Message from DA Spain Chair and Vice-Chair
According to the old song, June is bustin’ out all over, and DA Spain is just as busy.
For starters, several of your Executive Committee members attended the virtual Global DA meeting last month. We voted on changes to the organization’s bylaws and considered several resolutions. But the highlight of the meeting was the election of new DA Global officers, and we’re happy to report that the organizational leadership is experienced and already getting started on preparations for the midterm elections next year. As a bonus, the new Global Chair, Candice Kerestan of Germany, met with the DA Spain Executive Committee just a few days ago to talk about her plans and to solicit feedback on potential projects.
The other current big push in DA Spain is the staffing of our new teams. In May, the Executive Committee authorized the creation of five teams: Strategic Communications, Get Out the Vote, Finance, Bylaws Revision, and Member Onboarding and Training. You’ll hear more from these bodies as they begin their work, but all of them will play essential roles in helping organize and grow DA Spain. And each team is welcoming new members, so lots of opportunities are available if you’d like to get more involved.
Our focus on these two occurrences is in no way intended to downplay the other great work being done in DA Spain. Chapters continue to offer high quality programs, the Women’s Caucus is growing in membership and is hosting interesting events, we’re celebrating Pride Month…. You get the idea. Please take a few minutes to read through the newsletter and find out if there are opportunities you’d like to take advantage of. And let us know if you have questions or comments.
Daniel James, Chair, DA Spain
Kathy Tullos, Vice-Chair, DA Spain
A New Communications Plan for Spain
Last year, Democrats Abroad mobilized an impressive 18,000 volunteers to help our overseas voters participate in the 2020 election. Overseas voters were the margin of victory in several 2018 and 2020 races. Let that idea sink in for a moment! If overseas voters hadn’t taken the time to request their ballots, fill in their choices and entrust the resulting document to their local Correos, Deutsche Post, La Poste, Royal Mail, Canada Post, China Post, HongKong Post, etc., our political landscape would look a great deal less hopeful.
But where do we go from here? We need to replicate and amplify this turnout in future elections. To that end, Democrats Abroad Spain has created a Strategic Communications Team. Our focus will be on publishing articles in Spain’s print media and across social media platforms. We hope to guest-speak on local podcasts and television programs. We aim to connect our fellow Americans with one another and to communicate our get-out-the-vote message to ever-expanding outlets. This new and ambitious plan must include a real effort to reach out to Americans in the farthest corners of Spain and bring them into the conversation – a conversation about helping our homeland progress in the right direction.
As with any volunteer organization, our resources are limited. Unlike the majority of nonprofits, Democrats Abroad is proudly run by volunteers at all levels – with not a single paid staffer. To publish this newsletter with its many components, we depend on the generosity of our volunteers. If you’d like to lend a hand in support of our democracy, the Strategic Communications Team welcomes writers, editors, fact-checkers and graphic designers. Please complete and submit the Volunteer Interest Form.
To publish ads and run a successful political operation from abroad, we’d also benefit from monetary donations. If every American living abroad donated $1/month, our organization would have the resources to fight and advocate for the kinds of issues that only affect American expats. A powerful expat lobby in DC would benefit us all. Lend a hand and donate today!
But if you cannot donate funds, nor lend us your time, consider telling your American friends about our organization. Registering with Democrats Abroad has so many benefits, not the least of which is our voter registration assistance. Tell your friends to register with DA at http://www.democratsabroad.org/join.
To all our current and future volunteers – let’s build a stronger communications infrastructure together!
Following the wonderful Webinar (now available on Facebook) with Senator Tammy Baldwin, D-WI, the Democrats Abroad LGBTQ+ Caucus has put together a Virtual Pride Marathon on Sunday, June 20th. From 11 CET to Midnight, we will be sharing our stories, from youth to old age. Special attention will be paid to the making of a political wedge issue using the struggles of trans kids, the importance of the Equality Act, and two award-winning movies. The focus will also be on Florida, with the director of Florida Equality, as well as the Congressional LGTBQ+ director and the DNC LGTBQ+ exec director.
Spain Women's Caucus (SWC) June Update
DA Spain also has a relatively new Women's Caucus, which has already held its first online events (paella, anyone?) and chosen new leadership. Doris Stanger is the newly elected, and already incredibly busy, head of the Women’s Caucus here in Spain. Not already a caucus member? Simply join the GWC caucus and you’ll automatically be a Spain member. To get involved, fill out the SWC Volunteer Information Form.
Biden-Harris Progress Report #5: At the Intersection of Economic Recovery and Renewable Revolution on Thursday, June 24, 7-8:30pm CET, 1-2:30pm ET
Is the American Jobs Plan an infrastructure plan, economic recovery plan, or the roadmap for a renewable revolution? Join the Global Progressive Caucus to learn more about how the Plan could integrate all three. We’ll review its legislative status and consider what improvements are necessary to ensure it triggers a revolution more profound than the industrial and digital revolutions for the benefit of all. We’ll feature the work of our leading progressive organizations and representatives in guiding us to action. To attend, RSVP Here
Calls to Action
State Outreach Groups
In our current political climate, each of our 50 US states is facing unique and nuanced challenges that deserve the targeted activism of dedicated DA teams. Staying engaged at the state and local level has never been more crucial than it is right now! We are pleased to announce that 10 Key State Outreach groups are now organizing globally. If you are from, or would like to adopt, one of these states in the runup to the midterms, please join the DA State Outreach Slack and jump right in.
State Teams so far: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin (with New York and California up next). Read more...
Chapter and Verse
Barcelona’s annual general meeting and chapter election were held May 15. Chris Reilly was reelected as chair for another two years, and Rachel Mantiñán was elected as our new vice-chair. Annie Graul will serve a second term as secretary, and immediate past VC Hunter Roberts was voted in as treasurer.
**********With the pace of vaccinations finally picking up in Catalunya and the arrival of summer, we are all in the mood for in-person events again. Join us on July 4th as we celebrate Independence Day with renewed pride and hopefulness for the American experiment.
Our semi-regular Tuesday zoom meetings, La Lucha Continúa, will be held less frequently over the summer months. Enjoy your holiday and get ready to hit the ground running in September, when we’ll begin working in earnest toward the most important midterm elections of our lives. If you missed our most recent La Lucha meeting about plastic pollution in the oceans, or would like to review the content, the presentation slides are available here:eXXpedition - Democrats Abroad Presentation.
DA Madrid elections were held a few weeks ago. Maggie Zelonis (vice-chair) and Carmen Milagros Higgins (treasurer) were elected to join Samuel Mattern (chair) and Revé Fisher (secretary) as the 2021–23 DA Madrid executive committee. We'd like to thank the elections committee - Khephra White, Diane Tillman, and Eric Stevenson - for helping us put the elections together and hold a successful annual general meeting!
On May 27th, we held our first in-person event of the year. A few of us gathered near the Puerta del Ángel Caído (gate from Cuesta de Moyano) in Retiro Park to catch up on life, take advantage of the nice weather, and enjoy some snacks and drinks. Read more...
In honor of Pride month, grab a pen and paper, pour your beverage of choice and join us for a virtual LGBTQ+ pub trivia night on Thursday, June 24th at 7:30pm. It will be based on interesting facts about LGBTQ+ history, news, and more from the U.S., Spain, and the world at large. You might even win a prize! RSVP here
DA Madrid's annual Fourth of July picnic will be held on July 4th itself, which falls on a Sunday this year. This family-friendly DA Madrid tradition is a great way to relax with your fellow members and make new friends. Stay tuned for more information, but please plan to join us that afternoon in the Retiro!
DA Valencia has registered its participation in the local 2021 Pride event, Orgullo Valencia, on June 28th at 8 PM. We will be sporting our Democrats Abroad banner and signs. If you’re new to Valencia, speak no Spanish, and/or simply miss your fellow Americans, you can find a familiar English-speaking “home” among the masses.
On July 4th, an Independence Day Lunch celebration will be held at Tommy Mel’s American Restaurant on the 2nd (or if you’re counting the American way, 3rd) floor of Aqua Mall on Calle de Menorca, 19, 46023 Valencia.
Over the last year, the Alicante chapter was extremely busy getting out the vote. From global phone banking to our “Why I Vote” member-stories, we kept the candle burning at both ends. We assembled Our Voices, Our Future media platforms, to reach out to younger generations. Both campaigns were used to create digital ads to bolster membership and get out the vote. Our members donated to Democrats Abroad and to campaigns across the US.
On June 12, 2021, the Alicante chapter elected a new executive committee formed by Daniel Garcia (chair), Diane Longo (vice-chair), Tammy Teschner (secretary), and Brett Spector (treasurer). Read more...
DAS At Large
Virtual 4th of July Party!
For those who don’t have a local DA chapter or prefer not to publicly mingle, join our virtual 4th of July Party at 6PM CET (Madrid). Americans from all over Spain are welcome to join our leadership for a festive celebration of our hard-fought freedoms and independence. Feel free to add a red-white-and-blue accent to your clothing, show off your themed snacks or share your own traditions during our call.
We look forward to spending our Independence Day with you and your families.
Spain Fun Fact
Spain is an LGBT-friendly country
Back in 2010, the European Social Survey found that 80% of respondents agreed that ‘gay men and lesbians should be free to live their own lives.’ This compares to less than 40% of Croatians, Lithuanians, and Russians. Spain has a large LGBT community, and same-sex marriage has been legal since 2005. (source)
Do you have suggestions for this newsletter? If so, send us an email with your suggestions. And feel free to share this information with your American friends in Spain.