News

July 4, 2020

 

Dear Chapter Members,

As we get ready to celebrate July 4th this year, we find ourselves in unprecedented times. 

A virus has crippled the world, reminding us that we don’t hold all the answers, and how important it is for countries to work together to share ideas, supplies and support. Due to this health crisis, individuals and companies are facing challenges that no one could have imagined half a year ago. Families have lost loved ones due to COVID-19; medical personnel are working long hours and without proper nor sufficient protection; small and large companies are filing for bankruptcy; people are scrambling to make ends meet and pay rent; masks meant to protect ourselves and others have become a political instrument; our current President pushes his followers to meet in large numbers in enclosed spaces, against all sound medical advice. 

People have taken to the streets in protest against police violence and the many unnecessary deaths of people of color by law enforcement. Today, in the 21st century, we are seeing how the Enlightenment values of the 18th century, which are embedded in the Declaration of Independence, have not been achievable for a large portion of Americans. It has been a long and treacherous road for many minorities, especially African-Americans. From the Emancipation Proclemation, to the Reconstruction era, the awful Jim Crow years and the civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 60’s, the path to equality has not been easy—and is far from over. As Frederick Douglas said more than ten years before slavery was abolished nationally, “A lot of work is still to be done so that all citizens can enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”—words that are still true today, more than 150 years later.

We had a great moment of light with our 44th President, Barack Obama. He was a role model in so many ways: he believed in diplomacy; in building bridges and nurturing friendships with other countries; he tried to unite us as a nation. This year is an important year. In the Fall we have the power to vote someone into the White House who wants to unite our great nation, who wants to build bridges and continue the friendships and alliances that ensure our safety and prosperity. As overseas voters, our vote can have a huge impact on the election! Together we can ensure that the future is blue!

Wishing all a fun 4th of July weekend,

Sasha Arrington

Stuttgart Chapter Chair


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!

Sasha Arrington, Chapter Chair
stuttgart@democratsabroad.de
https://www.facebook.com/DAGStuttgart/


Special Announcement - New Interim Chapter Chair!

Today, we're announcing a transition in the Stuttgart Chapter leadership. After nearly 3 years in Germany, the current Chapter Chair Kelsey McLendon is returning home to the U.S., and Sasha Arrington is stepping into the role of Interim Chapter Chair.

Chapter Chairs serve two-year terms, and Kelsey’s is due to end in January of 2021, which is why Sasha is an “interim” Chair. The next election for Chapter Chair will be held in January 2021, so please start considering whether you’d like to run!

Farewell Note from Kelsey

Dear Stuttgart members,

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Chapter Chair. This group is filled with passionate, enthusiastic, conscientious people, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know and working with you. I’m proud of the work we’ve done together and hope that all of you will remain engaged as we continue the march to November. Thanks for your energy, your time, and your commitment to making our home country a better place. The importance of your activism cannot be overstated.

My work with Democrats Abroad over the past two and a half years has been inspiring and motivating, and I’m returning to my voting (battleground!) state of Michigan where I will continue getting out the vote and pushing for progressive policies.

It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to be the Stuttgart Chapter Chair.

Sincerely and in solidarity,

Kelsey

Introduction – Sasha Arrington

Dear Stuttgart Members,

I am very sad to see Kelsey leave. She has been so committed and such a great go-to person to have. I am honored to replace her until January.

For those of you that don’t know me: I’m a former military brat, I went to DoDD’s schools until enrolling at the University of Maryland, Munich & Augsburg campuses. Later I received my Master’s in Social Sciences from Universität Heidelberg. I’ve lived in the Stuttgart area for over 20 years, enjoy doing volunteer work in my community and drumming up donations for various social causes. 

I am very glad to be a part of this dedicated, friendly team. I look forward to our work ahead, which includes finding new members, contacting potential voters and invoking awareness that EVERY VOTE COUNTS! Let’s roll up our sleeves and make our country more inclusive, more fair and more blue!

Greetings,

Sasha 


Announcing the Democrats Abroad Call the World Campaign!

Phonebanking is one of the most important tools that Democrats Abroad has to mobilize its members to request their absentee ballots each year. With 2020 being a crucial election year and due to the current constraints in our ability to reach members in person, we have been relying on phonebanking even more than usual. Prior to the Global Presidential Primary, we had 61 phonebankers in Germany that made over 3500 calls that helped us achieve the second highest turnout in Democrats Abroad. To make these calls, we use a platform called CallHub, which is easy to use, but an expense for our organization. To help us continue to use this tool, please consider donating to the Democrats Abroad Call the World campaign. We know that many people are facing financial uncertainties at the moment, so if you can’t donate right now, that’s okay! But every little bit helps and, in this case, a little can go a long way: Just $10 allows a volunteer to call 40 voters! With your help, we can ensure Democrats succeed up and down the ballot in November. Click here to donate to the Call the World campaign.


Announcing the Democrats Abroad Call the World Campaign! 🌎

Phonebanking is one of the most important tools that Democrats Abroad has to mobilize its members to request their absentee ballots each year. With 2020 being a crucial election year and due to the current constraints in our ability to reach members in person, we have been relying on phonebanking even more than usual. Prior to the Global Presidential Primary, we had 61 phonebankers in Germany that made over 3500 calls that helped us achieve the second highest turnout in Democrats Abroad. To make these calls, we use a platform called CallHub, which is easy to use, but an expense for our organization. To help us continue to use this tool, please consider donating to the Democrats Abroad Call the World campaign. We know that many people are facing financial uncertainties at the moment, so if you can’t donate right now, that’s okay! But every little bit helps and, in this case, a little can go a long way: Just $10 allows a volunteer to call 40 voters! With your help, we can ensure Democrats succeed up and down the ballot in November. Click here to donate to the Call the World campaign.


Provisional Results - March 7, 2020

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary today for our second and final day of voting in Stuttgart.

I am pleased to announce the provisional results of today’s voting. Please note that they are, indeed, provisional and therefore are unofficial. Votes will be reviewed and vetted by our global primary team before the official results of the Global Presidential Primary are announced on March 23. Furthermore, please note that these provisional totals only reflect the votes cast in person, today, at this location, one of over 230 polling stations Democrats Abroad is hosting around the world.

The provisional results are as follows:

In total, 64 ballots were cast, 1 of which was spoiled. Of those ballots cast successfully,

Bernie Sanders received 56% or 35 of the votes.

Joe Biden received 32% or 20 of the votes.

Elizabeth Warren received 13% or 8 of the votes.

Thank you again for your participation today and this week.

You can look forward to hearing the official results of the Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary on March 23.


Provisional Results from Super Tuesday - March 3, 2020

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary yesterday in Stuttgart.

I am pleased to announce the provisional results of yesterday’s voting. Please note that they are, indeed, provisional and therefore are unofficial. Votes will be reviewed and vetted by our global primary team before the official results of the Global Presidential Primary are announced on March 23. Furthermore, please note that these provisional totals only reflect the votes cast in person, yesterday, at this location, one of over 230 polling stations Democrats Abroad is hosting around the world.

The provisional results are as follows:

In total, 51 ballots were cast, 7 of which were spoiled. Of those ballots cast successfully,

Bernie Sanders received 45% or 20 of the votes.

Elizabeth Warren received 34% or 15 of the votes.

Joe Biden received 14% or 6 of the votes.

Michael Bloomberg received 7% or 3 of the votes.

Thank you again for your participation yesterday, and I hope to see a big turnout at the second and last day of our polling center on Saturday, March 7 from 10 am to 6 pm at Museum Hotel Silber in Stuttgart. Provisional results will be announced after the closing of that polling center event as well.

You can look forward to hearing the official results of the Democrats Abroad Global Presidential Primary on March 23.


Member Spotlight Series Feb. 2020 - Marisa Schlenker

In this edition of our Member Spotlight Series, we're proud to highlight Marisa Schlenker. Marisa dove into volunteering with Democrats Abroad and took over revitalizing our Bodensee Precinct. She's no stranger to political activism and is making plans to get out the vote around the Bodensee in 2020. A former soccer player, she now consults for women's soccer programs in addition to studying at Konstanz University. As in sports, teamwork is fundamental in politics, and we're glad to have Marisa on the DA Stuttgart leadership team. 

Marisa Schlenker

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

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

I came to Hamburg, Germany in 2012 after I was accepted to be part of the DO School Fellowship program. The project I helped develop used sports as a tool and platform to contribute to social change and positive outcomes. After spending two months living in Kenya, I decided that I would return to Germany to live in Friedrichshafen. Since 2013, my husband and I have lived in different towns 'am Bodensee' and can see that this will be our home for many years to come.

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

I study political science and public administration at Konstanz University, work as a freelance consultant for many different sports development projects, am involved in many women's soccer programs/mentorships, and am often chasing around my two kids and now 6 chickens! Not really chasing the chickens but making sure they are fed.

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

I have been really interested in politics since my studies in political science and environment studies at UW Madison. I have also volunteered for local elections in Illinois and then for Obama’s campaign. I lived abroad for many years and always tried to also get a hold of the local politics and main issues as well as policies.

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 have been involved since September 2019 when we hosted the Bodensee “Meet and Greet” event. I had followed online and was always trying to figure out how to go to an event or meet people, but it only opened up this past year.

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

This is tough. Of course, I want a Democratic candidate who is intelligent, trustworthy, strong and humane to lead our country, but I think the changes required are very deep. We didn't just get into this mess without a whole system in place which has really led many people to lose faith in democracy but at the same time realize how much engagement and upkeep it takes to keep it functioning. It is so complex, and I am fortunate to study political science and learn all sorts of theories on public policy, voter turnout and so forth. I am very conscious about the image we have in the world due to not just our leaders but also other decisions being made concerning the environment, trade and human rights. I also am very aware that living abroad puts you inevitably in another space, and you have to keep yourself engaged and active.

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

I am involved in the precinct and overall volunteer engagement. I want to be more involved at the country or national level and then also am thinking of how we should add a citizen diplomacy area to our DA initiatives.

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

Join. Do something. Don't wait for others and find what it is you can offer to the group.

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

What do you wish other people knew about Democrats Abroad?

There is this central team that is doing incredible work. I got to meet many at a leadership retreat. This team needs support, and this team also wants to grow and evolve, so I would encourage people to think about how to get involved long term, if possible, and also to bring in new ideas when feasible.

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

I am doing my best-- well could always do more-- to get this precinct up and running. I have had lots of small meetings, email exchanges and so forth, but we need to do more. We have a lot of potential because we know there are members and numbers of Americans here. This award should put some more energy behind my plans and ideas and get me to bring more people together so it doesn't go through me.

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

2020 is the focus.

What motivates you to stay involved?

Politics are everything. They are policies made which influence everyone. Not to stay involved would be senseless.

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

We are a group which encompasses so many types of people and groups. We want to represent so many ideas and ideals. We need to work together and find some commonalities to push forward.

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

It has connected me to amazing leaders abroad. It has given me a chance to take my passion and apply it and find a vent for my frustrations with the current administration.

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

Yes, for sure! I lived abroad for many years, and my perspective is constantly being forced to change and adapt.

Can you think of an especially memorable experience with the Democrats Abroad group or a funny anecdote that you'd like to share?

The leadership retreat was unforgettable! 


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!