News

DA Stuttgart Intro

 

Welcome to Democrats Abroad Stuttgart!

DA Stuttgart is a chapter of DA Germany, the official country committee for US Democrats living in Germany. Our chapter includes members all over Baden-Württemberg with precincts in Freiburg and Tübingen. If you’re in the area and looking to connect with welcoming, dedicated, and democratically-minded people, then you’ve come to the right place. 

On this page, you’ll find information about upcoming announcements of meetings and events throughout the year. We encourage anyone interested in participating to get in touch.

If you have questions or would like to help with Democrats Abroad in Stuttgart, please contact us. We look forward to meeting you!

Kelsey McLendon, Chapter Chair
stuttgart@democratsabroad.de
https://www.facebook.com/DAGStuttgart/


What's Your 2020 Democratic Resolution?

   

The 2016 election showed us what happens when nearly half of the eligible voters in the U.S. don't vote. The American political process is often exhausting, confusing, and inaccessible, but we can't change that by staying home. The 2018 midterms saw the largest voter turnout in a midterm election in over 100 years, which resulted in major Democratic victories across the country. If we're going to take back the Senate and the White House in 2020, we need to do even better.

Democrats Abroad is dedicated to carrying the hope and success of 2018 into 2020, and we need everyone to commit to not only requesting and returning their absentee ballots, but also getting all the Americans they know (at home and abroad) to vote. 

Are you ready to join the movement? Tell us what your 2020 Democratic Resolutions are! Send us a photo of yourself with your resolution: stuttgart@democratsabroad.de.

You can see other members' photos here.


What Still Unites the U.S.? - A Discussion

By Renee van Amburgh

What still unites the U.S.? On December 12th, Americans and community members gathered at the Deutsch-Amerikanisches Zentrum (DAZ) in Stuttgart to find out. Chair of the Stuttgart Chapter of Democrats Abroad, Kelsey McLendon, and Republicans Overseas member Dr. Michael Pierce discussed what could bring the parties together in an era of polarized politics. The lively debate was moderated by communications specialist Gregory Lemon and covered an array of subjects from healthcare, to favorite Christmas movies, to impeachment. 

There was much to hear from the panelists, and there was also active audience engagement by way of questions and comments. Throughout the debate, the messages remained positive and cordial on both sides of the aisle, even when controversial issues were brought to the fore. 

So, what does still unite the U.S.? Many proposals arose during the discussion, but the most salient unifying factor was American values. While the two parties may disagree on policies to actualize those values, how to solve social issues, or what constitutes progress, one thing is certain: our shared values and uniquely American experience still unites us. No matter what corner of the world we live in today, our hearts still beat red, white, and (especially) blue!

Democrats Abroad would like to extend a huge thank you to the DAZ, speakers, audience, and moderator for organizing and participating in this debate!


Member Spotlight Series Dec. 2019 - Tony Moody

In the second edition of our Member Spotlight Series, we're proud to share with you Tony Moody's story. As a military veteran who decided to retire in Germany, Tony spends much of his time traveling and enjoying the European way of life. When he and his wife aren't traveling, Tony is a regular participant at the Stuttgart Chapter meetings. We asked him to share some of his thoughts as a long-standing member of  the group.

Tony Moody

Photography by Mitzi Kesterson, owner at Entrance Photography and member of DA Stuttgart

What brings you abroad? How long have you lived here?

I originally was a soldier, Dept of the Army Civilian and marriage. over 20 years

When you aren’t doing something with Democrats Abroad, what are you doing? What other interests and hobbies do you have?

Traveling, life coaching, and having fun

Were you politically active or interested in politics before moving overseas? If so, how?

Yes I come from a politically active family, My mother participated in the March on Washington and was active in local politics. In our family everyone had to vote. I became more active when I was living in the states for 3 years and participated in Obamas second election.

How long have you been involved in Democrats Abroad? How did you find the organization and why did you join? (What factors influenced your decision to join?)

About seven years. I just looked up certain groups and wanted to check out like minded people.

What are some key issues for you? Where would you like to see Democrats Abroad focus?

Voter suppression and registration, tax reform, prison reform , women's equality, affordable housing and education, and jobs.

With which areas within Democrats Abroad are you involved? In which areas would you like to be more involved?

I have done phonebanking.

What tips do you have for others looking to join or become more involved?

Try it. Come with an open mind and pick and area that you might want to get involved in.

Photography by Mitzi Kesterson, owner at Entrance Photography and member of DA Stuttgart

What do you wish other people knew about Democrats Abroad?

Just what the mission is and what Democrats Abroad actually does to reach back to the U. S.

You were nominated for this spotlight. Why do you think that is?

Well, I offer my opinion on topics I am interested in.

What do you hope Democrats Abroad will achieve in the near future? How about long term?

More members and be recognized for activities back in the U.S.

What motivates you to stay involved?

Topics that affect us all as Americans.

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing Democrats today? What challenges do you think are unique to Democrats living abroad?

To put out a clear message to attract members and to have meaningful activities.

How has your involvement with Democrats Abroad impacted you? (What effect has your involvement with Democrats Abroad had on you?)

It has had minimal impact as I am in a continual state of political awareness.

Has living abroad changed your perspective on social issues and politics within the United States?

Oh for sure. The U.S. can learn much from other countries. 

ABOUT THE MEMBER SPOTLIGHT SERIES

Help us celebrate the amazing people who keep DA Stuttgart going! In an effort to reflect the grassroots nature of our organization, the Stuttgart chapter has launched a project called the Member Spotlight Series. Our goal with this project is to highlight the real people showing up to defend our democracy. The selected member will be informally interviewed about their experiences with DA, have a fun photoshoot with a professional photographer, Mitzi Kesterson, and then be featured on the Stuttgart webpage on democratsabroad.org as well as our social media pages.

Do you know someone, a long-standing or brand new member, who deserves to be highlighted? We're taking nominations now for next month's spotlight. Please send your nominations to stuttgart@democratsabroad.de.


Member Spotlight Series Nov. 2019 - Yvonne Najera

DA Stuttgart is excited to present the first post in our latest project, the Member Spotlight Series. This month we're featuring Yvonne Najera. A military veteran, videographer, and two-time Germany resident, Yvonne joined Democrats Abroad in January 2019 and has been active locally, nationally, and regionally ever since. We asked her to share some of her experiences as an American expat and a DA Stuttgart member.

Yvonne Najera

Photography by Mitzi Kesterson, owner at Entrance Photography and member of DA Stuttgart

What brings you abroad? How long have you lived here?

I moved for work opportunities last January.

Were you politically active or interested in politics before moving overseas? If so, how?

The 2016 Women's March sparked my interest and motivated me to become active.

How long have you been involved in Democrats Abroad? How did you find the organization and why did you join? (What factors influenced your decision to join?)

I arrived in Germany January of this year and wanted to participate in the 2019 Women's March because I went to the 2017 & 2018 Marches. I searched online and saw that a group from Stuttgart was going to the Heidelberg March and I contacted the page. I met up with the group at a meeting just prior to the March. I have been going to the monthly meetings ever since.

With which areas within Democrats Abroad are you involved? In which areas would you like to be more involved?

I've just recently joined the Veterans and Military Families Caucus.

What tips do you have for others looking to join or become more involved?

Try out a few meeting or outings.

Photography by Mitzi Kesterson, owner at Entrance Photography and member of DA Stuttgart

You were nominated for this spotlight. Why do you think that is?

Because I'm new and consistently show up to meetings and events.

What do you hope Democrats Abroad will achieve in the near future? How about long term?

I would hope that more awareness of this organization will tip the voting scales to the Dems in the U.S.

What motivates you to stay involved?

This current administration.

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing Democrats today? What challenges do you think are unique to Democrats living abroad?

Dems don't play their politics dirty and it's hard to play with someone who likes to cheat. Remembering that it's our civic duty to always vote no matter where you are.

How has your involvement with Democrats Abroad impacted you? (What effect has your involvement with Democrats Abroad had on you?)

DA has kept me in check so I don't slouch on my civic duty to vote.

Has living abroad changed your perspective on social issues and politics within the United States?

We see a bigger picture of the world and global events. We have a big impact on that world with the people we elect.

ABOUT THE MEMBER SPOTLIGHT SERIES

Help us celebrate the amazing people who keep DA Stuttgart going! In an effort to reflect the grassroots nature of our organization, the Stuttgart chapter has launched a project called the Member Spotlight Series. Our goal with this project is to highlight the real people showing up to defend our democracy. The selected member will be informally interviewed about their experiences with DA, have a fun photoshoot with a professional photographer, Mitzi Kesterson, and then be featured on the Stuttgart webpage on democratsabroad.org as well as our social media pages.

Do you know someone, a long-standing or brand new member, who deserves to be highlighted? We're taking nominations now for next month's spotlight. Please send your nominations to stuttgart@democratsabroad.de.

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New Beginnings for the Bodensee Precinct

by Marisa Schlenker, Bodensee Precinct Captain

It is exciting to have the opportunity to be part of revamping the Bodensee precinct as it gives those of us living in the Bodensee area a chance to come together to work towards the common Democrats Abroad goals. We know that there are Americans living here in this region and our main objective is to reach them to inform them all about the vote from abroad platform. It is so critical that all Americans living abroad know how to vote from abroad and that this nonpartisan platform exists to guide them in the different processes. Apart from informing Americans about voting from abroad and supporting them to have a voice in our government, our precinct will aim to be a space for our members to come together, discuss politics, fundraise, become more informed about different political and social issues and support the Democratic party from afar. 

With our first Meet & Greet planned for September 22nd in Bermatingen, we hope to attract a range of potential members who can join us in designing and reinitiating the precinct, particularly as we move into 2020, a busy election year!

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Get Geared Up For 2020 With A New DA T-Shirt

New DA shirts are in! Let the world know where you stand with a piece of our multi-colored merch. T-shirts cost $15 each and are available in the size and color combinations listed below. Snag one of these at our next chapter meeting on Friday, September 13! Or, because we have a limited quantity, it might also be a good idea to reserve your shirt now by commenting on this post or sending an email to stuttgart@democratsabroad.de. 😉

Democrats Abroad shirts (multicolored)*
❤️ Red - (1) L
🧡 Orange - (1) M; (1) L
💚 Green - (1) S; (1) XL
💙 Blue - (1) XL
💜 Purple - (1) S
💟 Magenta - (1) M

Get Your A$$ to the Polls shirts*
🗳 (1) S; (2) M

*Sizes run a bit large

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Close the Camps Virtual Vigil

Vigils are being held worldwide on July 12th in protest of the Trump administration’s policy to keep migrants and refugees in detention camps. Several children have died as a result of negligence and unsanitary conditions in these camps, and thousands of people are being detained in overcrowded cages. Recent reports from visits to these facilities by members of congress and health officials have detailed astounding cruelty. Because we were unable to arrange for an in-person vigil on July 12th, we’re asking that our Stuttgart members participate virtually. 

What You Can Do:

  1. Make a sign with a message to the Trump administration, then take a photo with your sign and send it to us. We’ll post the photos on our Instagram (@demsabroadgermany) and our Facebook page (@DAGStuttgart). You can even make a video and send it to us. We’ll post that on our social media sites including our YouTube page (DemsAbroadGermany). We suggest using this sign.
  2. Send a letter to the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Consulates. This is a federal issue, and our federal government representatives need to hear from us. The addresses for the embassy and the consulates are compiled in this document. You can find  a sample letter (modified from DA Barcelona) for use in Germany by clicking here. Please feel free to use/adapt the letter as you wish.
  3. Contact your elected officials in the U.S. The Lights for Liberty website has numerous resources available including sample language for writing/speaking to elected officials.

If you'll be outside of the Stuttgart area over July 12th, please consider attending an in-person vigil at one of the many locations.

Please send your photos and videos to stuttgart@democratsabroad.de. You can read more about DA Global's virtual vigil and learn more about the human rights violations happening at the U.S./Mexico border on the international DA news page.

Wherever you are, please join us and other Americans around the world and across the country as we rally to #closethecamps.


America Divided? - Bi-Partisan Discussion on the Political Divide

by Mark Neel

This past Thursday the Deutsch-Amerikanisches Zentrum in Stuttgart was the site of a lively discussion about the seemingly interminable political divide which has become increasingly evident in the United States in recent years. Kelsey McLendon, chair of the Stuttgart chapter of Democrats Abroad, and Michael Pierce, PhD., member of Republicans Overseas, represented the different sides of this divide, while Dr. Martin Kilgus, Managing Director of the ifa Akademie, moderated the talk. The many attendees in the packed room not only witnessed this event, but frequently participated in it themselves with their own questions and comments. The topics ranged over a variety of subjects, including immigration, climate change, international relations, racism, and, of course, Donald Trump, and though it was occasionally heated, the tone between participants remained always respectful and civil. As perhaps could have been expected, little was resolved between the starkly contrasting viewpoints of the participants that evening, but on one point Kelsey and Michael ended up finding one thing they both could agree upon: the dire need for campaign-finance reform. That's at least a start! Democrats Abroad would like to thank all the participants -- the speakers, the moderator, and audience -- as well as the DAZ for organizing this wonderful and thought-provoking event.

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DA Stuttgart Chapter Chair Candidate Statement- Kelsey McLendon

I’m running for Stuttgart Chapter Chair because I’m invested in this community and committed to doing the necessary work to ensure it grows, evolves, and thrives. While one of the primary focuses of Democrats Abroad is to register overseas voters, I see our mission as extending beyond that. DA provides the opportunity for Americans abroad both to speak with like-minded people and to broaden our world perspectives. We are, in many ways, unofficial American foreign ambassadors, and I hope to lead the Stuttgart chapter in increased engagement in cultural exchange experiences in our host country. As a DA member, I’ve organized and led events, written new role descriptions and petitions, worked on DNC reform campaigns, and currently, I’m a leading organizer of the DA Global Women’s Caucus international book club called Books Abroad. As an active member of the Women’s and Progressive Caucuses, my experiences at the caucus level will inform my leadership as Stuttgart Chair as I work to diversify the voices within our chapter to welcome and encourage input from members, new and existing. I intend to make general meetings more accessible—perhaps on an online platform like WebEx—and introduce more social events such as movie nights, pub trivia, picnics in the park, etc. Based on feedback from my fellow members, I hope to foster the right balance between activism with an agenda and building a fun social community. 

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