past two years I have been the Member at Large for York region attending monthly Toronto board meetings both in person and online. I have participated in and run several events to engage US eligible voters. Beginning in 2018, I began became co-chair of the Women's Caucus Canada and recently have begun running the Women's Caucus Canada. I believe in grassroots activism and the power of our vote to create progressive change.

_____________________________

Virginia Smith

Member at Large

I think that I have made some significant contributions to the work of Democrats Abroad during my current term on the Toronto board as a member-at-large, and I would like to be able to continue those contributions. I may also start contributing in new ways if I am elected again.  My worked has been focused in two areas: as a mover of Democrats Abroad Vietnam project and as a writer of articles for the DA website.
A primary goal of the Vietnam project has been to tell the stories of DA members who moved to Canada from the U.S. during the late 1960s and early 1970s. The turbulence caused by the Vietnam War was a factor in the moves made by many Americans at that time. The project also aims to discover the contemporary relevance of the experiences of those who moved. Some of the stories told to DA can be found on the Democrats Abroad Canada website.
I have written a number of articles for the DA website, including articles on Hillary Clinton's visit to Toronto, on DA Toronto's response to the Parkland shootings, and on DA's efforts to get out the vote for the 2018 election.
My professional experience includes writing, editing, and community organizing. I have worked with a number of community-based initiatives, for example, the Out of the Cold program. I am currently a member of the council at my church. I have been involved in effort to develop bonds of friendship with Muslim organizations and families in Toronto.
I came to Canada as a student and became a permanent resident in the late 1960s. I am from New York, and I continue to vote from there.

_____________________________

Ed Ungar

Member at Large

 I've been on Toronto's ExCom since Toronto was effectively Canada's Ex Com. Among other activities. It's been wonderful to see Democrats Abroad Toronto and Canada grow to where we are. It is also important to keep in mind how far we have to go. Along with attending and organizing our reach outs at street fairs and labor day parades I'm proud to, along with Adrian Jones, to have  organized the first DA phone bank in the world right here in Toronto. Right now, I am a member emeritus. But that does not carry voting privileges nor does it allow me to help contribute to a quorum. I am running for member at large so I can further contribute in the next crucial years.

Ed  Ungar

_____________________________

 

 

 

 

 


Nomination Deadline Jan 31, 2019 - Volunteer for the election that will save America

Use this link http://da.formstack.com/forms/2019agm to self-nominate for a position on the board, or contact the Nominations and Elections Committee with any questions at all about running (volunteering) Email nec-toronto@democratsabroad.ca

Chapter Chair

The Chapter Chair shall be the legal representative of DA Canada-Toronto and the Chief Executive Officer of the organization and shall preside at all General Meetings and all meetings of the Board. The Chapter Chair shall have responsibility for the day-to-day activities of DA Canada-Toronto and for execution of all activities approved and undertaken by the Board. The Chapter Chair may appoint such ad hoc committees as necessary for the execution of the activities of DA Canada-Toronto. The Chapter Chair shall be a voting member of all Standing Committees and ad hoc committees. The Chapter Chair shall be a member of and attend meetings of Democrats Abroad Canada.

Co-Vice-Chair

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. One of the Co-Vice Chairs elected shall be a member who is of different gender to the Chair.

Treasurer

The Treasurer shall manage the finances of the organization, maintain its financial reports to members and make and maintain such financial reports as may be required by law (including without limitation the laws and regulations of the United States and the several States applicable to political parties and contributions to them). All such records shall be open for inspection by members. The Treasurer shall prepare and present to the Annual General Meeting of Democrats Abroad Canada-Toronto a Statement of Income and Expenses and a Balance Sheet.

Secretary

The Secretary shall attend and produce minutes for all Board and Executive Committee meetings. The Secretary shall maintain all files and administrative records of the organization. All of such records shall be open for inspection by members. Minutes of all meetings shall be sent to the Executive Committee once approved by the Chapter Chair and/or either Co-Vice Chair. The Secretary shall schedule and coordinate participation for all Board meetings.

Member-at-Large (8 positions including 3 regional)

Members-at-Large bring to the organization special gifts and talents. Members-at-large should expect to spend time receiving and keeping informed by multiple emails from our list serve. You will work to engage area members by organizing events, such as Tax Seminars, Debate Watches in 2019 and 2020, Global Primary Voting Centers in early 2020, participate in phone banking events in 2020, pub nights, round circles, movie nights and speaker nights. We also need special skills with Nation Builder and folks to devote time to database work: phoning members whose emails bounce, contacting new members when they join, and contacting members whose memberships are expiring. Other responsibilities may include: posting events on our website, writing articles for our website, writing and or sending emails.

Member-at-Large Durham Region

Member-at-Large Durham Region works to engage area members by hosting events, such as Tax Seminars, Debate Watches in 2019 and 2020, a Global Primary Voting Center in early 2020, phone banking events in 2020, pub nights, round circles, movie nights and speaker nights.

Member-at-Large Peel Region

Member-at-Large Durham Region works to engage area members by hosting events, such as Tax Seminars, Debate Watches in 2019 and 2020, a Global Primary Voting Center in early 2020, phone banking events in 2020, pub nights, round circles, movie nights and speaker nights.

Member-at-Large York Region

Member-at-Large Durham Region works to engage area members by hosting events, such as Tax Seminars, Debate Watches in 2019 and 2020, a Global Primary Voting Center in early 2020, phone banking events in 2020, pub nights, round circles, movie nights and speaker nights.

Save the Date! Women's Caucus Event-'She the People' at Second City

SHE THE PEOPLE: GIRLFRIENDS' GUIDE TO SISTERS DOING IT FOR THEMSELVES
When: Sunday, March 10, 2019
Time and Payment details coming the week of Jan 18th! Stay Tuned!

March 8th is International Women's Day. This day became a global organizing day for women and workers in America when young women in the New York garment workers district began the tradition of marching on this day. It has always been a day when union workers around world march and women globally have joined in celebrating this day and demanding gender equity. This seemed like a perfect weekend for the Democrats Abroad Women's Caucus to launch our 2019 activities.

So we're starting the new year together at Second City! We have so much ahead, but we won't accomplish our hard work without solidarity and laughter. That's why we chose "SHE THE PEOPLE" at Second City is the perfect event for us begin 2019. The women in the cast the show are "fearlessly funny" and DA women are just as fearless and we all like to laugh! Toronto Co-Vice Chair Danielle Stampley, says this show is "Hilarious!" The critics agree with her:
*"This is an essential show." - NOW Toronto
*"Not only are The Second City women capable of writing, directing, acting, singing, dancing, and putting a show together with male input, but they are equally capable of making the audience shrieked with laughter while making cutting political statements." - Melania Motta, women's Post
*"If the future is female, then 'She the People' is a welcome introduction to the new world. Whether you're female, male, transgender or whatever, go and laugh and have a good time." - Jeff Cottrill, Digital Journal
*Broadway World - "Incredibly witty-often subversive-and constantly hilarious"


The Future is here and it's Female! She The People! 

Democrats Abroad Women's Caucus Toronto & Canada
Karin Lippert, Co-Chair WCToronto & Brooke Scott, Chair WCCanada


See you at Second City!
Karin and Brooke


+

Democratic Women March for Passage of ERA-Toronto

The January 19 Toronto Women’s March brought together hundreds of women and their supporters for a brisk walk on a stormy day to proclaim that “We Will Not Go Back!” The central goals for the Democrats Abroad contingent in the march were approval of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and an end to violence against women. The march was the third organized since the inauguration of Donald Trump as President in January 2017. “That moment was a wake-up call for women. It showed how far we still need to go to achieve equality,” said Danielle Stampley, Vice-chair of the Toronto chapter of Democrats Abroad.

The Democrats Abroad (DA) contingent in the march from City Hall to Queen’s Park included about a dozen DA members based in Toronto and also in London, Ontario. DA Canada Secretary Marnelle Dragila and Gena Brumitt, the Chair of DA’s London and area chapter, made the trip from London despite the severe conditions. Ms. Dragila, who wore a Handmaid’s Tale costume for the occasion, said that “I’ve attended the Toronto Women’s March every year since that incredibly inspiring first march in 2017. Since Trump was elected and due to his subsequent additions to the Supreme Court, it has felt to me that women’s rights have never been more at risk during my life time (I was born the same year that Roe v Wade was decided). As a result, I decided to wear a Handmaid’s Tale costume to the march this year. It seemed like an appropriate choice given what’s so clearly at stake now.”

The crowd included representatives of trade unions, church-based groups, and political parties as well as members of women’s organizations. The proceedings at City Hall were launched by a group of drummers, who were followed by a number of speakers, including Toronto Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam. Ms. Wong-Tam told the crowd that women need to make sure that their voices are heard on issues such as gender equality, poverty, and violence against women.

The Women’s March this year was an international event that featured marches in many U.S. cities, Canadian cities, and London, UK. “It is upsetting to women everywhere that someone who has animosity toward women holds power,” said Ms. Stampley. Karin Lippert, the Co-chair of DA Toronto’s Women’s Caucus, summed up the day’s events this way: “It was cold, but we were loud. We cheered for all the speakers and marched for women’s equality again in Toronto. Our DA Women’s Caucus members wore their ERA signs proudly not only in Toronto but also around the globe. We have an opportunity to ratify the amendment written by Alice Paul in 1923 this year. Like countless numbers of women, I have marched for the ERA for decades. We need ERA to move forward on a myriad of women’s rights. I believe that we are almost there.”

WHY THE ERA?

Many members of Democrats Abroad assert that this is the era when the Equal Rights Amendment has to be reintroduced and finally approved for inclusion in the U.S. Constitution. The amendment, if approved, would guarantee equality under the law for men and women, and, in so doing, provide a powerful tool that women can use in legal and other contexts to secure their just claims.

Many people find it hard to believe that the U.S. Constitution does not already protect women’s rights, but it does not. A constitutional amendment was already needed to extend the right to vote to women, and that did not happen until 1920 in the 19 th amendment. “I thought that this had been covered,” said Toronto chapter Chairperson Julie Buchanan. “I know that society does not treat us as equals, but I thought that my government had my back.”

The Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced into Congress in the early 1920s and then reintroduced in 1971, when it was approved by both houses of Congress. It was then ratified by 35 of the 38 state legislatures that needed to approve it by a deadline. The amendment seemed to be headed for adoption, but movement toward that goal was stopped through the organization of a conservative campaign that argued that women need special protection under the law. One of the campaign’s claims was that adoption of the ERA could lead to measures such as the drafting of women for the military.

Since then, the ERA has remained an unachieved goal.

Now there is new momentum to approve the ERA and new evidence that women still need its protection. “The Equal Rights Amendment makes possible and makes constitutional laws we don’t have now,” according to Catherine A. MacKinnon, a law professor at the University of Michigan and a pioneer in the field of sexual harassment and sex discrimination law.

In 2000, the Supreme Court struck down the federal civil remedy portion of the Violence Against Women Act, holding that Congress lacked the power to create it under the 14th amendment. If the ERA had been adopted, that law would have had much stronger constitutional footing, according to MacKinnon.


Cheering the 2018 mid-terms winners and all the candidates

Hundreds of Toronto-based Democrats Abroad (DA) members crowded into the Madison pub on November 6, 2018 to celebrate the party’s gains in 2018 and their own efforts to change the balance of power in Washington by helping to flip the control of the House of Representatives.

Democrats Abroad Toronto exerted unprecedented efforts to reach U.S. absentee voters by staffing a call centre based in the Cadillac Fairview Tower for two months before Election Day. The centre operated from noon to 9 pm seven days a week. A total of 150 volunteers made 20,000 calls from the centre. Toronto’s centre was primarily managed by DA member Arjun Gupta, who assisted volunteers with the use of the centre’s computers and the scripts used to motivate the members who were reached.

Mari Rutka, a dedicated volunteer making calls.

Call centre volunteers talked to Democrats based in Mexico, Italy, France, and countries around the globe. Volunteers were energized as they conversed about common concerns with Americans who were living thousands of miles or, in some cases, half a world away. On election day, one young volunteer spent over 12 hours calling U.S.-based members in Ohio and Texas.

Volunteers on Election Day making calls from the Call Centre. Photo Credit: Peter Bregg Photography


The high spirits that fueled this mid-term election effort were evident in the great throng that gathered at the Madison as the results were announced. The proceedings included the sale of buttons and “It’s Mueller Time” T-shirts to enthusiastic party members. Democrats were exuberant when the announcement came that the party had won control of the House. There was some regret about the outcomes for Andrew Gillum, Beto O’Rourke, and Stacey Abrams, but we were also certain that there is a “next time” for these candidates.

Toronto chapter vice-chair Danielle Stampley told the cheering crowd that the voter contact effort this year was the “biggest success ever for a mid-term.” Stampley summed up the DA mid-term experience this way: "Because of our amazing volunteers, we exceeded expectations getting out the vote this year. We are thrilled that our efforts paid off and we flipped the House. Now, we are ready for 2020."

By Virginia Smith

+

Stopping the Madness at Oakville Midnight Madness July 13 2018

The Toronto Chapter hosted a  voter registration booth at Midnight Madness.  Below,  Peel Regional Representative, Sue Alksnis recollects encounters with Americans. These words express what it it's like to have the rewarding experience of volunteering with our GOTV events. Please join our volunteer team! 

We talked to three 18 year olds who will be voting for their first time in the 2018 midterms.

We spoke to a 16 year old who wants to be ready to vote in 2020 and wasn’t sure what voting address to use since he’s never resided in the States (answer: his parent’s last U.S. address).

And the young woman whose “Nana” moved to Canada from Florida and really wants to vote this year. She will help “Nana” use www.votefromabroad.org

Oh, and we mustn’t forget the Oregon voter who was illegally denied her vote in 2016 when her Local Election Official told her that she doesn’t get to vote anymore since she moved away. Wrong! Americans have the right to vote wherever they live. That voter now knows that she can vote and that Democrats Abroad has a voter helpdesk for these kinds of situations. Check out the Voter Help Desk/FAQ at www.votefromabroad.org where you can chat live with a DA volunteer or email help@votefromabroad.org

Our volunteer crew spoke to almost 50 US voters, including 25 brand new overseas voters from many states, including: FL, NC, CO, MT, TX, OR, and NY.

Thank you to our volunteers who worked through the heat & humidity until 1:00 am!!! Judith Wanner-Hamilton Chapter, Julie Buchanan-Toronto Chapter, Steve Nardi-Canada Chair and Sue Alksnis, Peel Representative.   


+