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


Feminist Fiber Art Exhibit Thurs Aug 10th

Join the Toronto Chapter Women's Caucus and Come check out some feminist fiber art from around the world at Craft Ontario! Feminist Fiber Art (FFA) is a is an international woman-directed artist collective and educational organization that is headquartered in New York. We organize exhibits, craft fairs, community craft nights, classes, and benefit concerts for women's shelters and feminist charities. We feature the work of fiber artists from around the world and are building a tight-knit global craftivist community.

FFA is a DIY, multidisciplinary, intersectional, arts community focusing primarily on the versatile medium of fiber art. We illustrate how feminists have been using the medium to subvert its history as "women's work" in colorful, fun, thought-provoking, and sexually liberated ways.

Curated by Iris Nectar and Michelle Gauthier Art. Flyer by Aburrideitor.


Pop up Resistance Event in Solidarity with Women's March #NRA2DOJ July 15th

Some back ground information:

From the WMW website:

"On Friday, July 14, Women’s March and partners will set out from the NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, VA to the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. to demand justice for Philando Castile and send a bold message that united we are stronger than hate.

We know that we are not safe.

But we will not be intimidated into silence.

Please join us and spread the word about the Women’s March from #NRA2DOJ on July 14 and 15."

Read the Open Letter to NRA with three demands:

Warning! Prepare to be offended and outraged by the NRA's recent recruitment video. You can see and read about it here in the Huffington Post.

On Saturday, July 15, 10 am, as they gather again in DC, at the Department of Justice, we will hold a vigil in solidarity at

Withrow Park
725 Logan Ave
Near the playground
10 am to noon

What can we do as US citizens in Canada? Let your members of Congress know how you feel! Do your members take money from the NRA? Where do they stand on gun control? Find out and write them a postcard. We will have fact sheets, postcards and postage for your act of resistance on Saturday!

Our chapter thanks Brooke Scott and Kate Leuschen for their work pulling this event together so quickly.

RSVP here!

Statement from House Representative D. Ciciline, D-RI regarding the passage of the AHCA

As you know, House Republicans introduced their “repeal and replace” health care bill, entitled the American Health Care Act (AHCA), in March of 2017.  The AHCA would allow insurers to charge older customers up to five times more than younger customers, while also charging a 30% penalty to any person who has a lapse in health coverage, including people with preexisting conditions. It will also shorten the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by three years and eliminates the Affordable Care Act (ACA) premium tax credits that millions of Americans depend on to pay for health coverage.
The AHCA also greatly reduces funding for Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, reducing resources for some of our society’s most vulnerable members.  President Obama’s health care law expanded Medicaid and allowed more than 14.5 million people to get health insurance.  The Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that “in 2018, 14 million more people would be uninsured under the legislation than under current law” increasing to 21 million uninsured in 2020 and then to 24 million uninsured in 2026.
Like you, I believe that healthcare is a vital human right.  This bill benefits the rich while making it more difficult for seniors and low-income Americans to get the quality healthcare they need.  It gives huge tax cuts to insurance companies and the super-rich, while neglecting those members of society who require the most assistance.  As if these issues were not enough, the AHCA also cuts funding for Planned Parenthood without offering a replacement for the vital services Planned Parenthood provides, which would cause millions of women to go without cancer screenings, prenatal services, and family planning options.  Subsequently, healthcare premiums will go up and millions of Americans will lose coverage.  This is completely unacceptable. Unfortunately, this legislation was passed by the House of Representatives by a margin of 217-213 on May 4, 2017 with no Democratic support.  Trumpcare is currently being considered by the Senate.  Please know I will continue to fight against this irresponsible, dangerous legislation should it be passed by the Senate and comeback to the House of Representatives for consideration.
Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me about access to healthcare.  Your thoughts and opinions on this issue are of great value.  Please be sure to sign up for my e-newsletter so we can stay in touch about the issues most important to you.  Just visit my website at and sign up today.
    Warm regards,
David N. Cicilline
Member of Congress

2017-19 Chapter Election Results, AGM Minutes & Contact List

The DA Canada Toronto Chapter Nominations & Elections Committee are pleased to announce the results of the chapter board for the 2017-19 term, as reported by the Teller of Elections at the AGM of April 9, 2017.

 Following the election results are links to the draft AGM minutes and the contact list for the new board.

 Chair: Julie Buchanan

 Vice-Chair: Nathan Lujan

 Vice-Chair: Danielle Stampley

 Secretary: Mari Rutka

 Treasurer: Dewitt Lee

 Member-at-Large: Alyssa Ages

 Member-at-Large: Dylan Clark

 Member-at-Large: Paulette Kelly

 Member-at-Large: J. David Markham

 Member-at-Large: Kathleen Leuschen Millar

 Member-at-Large: Derrick Raphael

 Member-at-Large: Virginia Smith

 Member-at-Large (Peel Region): Susan Alksnis

 Member-at-Large (York Region): Brooke Scott

 Subsequent to the election results, the newly elected Chapter Chair designated both candidates for Secretary as Co-Secretaries, with their consent.

 Respectfully submitted,


DACanada–Toronto Chapter Nominations & Elections Committee


Star Goggins, Chair
Chris Eggers
David Letteney
Steve Nardi (Teller)


 -NEC Toronto Teller Elections Results of 2017-2019 Toronto Chapter Board may be viewed at this link


  -Draft of AGM Minutes to be approved at next Chapter AGM may be viewed at this link


  -DA Canada Toronto 2017-2019 Board contact list may be viewed at this link

AGMS and Elections Explained

As of this posting on March 29th 2017, you’ve receive (and will receive more) a myriad of emails about AGMs and Elections in this organization. And I receive a myriad of questions. Totally understandable.

 So let me try to explain the DA world.

The Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA) is the international governing body of Democrats Abroad

Democrats Abroad is organized by regions

  • Americas
  • EMEA (Europe Middle East Africa)
  • Asia Pacific

Regions are made up of Country Committees–

  • There are around 60 Country Committees-but let’s just concentrate on Canada- a member of the Americas Region

Country Committees are made up of Chapters –

  • There are around 15 Chapters across Canada that make up the Country Committee-but let’s concentrate on Toronto

You receive emails from these three different levels of the organizations. All these participating groups of Democrats Abroad are required to have an AGM and elections and we’re required by various charters and by-laws to inform you, ergo a lot of emails you may not be interested in. 

Your vote is important to the future of this organization. Very few people vote in internal Democrats Abroad elections. It's usually just been us folks who are willing to take on the work of Getting Out the Vote that ran for office. The fact that we had to be elected was just a formality.

But this year it's different with in the Canada elections. It is the first time we have contested positions and we need participation by our members to make a fair selection.

I ask you to take a few moments and participate in the democratic process for the election of the leaders of this hardworking organization.

Canada’s information

 Registration for Toronto In-Person Gathering for Canada’s AGM above Webex Registration also required)

 Toronto’s Information

 Please note, as I am running for Chair of Toronto, uncontested, I have already asked all of the nominees to stay on the Toronto board as part of a committee no matter who “wins”! But I ask you still to participate.

The Global AGM is in May-and the America’s AGM is as well. There will be emails yet to come, but again, please participate, and most important…please don’t unsubscribe from receiving our emails.

 I will do my best to update this article with news about about other AGMS as I get them.


Thank you,

Julie Buchanan

[email protected]

Acting Chair – Toronto



Statements of Candidates for the DA Canada - Toronto Chapter Board of Directors 2017-2019





The Elections of new officers of the Board of Directors for the Toronto Chapter of Democrats Abroad Canada will be conducted at the Chapter Annual General Meeting on Sunday, April 9, 2017.

Please click on the officer positions of the DACA Toronto Chapter Board to be elected for a two-year term to find candidates' statements: Chapter Chair, two (2) Vice Chairs, Secretary, Treasurer, seven (7) Members-at-Large, one (1)  Member-at-Large Peel Region and one (1) Member-at-Large York Region.

The electronic ballots will be emailed to members on March 24, 2017.  Submit your completed ballot by 11:59AM EDT April 9, 2017. *Asterisks indicate officers who are incumbent and are eligible to run again.


Yours Truly,

Toronto Nominations & Elections Committee
Starla Goggins, Chair
Chris Eggers
David Letteney
Steve Nardi, Teller of Elections


Candidate for

Chair & Democrats Abroad Canada Committee Representative


Julia (Julie) O’Neal Buchanan, Mobilian (AL) voting in Tennessee, living in GTA 16 years.

My volunteer activities for the organization began with the Democrats Abroad Canada bus trip to President Obama's inauguration in 2009 and I have continued fervently for eight years.

As this DA election approached, I considered ‘retiring’ from officer positions in DA, and I had thought my activities might end on similar note…by organizing a bus trip to DC for the Women’s March on Washington.

However, I have been so inspired by that experience, by the women of the Women’s Caucus (in formation) of Canada, and influx of new, talented and committed volunteers, I realize my duty to serve is not over.

It’s been an honor and a privilege to have been mentored by the Boards I’ve served and I want to pay that forward, by serving as the Chair of the Toronto Chapter.

I’ve held many positions in Democrats Abroad. The list includes positions where I was elected or, in many cases, appointed for partial terms.

Toronto-Chair 2012; 2016-current
Canada-Vice Chair- 2016-current
Canada-IT Manager 2014-current
Canada-Treasurer 2013-2016
Toronto-Vice-Chair 2011-2012; 2015-2016
International-Global Administrator Assistant, Global IT Team-2015
Canada-Membership Co-Secretary 2014-2015
Canada-DPCA Voting Member-2013-2015
International- Best Practices Committee 2012-2013 
Toronto- Secretary Pro Tem and Founding Member 2010-2011 
Canada-Member at Large 2009-2011

I encourage you to like/contact/follow me on facebook.

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Candidates for

Co Vice-Chair & Democrats Abroad Canada Committee Representative

Nathan LUJAN

I am a lifelong Democrat who first moved to Canada in 2012 to conduct scientific research at the Royal Ontario Museum and the University of Toronto. I am now married to a Canadian (Bernadette), am a Toronto home owner (upper Beaches) together with my wife, and am applying for permanent residency. I also now work primarily for Canada Fisheries and Oceans. I care deeply about science-based public policy and the need for government support of both basic and applied scientific research. I am part of a large group of American scientists working in Canada who feel disconnected from American politics but who, given the chance, would like to participate and advocate for Democratic ideals. Unfortunately, many of my expat scientist friends are unaware of Democrats Abroad or do not participate in DA activities. I am running for the Vice-Chair position to both give this community of expat scientists a voice and to recruit them to help advance Democratic electoral and policy objectives via participation in the Democrats Abroad organization.



I would like to serve as a Vice-Chair of the Democrats Abroad - Toronto Chapter because I believe I can help us modernize and expand our impact. I am not an expert in technology, but I have experience creating blogs and leveraging social media to spread a message.

One of these projects is a volunteer effort founded by Canadian doctors to provide medical services to children in remote areas of Honduras. Once a year, we travel to Gracias, Honduras for a week-long clinic. For the past several years, I have managed the logistics of our trips, coordinated  fundraising efforts, and worked to improve our online presence. As we are all busy professionals, organizing the group can be challenging, but we are getting better and more effective every year.

By day, I'm a lawyer. I started out practicing in a large law firm in New York, and now I work in a small employment, labour, and human rights practice. In both settings, organization, planning, and leadership are key to a successful practice.  I manage teams of lawyers and other professionals, chair meetings, negotiate with opposing counsel, and manage client relationships. Of course, I am also very comfortable operating in a rules-based environment. I would draw on these experiences to assist our chapter's leadership.

As a Missourian, I am acutely aware of the political divide that our country is facing, and the challenges Americans are desperate to overcome. I see it every time I visit my family. Although I am a long way from home, I want to help Democrats in Canada, especially in Toronto, make a difference now and going forward. I would very much appreciate your support.

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Candidates for



Professionally, I write scientific reports for drug companies to submit to the FDA and drug approval agencies worldwide.  I served as secretary for my church for several years. 



I am willing to serve as secretary, with the proviso that I may need to miss a meeting occasionally.  I can, however, maintain records and files at all times and coordinate participation. 

I served for 11 years as a trustee on the Toronto District School Board and, in that capacity, as chair of several committees and as chair of the board.  I have a deep appreciation for the necessity of thorough record maintenance and availability and a long familiarity with agenda and minute formats.

I type fast and I have my own iPad with keyboard.

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Candidate for


Dewitt LEE


I'm Dewitt Lee, an Afro -Canadian with citizenship in the US and I was very glad to discover this organization during the 2016 Presidential election. Being away from the battlegrounds here in Toronto, I felt like I was not a part of the process, although I did make it in time to vote, I  played a much less significant role in helping my candidate and party win.  I take my civic responsibility very seriously and I have actually engaged not just as a voter in elections but I've also been a candidate.  In 2010 and 2014, I was a Mayoral candidate here in Toronto and I feel very accomplished in that we inspired and lead many people not to just vote but to see themselves as a candidates. In 2016, I was asked to join in the a provincial race to be an MPP for the Liberal party which also resulted in a great turn out at the polls and produced much more engaged and educated group of voters from diverse communities.

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet members of Democrats aboard Canada- Toronto at a 2016 Presidental election event and I was very pleased to meet so many people here in Toronto that are providing a platform and forum for us to come together and create a space where Canadians can learn about our politics and experience the excitement of our elections.

After the event, I was very grateful to hear back from Starla Goggins, the Co-Vice Chair and Volunteer Coordinator, of the Democrats Abroad Canada Toronto Chapter. We have stayed in touch and she shared information with me regarding this opportunity to serve on your board and I immediately felt intrigued and almost obligated to join your efforts.

I am applying to serve as Treasurer and I'm prepared to step into this role of because of my experience as Treasurer for the Harriet Tubman Community Organization which is one of the oldest and most respected non for profits in the country.  I have also served as money manger for my campaigns and CFO for my own business.

I believe that we can become a powerful force in helping support fellow Democrats from abroad as I remember the impact we had in 2008/2012 when we joined campaigners in battleground states pushing for Barack Obama and I remember the feeling heading back to Canada feeling accomplished, that I served my country and made a real difference.

I am willing to serve on your board in any capacity and believe that I will bring experience, energy & political expertise that will be an asset. Thank you for the opportunity.

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Candidates for


Alyssa AGES

I moved to Toronto from New York in March of last year and while I'm told consistently that I "got out at the right time," the feeling I more often experience is: "I wish I was still there to stand with you, to resist, to make our presence known."

I am encouraged by the opportunity to take on that role abroad as a Member-at-Large.

My strengths which are pertinent to this role include:

- Mobilizing Volunteers (I worked for five years at a nonprofit that relied heavily on the work of volunteers)

- Fundraising (skills earned from the same nonprofit role)

- Marketing on a shoestring (as the Marketing Director for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, I spent five years growing the largest revenue-generating chapter of our organization with an extremely limited budget)

- Events (I have been coordinating events for multiple organizations for nearly a decade)

- Writing (As a publicist, journalist, and marketing professional with a degree in literature, writing is my strongest skill and one I hope to use as a Member-at-Large for our chapter)

I hope to support the growth our chapter by recruiting new members, as well as energizing and engaging existing members. I hope to help our other elected officials by offering my writing skills whenever they are needed, and my event-planning experience to organize and promote our smaller meetings while building plans for larger events.

More than anything, I hope to stand with Democrats in the U.S. by helping our chapter build a presence and a voice so strong here in Toronto that we can make as significant an impact as if we were protesting at the doorstep of the White House.


Our planet and our democracy are in peril: now, more than ever, we need a progressive Democratic Party to restore sanity and justice.  I am a lifelong activist who has mostly avoided party politics.  I hail from the "Bernie" wing of the party: a group that has largely felt alienated by the Dems, but who now feels a progressive movement can restore power and purpose to the party. 

I believe that DA-Canada can and must do more to increase membership, donations, and cross-border activism.  I truly believe that DA-Canada can evolve into a very powerful political organization.  There are perhaps as many as two million (!) Americans living in Canada, from dual citizens, to students, to temporary residents.  That makes us a population larger than about ten states.  Moreover, most of us are liberal, educated, and relatively affluent. My friends, that is one heck of a fighting force. If we can mobilize behind the Democratic Party, we can deliver positive change to the US.

I believe that we have an opportunity for progressive change unrivaled since the early 1970s.  Although Trump is our so-called President, he and his cronies have energized masses of Americans.  We must seize this unique moment to take back the government: from city councils and school boards to state legislatures, on up to the US Congress.  We can help strengthen a Blue wave that retakes America from the takers.

To succeed, I believe we need to enhance our presence in social media, galvanize participation in local events, and forge sustained networks of resistance.  To be honest I am less preoccupied with fundraising, and more concerned that we get out the vote, pump up the volume, and help transform outrage into action. I believe that we need to help build the capacity for rapid mobilization, because I think we have to be ready to act swiftly against Trump, McConnell, and Ryan's maneuvers. And we have to be able to work in concert with the millions of Canadians who share our goals.

I teach part- to full- time at the University of Toronto, have two girls and a wife, bike ride, and spend some time for activism.  I am from Berkeley, California, went to Skidmore College in NY, and got my Ph.D. at the University of Washington in Seattle.  We lived in Colorado for 8 years before heading to the wonderful city of Toronto.  I love Canada, but want to retake my old homeland.

In closing: they had their silent majority [sic], we have our full-throated majority. I want to help us win.


I would be interested in volunteering for the board as a member at large.  My prior volunteer leadership experience includes:

Director Information Technology PMI Toronto Chapter (2016-present)  Other roles that I have had in PMI Toronto Chapter include VP Communications, VP Branches & Communities, and VP Volunteers.

Lieutenant Governor Marketing District 60 Toastmasters International (2011-2012)

Executive Board member for the New Jersey Division of the United States Fencing Association (1997-2005)

I have a diverse skill set that includes Communications, Marketing, Technology, Volunteer Development, Database Management and Project Management.  I would like to volunteer as a member at large and donate my time as my skills are needed.


Thank you for taking the time to read my statement regarding the position of Member at Large. I'm a dual citizen having moved to Canada with my parents when I was 7 years old. I currently live in Innisfil, Ontario which is between Barrie and Bradford. I've been involved in politics most of my adult life. I've been a strong supporter of the party, and like many Americans I was shocked that Donald Trump became POTUS. I was active on social media during the election, and felt the wrath of the Alt-Right several times while trying to promote our candidate, Hillary Clinton. 

I've been on the Executive of the Federal riding association of the Liberal party in Simcoe-Grey back in 2007-2009. In 2007 I ran in the Provincial election as the Liberal candidate in Simcoe-Grey, and while I did not win the election, I was able to gather 26% of the vote coming in 2nd to long time Conservative MPP, Jim Wilson. Running in the election was an eye opener for me, as I was up against a very well organized candidate who's been the sitting MPP since 1990. While I did not win, I was able to get the message of the party out to the people in the riding.

In 2010, I was living in Wasaga Beach, and decided to run for Mayor. I was asked to throw my hat into the ring, as nobody else was registered to run against the sitting Mayor who's been a member of council since the late 1980's. I knew that I had an uphill battle on my hands, but felt that nobody should be unchallenged. The sitting Mayor was also the Warden of Simcoe County, and a member of the Provincial and Federal Conservative parties. So needless to say I was unsuccessful in my quest for public office.

Besides political experience I bring to the table a wealth of knowledge in the field of management. During my career I've managed teams ranging in size from 10 all the way up to 300, with a focus on building strong relationships with both team members and clients.

If anybody has any questions, please feel free to email me at [email protected] or call me directly at 416-453-0249

Thank you, and I hope to be part of the Executive moving forward.

Steven Fishman

Mimi FOX

I am a dual US/Canadian citizen living in Toronto for the past 13 years.

I have a background in sales and marketing in the b2b sector for over 20 years. I also have an MBA from University of Illinois at Chicago. I am the top sales person at my organization. Most of the work I do is by phone. I am also a board member at Act to End Violence Against Women.

Paulette KELLY*

Dear Democrats Abroad Members,

I currently serve as a Member at Large for Democrats Abroad, Toronto Chapter.  My voting state is Connecticut.  During my term on the board, I have worked at booths and events to register voters.

I also assisted at a primary election voting booth in Toronto.  On November 9, 2016, I was interviewed    on CTV News regarding the outcome of the U.S. elections. On both November 6st and 13th of 2016, I along with a Democrats Abroad colleague appeared on the radio station 98.7 (The Grapevine)to discuss U.S. politics and the election. Last month, I attended the send off of the Women's March to Washington. 

Professionally, I am the first tenured Black faculty member in the School of Fashion, at Ryerson University. Over my years, at Ryerson, I have held administrative roles, including Program Director for the Apparel Design Segment. In 2013, at the Ryerson University's Viola Desmond Day Program, I received the Faculty Award for my service. Additionally, I am the 2nd Vice President of the Ontario Black History Society.

I look forward to serving on the board again.

Kind Regards,

Paulette Kelly


Dear Fellow Democrats,

I am running for reelection for member at large on our Board. I hope and believe that in my first term I have helped further our progressive cause.

I am a life-long active progressive Democrat. In Wisconsin in the 1970s/1980s I served as Fond du Lac County chair, Dane County vice-chair and State Platform Committee vice-chair. In 1976 I ran for County Clerk of Fond du Lac County. I was also an honored guest to the 1976 Democratic Convention in New York City. Elsewhere I have served as precinct committee person and helped in GOTV efforts, including running a phone bank in Wisconsin. A strong supporter of unions, I have belonged to the Teamsters and AFSCME (for whom I once served as the International Educational Coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Region, based in Phoenix, Arizona.

My education includes a BS from Iowa, a MA from Northern Iowa and a M.Ed. from Arizona State. I have also done graduate study at Southern Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida State and Oxford, UK.

I have served on many homeowners and other organizational boards, including as chair or president. I am currently vice-president of the Optima condo board of directors where I live in downtown Toronto next to the Rogers Centre. While I have held numerous professional professions such as being a veteran's service officer for state agencies in Wisconsin and Arizona and assistant director of the Commission on the Arizona Environment, my primary professional has been as an educator, usually teaching Honors World History and related classes in high schools in Arizona, Florida and Washington. I have also taught at the university, college and community college levels. As an active historian, I have authored/edited numerous books on Napoleonic history, written journal articles, organized international congresses, appeared on the History, Learning and Discovery channels, produced an extensive podcast (Napoleon 101) and produced museum exhibitions. As a result, I have received numerous awards and decorations, including France's highest civilian-only award, Knight of the Order of the French Academic Palms. Finally, I am a Viet Nam veteran with a Bronze Star (1968-69).

Given the unfortunate state of our current political system, including the disastrous Trump presidency, it is imperative that Democrats regain control of the House and Senate and in four years regain control of the presidency. I hope to play a modest role in that effort.

In Solidarity,



I have been a Democrat abroad since I arrived in Canada over 20 years ago.  My home state is Nebraska, and I was born and raised in what I like to call an 'interfaith' family - by a Republican father and a Democrat mother. Both taught me that social justice requires work, and I have inherited both their passions if only one of their affiliations.  My day-to-day work has been operations in non-profits.  I have a Masters in Legal and Ethical Studies as well as a Masters in Museum Studies. I currently am the Finance and Admin Manager at the Inspirit Foundation. Over the years, I have engaged in accessibility issues in museums, inter-religious understanding and education with a global foundation, and equity and inclusion work here in Canada. But my personal passion is gender equality and equity. I have two girls, also US citizens, who are growing up without limits. I have been an officer in their schools' parent councils, produced 'maker faires' and  pushed for coding classes that open science to girls at the elementary level.  I joined the DC Women's March with my mother and sister in January and came back with the reminder that social justice requires work now more than ever. My younger brother, a dedicated aide to Rep Steny Hoyer, had such a heavy heart after the election.  The work is personal for me - for my parents and siblings and for my daughters - and the personal is political. As Gloria Steinem said at the Women's March, "Sometimes it is time to put your body where your beliefs are." For me, that time has come.  I hope to support Democrats Abroad in whatever way I can.

Thank you,

Kate Leuschen Millar

Romana MIRZA

I am self-nominating. I'd like to bring my skills in marketing, brand strategy, social media and policy development to DA. Sitting around crying over Facebook isn't doing me any good.  I'm not much of a protest marcher.  My brilliance comes through in the backrooms, working on communication strategies and developing policy.  I was very active politically as a teen and young adult then my marketing career took over. Now, 30 years after leaving active political volunteer work, the political landscape has changed so drastically, I have to dust off my political charms and come out shining again and I must! I like to be part of a team, supporting them with whatever special gifts and talents I can muster up.

Today, I am afraid to cross the border. Just this week I declined an invitation to give a presentation in New York City.  I'm not afraid of America, I'm afraid of what could happen at the border, and I even have a Nexus Pass! This has to change and I know we can do something in the USA from where we sit here in Canada. Rather than crying over Facebook each night, I want to be involved being active and in action. It is the only solution to feeling so shaken by what is going on.

It will be my honor to serve the American people by being involved in Toronto. I won't let your vote go to waste, I'm ready for action, ideas and change!


Dear Nomination & Selection Committee Directors:

I would like to lend my gifts and talents to the Democrats Abroad Toronto Chapter Board.

After attending the Democrats Abroad meeting at Marche I have wanted get more involved locally.

As proud African American North Carolina resident it pains my heart to see my home state "Go Red" for the national election twice in a row as well as the hardships the state has had with recent GOP control of the house, senate and governorship.

I currently serve on a few board for my undergraduate institution and I know the importance of these volunteer organizations. I look forward to supporting the agendas of the executive leadership for our chapter.

Please know that I will contribute my training as an attorney and advocate to our causes.

I look forward to doing my part to take back Congress in 2018 and the White House in 2020!

Have a great night.


Derrick Raphael

Virginia SMITH

My professional experience as a reporter and analyst of current social trends would be an asset in any work done for Democrats Abroad.  I am the co-author of the book Perpetuating Poverty: The Political Economy of Canadian Foreign Aid (Between the Lines, 1981) and the author of Reshaping the World for the 21st Century: Society and Growth (Black Rose Books, 2002). In 2011, I drafted the report "Hunger Crisis: Report of the Hunger Inquiry," produced by the Toronto-based Recession Relief Coalition. I also served as a constituency assistant to an Ontario MPP in the 1980s.

My volunteer work in community-based organizations has also been extensive. In the late 1990s, I was co-chair of the school council at my daughter's high school. More recently, I participated in a committee at my church that had the goal of building positive relationships between Muslim communities and other faith communities. I also served a term as the secretary of the church council.

Through these activities, I have developed a solid understanding of the dynamics of a presidential system and also of a parliamentary system. I have been a member of Democrats Abroad for about nine years. I marched with Democrats Abroad contingent in the Pride parade twice and, just a couple of weeks ago, in the Toronto Women's March. The election of Donald Trump has been a spur for me to increase my participation in U.S. electoral politics.

I am registered as a Democratic Party voter in Nassau County, New York. I have resided in Canada for over 40 years, but I have maintained close ties to the U.S. through frequent visits.

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Candidate for

Member-at-Large Peel Region


Susan Alksnis is organizing Democrats Abroad activities for Peel Region. She is also an active participant in planning for the Hamilton/Burlington DA Chapter. First volunteering with Democrats Abroad for the 2008 election, Susan was lead organizer of Oakville/Mississauga debate watches, voter registration, and promotion in local media.

A non profit fundraising executive with over 20 years of experience in fundraising, alumni relations, communications, and volunteer management, Susan has served as Chief Development Officer in higher education and social services. She published and edited an alumni magazine with circulation of 10,000, pitched story ideas to media, secured high impact promotional placements, and appeared on television. She also has event management experience.

Comfortable with media appearances, public speaking and campaigning, Susan was a lead organizer and spokesperson for a highly contentious local community advocacy effort that resulted in the construction of a new school for her underserved and socio-economically diverse neighbourhood.

Susan attended the Toronto Women's March and the Toronto anti-Trump March where she appeared on CTV News to promote  She is highly motivated to resist the current White House Administration and organize volunteers to get out the vote for midterm elections.

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Candidate for

Member-at-Large York Region

Brooke SCOTT

I am in Stouffville, north of Markham in York Region. Most months I could make the meetings in person and otherwise would attend online.

Our family moved initially to Toronto 8 years ago from Providence, RI. I grew up in central and southern Illinois. My husband and I have 5 children and I homeschool them using Waldorf and social justice resources.

My motivation for running for the board and being involved in Democrats Abroad is that I believe in the power of the people to through compromise and listening to one another help shape the platform and actions of Democratic candidates and sitting office holders. I want to register voters and engage young people here in Canada who are US citizens to feel they have a voice and I want them to know and internalize civic duty.

My volunteer experience includes 5 years of running meetings, giving presentations and providing mother to mother counseling with La Leche League.

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US Tax Seminar in Toronto






Americans in Canada and around the world are wondering how to cope with the many U.S. tax issues.  This seminar is hosted by U.S. accounting firm Charmaine Lawrence Professional Corporation and Lorne Dubros CFP of Investors Group who have graciously offered their expertise gratis to our members to help demystify and educate Americans on their tax reporting obligations to the U.S.


Thursday, March 16th at 7:15pm presented by Las Whilby of Charmaine Lawrence Professional Corporation.


To help our Toronto chapter, which includes the whole GTA plus outlying cities from Oshawa to Oakville, raise much-needed funds to pay for Get Out The Vote expenses, so we take back congress in 2018, we ask that you donate $20 (per person) to attend, payable with your registration.




To Register for the Toronto tax seminar please click here



Metro Hall

Room 308-309

55 John St, Toronto ON

M5V 3C6


This seminar is to provide our members a general overview of US income tax compliance issues as well as changes to US regulations.  FBAR, PFIC, and the US-Canada agreement will be discussed as well.  Although there will be time at the end for questions, this is not a venue for individual tax issues.  Please refer all personal case studies to your qualified US tax accountant. 

If there is enough interest there will be additional seminars in Toronto in the coming weeks.  We will advertise them one at a time until demand peters out.


Note: These seminars are not showcases for any product.  Democrats Abroad Toronto may contact you to thank you for your donation and to provide useful links covered by the seminars.


US Tax Seminar in Mississauga

U.S. Taxes due April 15th-Filing Deadline For U.S. Citizens abroad is June 15th

U.S. Tax Seminar -Mississauga

Peel-Oakville organizers within the Toronto Chapter invite you to our first U.S. Tax Seminar in Mississauga.

This is an opportunity to

  • Learn about changes in US tax obligations - see detailed agenda below
  • Meet Mississauga and Oakville Democrats
  • Support local efforts to resist the current White House agenda, Get Out the Vote in 2017 special electioins and take back Congress in the 2018 midterm election.

Click here to register now!

Tuesday, March 28th, 7-9 pmSouth Common Community Centre2233 South Millwayin Mississauga near Erin Mill Pkwy / Burnhamthorpe Rd West

Presenters:John Grummett and Adrienne BarclayTaylor Leibow LLP Accountants & Advisors

Topics Include:

  • Do I need to file a US tax Return?
  • What’s new for 2016 tax filings
  • US Foreign Reporting Forms 
  • Streamlined Filing Compliance Procedures
  • Implications of Renouncing US citizenship
  • Comparison of the US & Canadian tax system including:

    • Taxation


  • Tax on death/gift tax
  • Mutual funds
  • Principal residence 
  • FATCA update
  • What income tax changes to expect with the Trump administration.

To help raise funds to Get Out the Vote for the special elections in 2017 and mid-term elections in 2018, we ask a donation of $15 at the seminar. 

Note: There will be time for questions. Please refer individual tax issues to your qualified US tax accountant.These seminars are not showcases for any product.  Democrats Abroad will not share your contact information with the presenters. 

For further information:  Susan Alksnis at [email protected]