Democrats Abroad Germany leadership met for the weekend of September 6 – 8, 2019 for a retreat in Schladern to get energized and solidify our plans to Get Out The Vote in 2020. It was not only a chance to share information and ideas, it was also a great opportunity for us to socialize and find out what’s going on in other chapters and precincts around Germany. As our organization grows and becomes more complex, this is a fantastic way for us to stay in sync with each other and for leaders, old and new, to learn how they can maintain a successful chapter or precinct. If you see yourself getting more involved with helping Democrats Abroad, you are welcome to join us at future retreats. Just let your Chapter Chair know.
The Heidelberg Chapter Independence Day BBQ and 25th Anniversary had a great turnout! Our chapter was founded in June 1994 and, with only two exceptions, has met in one form or another every month since then. Germany Chair, Candice Kerestan, along with former Germany Chairs Ron Schlundt, Amy Peaceman and John McQueen were also in attendance. John is a co-founder of the Heidelberg Chapter, and had a humorous anecdote to share with us called “Invasion of the Meeting Snatchers”. Former Heidelberg Chairs Niki Vonderwell, Charles Keene and John McQueen were also in attendance as was current Chair Nancy Schimkat. As per our tradition of reading notable political speeches, we had a reading of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. Angie Johnson, Pub Quizzer Extraordinaire, gave us an American-themed quiz, and younger visitors brought their favorite games. The food everyone brought was excellent, and fun was had by all. Thanks to all the volunteers who helped to make this happen!
We're starting up a reading group in the Mannheim area. For now, this will meet just from time to time to see what interest there is. Our first book for discussion is "Hillbilly Elegy" by J.D. Vance. This get-together will take place in October and will be hosted at the home of one of our members, with the exact date TBA (probably the weekend of October 11th or 12th). If you are interested, please contact us at email@example.com and we will keep you informed of the meeting details.
On May 11th, runners arrived in Mannheim from around Germany to Run for Democracy in the Mannheim Half-Marathon and 10K runs. Not only that, but they collected sponsors to support them, and in the end, we raised over $3,000 in pledges for global Democrats Abroad (DPCA) to use in its Get Out The Vote efforts in 2020. Nancy Schimkat organized the event and hopes that other Chapters and Country Committees will be inspired to do something like this in the future.
Thanks to the runners:
|Taryn Williams||Feroze Mohammad|
|Jack Miller||Gretchen Chojnacki-Herbers|
|Stephen Holmes||Beverly Seebach|
|Niki Vonderwell||Candice Kerestan|
|Justin Burstein||Kelsey McLendon|
Nancy was injured this year. However, she, along with Daniel Hoever-Eckardt, Angela Fobbs, Anne Johnson-Zander, Aileen Dinin, and, Barbara Lutes cheered on our runners.
A special thanks to everyone who sponsored our runners and thanks to our members who hosted runners at their homes. Thanks to everyone who came out even though the weather was chilly and windy!
The Heidelberg Chapter had its bi-annual elections in early February 2019, resulting in Nancy Schimkat being re-elected Chapter Chair, and Daniel Hoever-Eckardt being elected Chapter Vice-Chair. At our April meeting we will discuss possibly creating a few “at-large” positions, which would strengthen our already active team. These positions include Volunteer Coordinator, Get-Out-The-Vote (GOTV) Coordinator, and Treasurer. If you are interested in filling any of these roles, please get in touch with Nancy (firstname.lastname@example.org). At the end of February, Heidelberg hosted the Annual General Meeting (AGM) for Germany, which was a big success because so many members pitched in to help! Aside from bringing members together for the weekend, the bi-annual Executive Committee elections for DA Germany took place. Congratulations to the 2019 team:
Candice Kerestan, Chair
Kenton Barnes, Vice-Chair
Andrea Schwab, Secretary
Ron Schlundt, Treasurer
And your Chapter Chair, Nancy Schimkat, was also elected along with 11 others in Germany to be a DPCA Representative. This means that she will represent Germany at the international level of Democrats Abroad.
Heidelberg was once again the location for one of the many Global Women’s Marches, with about 400 marchers showing up in 2019. Democrats Abroad members from Stuttgart and Wiesbaden came over and joined us, adding to the enthusiastic support by Democrats Abroad in this March. The Global Women’s March theme this year addressed “Violence Against Women” as a major and ongoing issue, and Democrats Abroad, while supporting that theme, also focused on efforts to finally get the ERA ratified in the United States. Speaking to that topic at the Women’s March was Democrats Abroad Communications Coordinator Amanda Mohar (pictured here).
My name is Daniel Hoever-Eckardt. I’m 33 years old and I was born in Germany to a European mother and an American father. I’ve been a member of the DAHD chapter since 2016. Since the beginning of last year I’m a precinct captain for our newly developed Mannheim group.
With the Mannheim group we are having quarterly meetings and organized a GOTV table in front of the Mannheim Stadthaus and marched in the CSD Parade in Mannheim.
I also was actively helping at many of the chapter’s political and non-political events, like the Independence Day BBQ, Women’s March, Heidelberg Science March and others.
At Democrats Abroad Germany’s fall retreat I committed myself to actively support the Heidelberg Chapter Chair. By combining the role of Precinct Captain and Vice Chair I believe we can benefit from synergy effects
Therefore, I would like to ask for the honor of serving as your chapter vice chairperson.
My name is Nancy Schimkat. I’m 56 years old, and made Germany my adopted home in 1997. I’ve been a member of the DAHD Chapter since 2009, and am its current Chair.
Over the past two years, our Chapter has added Mannheim as a Precinct and has started a group in Karlsruhe. We have been very active in creating, or participating in, events, and have successfully carried out fundraising for DA Germany. Our Half-Marathon was a particularly successful fundraiser. We have had impressive turnout at our non-political events, like movie nights, Independence Day BBQ and a holiday party in 2017 (we didn’t have a venue for this in 2018). I would like to continue to provide opportunities for our members to engage with each other in such settings, and have ideas for other types of get-togethers as well. Our political events have included helping with and participating in the Women’s Marches, the Heidelberg Science March, the CDS Parade in Mannheim and a March for Our Lives Virtual March, in which 20 activists met and wrote over 200 correspondences to business and political leadership regarding gun control. In February 2019, our Chapter will be hosting the Germany AGM. All of these events are possible because of the amazing active members of our Heidelberg Chapter. My job is simply to organize and bring people together. We have a great team! Therefore, I would like to ask for the honor of serving another two years as your Chapter Chairperson, starting in February 2019.
Heidelberg Chapter had a busy summer 2018. In July, we had our annual Independence Day BBQ, with good weather, a great turnout and plenty of good food and drink! In addition to water balloons and a pub quiz, we took turns reading the Declaration of Independence aloud, and then we had a lively discussion about it. In August we went to Mannheim and marched in the Christopher Street Day Parade. An estimated 120,000 bystanders were there! We had lots of fun and supported our LGBTQ friends at the same time. Twice we had street stands in Heidelberg to register U.S. voters and help people request their absentee ballots. Meanwhile in Karlsruhe, some dedicated members formed a phonebanking group to call Americans in Germany to encourage and help them request their absentee ballots. And naturally, we also had our First Friday monthly meetings at Zum Achter Restaurant. Come join us if you haven’t already! Here are some photos . . .
Members of our Heidelberg Chapter at our GOTV (Get Out The Vote) table on Bismarckplatz. We helped some overseas Americans with information about requesting their absentee ballots, and we could request and print out a ballot request for someone right on site with our tablet and portable printer! Also, the chocolate chip cookies were a hit. Our next GOTV table is going to be at the Bunsendenkmal (Hauptstr. 47-51) on the pedestrian zone June 9th. Come on by and say hello. Oh, and if you have not done so already, please request your absentee ballot at www.votefromabroad.org !