Message from DA Spain Chair
I’ve been struggling with this column for days, without having any idea of where to start. Do we talk about the terrible recent Supreme Court rulings? The eye-popping revelations of the January 6th investigation? The devastating war grinding on in Ukraine? People being shot for the color of their skin or for the simple act of celebrating our nation's independence? Crippling heat and wildfires across the nation and around the world? As the incomparable Amanda Gorman puts it in her “Hymn for the Hurting”
Our hearts shadowed and strange,
Minds made muddied and mute.
We carry tragedy, terrifying and true.
That’s a lot to tackle. What can you do? Register to vote, request your ballot, return your ballot, and tell every American you know to do the same. The midterm elections are critical. If we want to know what happened during the January 6th coup attempt, or to protect marriage equality and access to contraception, or to fight the climate change that threatens the entire planet, WE HAVE TO VOTE.
We can do this! And again Gorman leads us with her wise words:
Maybe everything hurts,
Our hearts shadowed & strange.
But only when everything hurts
May everything change.
So if you’d like to get more involved, please consider attending a virtual meeting of the Democrats Abroad Spain Executive Committee. For a meeting invite, please send an email to [email protected]. The next meeting is scheduled for August 12 at 19:30 CET. Or find out if there’s a local DA group near you. If there’s not, start one!
And vote. Please vote.
Kathy Tullos (Chair)
Views on the News
Other than perhaps the stripping of our constitutional right to make private decisions about our own bodies, no other issue has been as front and center in the United States this summer as gun violence. In addition to the quintessentially American instances of gun violence that kill more than100 of our fellow countrymen and women every day and injure hundreds more, we have seen some of the most brutal and heinous mass shootings in our history over the past three months.
Following the racially motivated murder of Black people in Buffalo and the massacre of elementary school children and teachers in Uvalde, there was a massive outcry for change. That outcry yielded results. After 26 years of delays, Congress finally passed major gun violence-prevention legislation at the federal level. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act will provide millions in funding for mental health services, community-based violence prevention initiatives, and crisis intervention initiatives such as red flag laws. It will also strip abusers convicted of assaulting their dating partners of their ability to purchase firearms legally, require an enhanced review process for individuals under 21 attempting to buy firearms, create federal offenses for straw purchases and trafficking, and clarify who is required to comply with regulations governing federally licensed gun dealers.
In another win for gun violence prevention, Steve Dettelbach was confirmed this week as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). For years, the NRA has successfully lobbied to limit the funding and scope of the ATF in order to avoid accountability for the gun industry. Thanks to their Republican allies, there has not been a Senate-confirmed director heading the agency in almost 10 years, and only one since 2006. With the confirmation of Dettelbach, a former federal prosecutor with decades of experience, we can expect a stronger ATF more capable of going after gun trafficking and bad actors.
While these two successes are cause for celebration, we also experienced a large setback in the form of another radical decision by the Supreme Court. The court deemed unconstitutional a law requiring New York residents to show proper cause before receiving a license to carry – a law that had been in place for 100 years. The Bruen decision threatens gun safety laws in seven other states, which together with New York represent a quarter of the U.S. population.
The best way we can fight back against an out-of-touch, extremist court and continue the momentum toward a safer future is to engage the electorate. Most Americans, from across the political spectrum, agree on common-sense gun violence-prevention measures such as universal background checks. Yet the will of the people will continue to be subverted by the gun lobby unless we sustain the pressure on current members of Congress, work to elect two additional Democratic Senators and keep or widen Democrats’ lead in the House. Join organizations committed to gun violence prevention to keep the pressure up, and phonebank with Democrats Abroad to get out the vote.
By Elva Medoza (member, DA Spain)
Did you miss our La Lucha Continúa catch-up with Elva? Click here to watch the recording.
Calls to Action
VOTE from Abroad
It’s summer, it’s hot and most folks are either on vacation already or counting down the days until they can escape from their regular routines. We get it! And yet, time moves inexorably on, and November 8 draws ever closer. If you have sent in your FVAP for this year’s election (and if you haven’t, what are you waiting for?), and assuming you requested email delivery, your absentee ballot will hit your inbox 45 days before election day. That means you should expect to receive it by September 24. Be prepared to fill it in and return it as quickly as possible, as Correos reports there continue to be mail delays. Ballot return requirements are different for each state and should be diligently adhered to (check www.votefromabroad.org/states for more information). We can expect unprecedented scrutiny of this election by a Republican party that is unwilling to accept defeat; so do not give them any reasons to reject your absentee ballot!
Help us spread the word to other US citizens that they can vote from abroad!
Did you know that your foreign-born American citizen children can vote if they will be at least 18 years old by November 8? They should register to vote using their American parents’ last voting address. It’s easy for first-time overseas voters to register (and online help is available) at www.votefromabroad.org.
For information on returning your ballot by email, online upload, or FAX, check out the Vote From Abroad FAQ Receiving and Returning Ballots.
Global Women's Caucus
Summertime is here, but the living feels far from easy. The Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade and taking away the right for women to decide what to do with their own bodies or whether to bear children still seems like something out of a dystopian novel. Unfortunately for those whose lives are being directly affected by this, it is a far cry from fiction.
Now, more than ever, it’s vitally important to get in touch with your elected officials and let your voices and opinions be heard, but with a difference: you also need to be in regular contact with your state officials. Not sure what is going on in your state? Check out this interactive map from the Guttmacher Institute.
Vote down ballot when you can! When you register to vote, consider checking the box ‘intend to return’, as there is no time constraint to this intention. In some states, such as Florida, by checking this box you will be given the opportunity to vote down ballot, whereas if you check ‘intent to return uncertain’ you can only vote in Federal elections.
If we were to increase our numbers by two more Democratic senators and hold on to the House in the mid-term elections, codifying abortion rights could become a reality. So VOTE and help get out the vote as well.
Despite the state of the world and despite the heat wave, I hope that you are all able to relax and enjoy the 10 pm sunsets.
The Global LGBTQ+ Caucus’s big event, Amsterdam CanalPride, is coming soon. On Saturday August 6, there will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be on a boat in the canals of Amsterdam, celebrating Pride and helping us get out the vote for the upcoming election. European media will be covering the event, and half a million people are expected to attend. Concern for what is happening in the US is at an all-time high, and this is a great opportunity to turn that concern into concrete action.
Even if you cannot attend the event in-person, there are lots of great ways that you can support it. You can sponsor a balloon, or an eco-friendly glitter blast, or just be an ally. Every single penny of profit will be used to get out the vote so, if you haven’t yet donated to Democrats Abroad this year, this is a great way to do it and really will help make a difference. Your $20 donation will help us reach hundreds of Americans who have not yet requested their absentee ballot, and those votes could decide who controls Congressand statehouses. More information at https://www.democratsabroad.org/canal_pride_2022.
To see all the great caucus events going on around the world, click here!
Click here to see all the upcoming Caucus events.
Chapter and Verse
Representatives of the Democratic National Committee will visit DA Spain in August! We are honored to be one of two countries to be visited by Ken Martin, Vice-Chair of the DNC, and Jarryd Rauch, Eastern Regional Director of the Association of State Parties. They will be accompanied by DA Global leaders.
Their visit will include in-person events in Madrid (August 17), Valencia (August 18), and Barcelona (August 20). All DA members are invited to attend any of the three events. For more information, please email [email protected], and be on the lookout for more information from your local chapter.
Our popular Zoom conversation series La Lucha Continúa will resume in September. This is your forum so, if you have any suggestions for guest speakers you’d like to hear from as we gear up for the November general election, please send an email to [email protected].
Remember to join the DA Barcelona Signal group (an online texting app with better security than WhatsApp) to participate in conversations, share your thoughts and ideas with other members, and stay informed of any last-minute developments.
July was a busy month for DA Madrid!
On July 3rd, we held one of our most beloved traditions — the 4th of July picnic. Long-time members and new faces alike got together for food, friends, and fellowship at the Retiro. It was a potluck, so everyone brought food to share, and the chapter provided some beverages. As always, everyone had a great time.
On July 9th, we participated in the annual Madrid Pride parade — another DA Madrid tradition. The Pride protocol last year was greatly restricted because of the pandemic, with fewer events and several social-distancing measures in place. This year, most of the festivities were back, complete with a party and concert on the last day.
With so many activities already planned for July, our monthly event was more low-key. We got together at the Toast Taproom Malasaña to discuss politics and register to vote for the midterms, all while enjoying the A/C and the Taproom's extensive drink menu.
See you at our next event!
The past month has also been busy in Valencia.
In response to the mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, DA members rallied on June 11th to speak out against gun violence and to call for stronger gun control laws in the United States.
On June 12th, members met in the Turia for a picnic in the park. If you’re holding out for cooler weather to attend one of our picnics, stay tuned for information on the picnic coming in September. We’ll be sending information via email and listserv, as well as posting on Facebook.
A colorful group of DA Valencia members joined Valencia’s Gay Pride Parade on the 25th. The festivities were enjoyed by all involved!
This year, the American Space once again hosted a July 4th event on the UPV campus. DA Valencia was there to join the celebration and to host a Vote From Abroad table.
July 1st saw a nice crowd gather for First Friday Coffee at Salad Planet. Our next coffee will be on August 5th at 10:30 CET at Salad Planet.
We thank everyone who was in town and joined us for these events. We wish everyone safe travels while on vacation and look forward to more events this fall. Happy summer!
Looking back, the 4th of July in 2022 may not have felt much like a holiday for many of us, but I like to remember that this is a day to celebrate independence and liberty, and bravery of our citizens. In spite of onerous Supreme Court decisions and vile state legislation assaulting women’s rights, climate protection, and gun safety, there are still American goings-on that inspire rather than depress. If you’ve not tuned in to the Jan. 6th Congressional hearings, you should. The simple courage of those giving evidence inspires in every way. Their bravery contrasts starkly with the shameful cowardice of those who block and obfuscate and evade. All the hearings can be found on YouTube or on our Facebook pages.
Network, Connect & Grow. This is our motto for the summer in Alicante. The Alicante team has been traveling around the globe, but that has not stopped us all from staying involved wherever we are. The Alicante team will be collaborating with DA Valencia on the upcoming DNC Spain visit in August. We also continue to provide our members information on our social media pages about how to vote, and we are gearing up to make our presence known on the streets of Alicante by designing DA Alicante banners, pamphlets, and get-out-the-vote notecards for people we meet on our adventures. We will get back to in-person events soon but, in the meantime, we wish you all a good summer!
Spain Fun Fact
Did you know that this month has been designated Plastic-Free July? The PFJ initiative was launched by activists in Australia in 2011 and has grown steadily since then. During the month of July, people around the world are encouraged to choose to refuse one or more types of single-use plastic, such as water bottles, coffee cups, straws or shopping bags (to name but a few options), so that, when the month is over, some or all of these new behaviors will carry forward.
The fact is, on the individual as well as national level, awareness of the damage caused by plastic pollution is growing quickly. Here in Spain, sale of some single-use plastics will be banned from January 2023. This includes plastic straws, plates and cutlery, cotton swabs, and all items made of “oxodegradable” plastic. It’s a step in the right direction, albeit a baby step.
What are you doing to reduce your consumption of single-use plastics this July?
To stay on top of all the news, follow Democrats Abroad Spain on social media. And please forward this email to your American friends in Spain who may not know us!
Donations to Democrats Abroad go directly to registering Americans and get out the vote (GOTV) activities such as phone banking, postcards, and most importantly, social media. Democrats Abroad is an incredible investment in our Democracy because it is 100% volunteer led and organized. Every euro or dollar you give supports our work to elect Democrats who will fight to make a better life for all Americans.
If you cannot afford to make a donation, consider volunteering your time, or bringing a friend to one of our events.