Saturday, the second day of the Democrats Abroad’s Global Convention in DC, began with a new addition to the family: DA China was officially recognized as a country committee. Although members from China have long participated in DA events they had not until now been officially recognized. After many years of hard work, this unanimous welcome to the newest member of the family was a huge victory for members in the country, and in the Asia-Pacific Region. Welcome China!
After the enthusiastic celebration, International Chair Katie Solon gave her annual report on the activities and accomplishments of Democrats Abroad. Katie spoke of our mission to resist the administration’s agenda and to encourage resistance activists to turn into voters, and then reviewed the Global Presidential Primary, our last Global Convention in Berlin, the Democratic National Convention, our various Global Town Halls with Keith Ellison, Tom Perez and George Takei among others, as well as our outreach to Democratic leaders and to our members to get out the vote.
Solon also highlighted all the various resistance efforts undertaken since the election : the Women’s March, the Science March, the NoBanNoWall action. It has been an intense and productive year for Democrats Abroad, and the next two years leading up to the 2018 election will be equally if not more engaging for our members world-wide, because, as Solon concluded, “we can act together, we must resist together, the price of democracy is participation, and there are no more sidelines to sit on.”
After Chair Solon’s annual report, the Convention was joined by freshman Congressional Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, who has a special place in his heart for Democrats Abroad, since he used to be one, having been a member of DA France for many years. He told the group, to many cheers, that the most interesting, dynamic and active of the state parties isn’t even in the states, and said that he makes it his mission to raise DA’s profile with his congressional colleagues. He also contributed a protest chant for future resistance efforts : “No more Trump, No more Pence, Impeach Them for Emoluments.”
The Congressman stayed for a long while to respond to many questions about health care, voting, government oversight, the Russia investigation, and how restoring the true mission of the Democratic Party will help us win in 2018 and beyond. He concluded by saying that “Democrats Abroad is an essential and vital part of the party today.”
Much work also has also been done this weekend, notably on bylaw amendments. Fourteen resolutions and amendments were presented and discussed, with a final vote scheduled for Sunday. Amendments included proposals to expand the international excom, to adjudicate non-compliant country committees in a manner that would either bring them back into compliance or dissolve them, and to require voting members of the DPCA to carry no more than one proxy vote at international meetings in observation of the democratic principle of one person, one vote.
After the lunch break, the Convention welcomed DC Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. The Delegate commented on the administration's agenda and the Republican Congress’s ineptitude. More important, Holmes Norton, for whom voting rights have been a key issue for decades, was also surprised to learn about the many voting rights issues for Americans abroad, and listened attentively as members spoke about these issues. She also listened attentively to Carmelan Polce of DA Singapore as she outlined the major problems of FATCA. This was a great opportunity for DA to advance understanding of some of its most important agenda items with an important voice in Congress.
After the Congresswoman’s visit, the group returned to business for the rest of the afternoon with further discussions on bylaws and resolutions as well as training sessions before adjourning til tomorrow, when the ExCom elections will take place.