Message from DA Spain Chair
I'm writing this message between Juneteenth and Independence Day, two days that hold special significance for Americans living outside of the USA. They both represent the power of knowing and exercising your rights, which is fundamental to our country.
Let me explain. Juneteenth commemorates the day in 1865 when a Union general took news of the Emancipation Proclamation to slaves in Texas. Although President Lincoln issued the Proclamation on January 1, 1863, deceitful slaveholders withheld this information from those in captivity. However, once the enslaved population learned about their freedom, they began leaving their captors in large numbers. Juneteenth celebrates the awareness of one's rights and the ability to transform one's life accordingly.
Independence Day also played a significant role in informing people about their rights. The Declaration of Independence declared the British colonies in America free from their rulers. Overnight, printers produced 200 copies of the Declaration, which were distributed across the colonies, as well as to Parliament and King George III. The Declaration proclaimed that all individuals possessed certain "inalienable rights," which the British had failed to honor, thereby establishing Americans as a free and independent people.
Of course, it is widely recognized that the tidings of Juneteenth and the publication of the Declaration did not bring an end to the struggle for human rights in the USA. In fact, each document granted freedom only to some, not to everyone. However, on these special days, we celebrate the knowledge of our rights. This, in essence, is what patriotism means to me.
Our work for our flawed but beloved nation continues to this day. In particular, many Americans living abroad are unaware of their right to vote. It is our responsibility at DA Spain to educate our fellow citizens and assist them in exercising this fundamental right. We invite you to join us in our efforts as we celebrate our awareness of what is rightfully ours as Americans.
Announcements & Calls to Action
Support The Commission on Americans Living Abroad Act
Please contact your Congressional representative and urge them to co-sponsor HR 2729, The Commission on Americans Living Abroad Act. This bill aims to establish a bipartisan panel that will thoroughly examine the impact of federal laws on Americans residing overseas. Currently, there is no centralized platform for addressing concerns regarding various significant issues, such as those related to US income tax regulations and the inability to access Medicare benefits while living abroad. The Commission would be responsible for presenting a comprehensive report of its findings to the President.
Click here for more information on how to contact your House representative.
Views on the News
Happy Birthday America! Celebrate by Registering to Vote
As we reach the midpoint of 2023, the US is deeply divided politically, and the upcoming presidential and congressional campaigns will only exacerbate this divide. True patriotism is being questioned amidst the contrasting visions of the MAGA brand and its critics. Comparing the ages and lifestyles of former President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden, it becomes clear that Biden maintains a healthier lifestyle and mental acuity. The Democrats have achieved legislative accomplishments through hard work and bipartisan support, while employment levels rise and inflation shows signs of slowing down. In contrast, Trump and his supporters propagate an unhinged version of reality, denying the legitimacy of the elections and facing mounting legal challenges. As patriotic Democrats and Independents abroad, it is crucial to register and vote, engaging fellow Americans respectfully. The future holds high stakes for democracy, demanding a strong commitment to patriotism. Click here to read the full article.
Chapter and Verse
As our newly elected executive committee convenes for the first time and eagerly anticipates the upcoming July 4th celebration, we are uplifted by the personal stories we discover about our members. Among us, we have veterans, educators, civil servants, union representatives, community organizers, journalists, and church leaders. It is remarkable to observe that almost all members have dedicated their time or resources to causes aimed at enhancing the lives of the less fortunate. Our sense of patriotism stems from these values, and as active participants in Democrats Abroad, we take immense pride in our mission to promote and support candidates who share these principles.
We are excited to announce that our next in-person gathering will take place during the first week of September. Dates and details will be sent out via email and posted in our Facebook group.
A group of Democrats Abroad Barcelona members gathered last Saturday to celebrate an early 4th of July at a local park. The attendees comprised past and present members of the executive committee, as well as longtime members and newcomers.
Being patriotic and proud Americans in Madrid means embracing the diversity of our country and sharing that diversity with our host country. We celebrate the American values of freedom, equality, and democracy. Additionally, being patriotic and proud Americans in Madrid involves finding ways to honor our national holidays and traditions. This can be done through gatherings with fellow Americans on the 4th of July, Thanksgiving dinner, or watching the Super Bowl and World Series at a local sports bar. We also actively engage in registering people to vote, which is an active way to keep the values of democracy close to our hearts and help our leaders uphold those principles. As Americans in Madrid, we act as ambassadors of goodwill in our host city while simultaneously exercising our right to vote from abroad.
San Sebastián is looking to get a small leadership team or steering committee going. If you’re interested, please email us at [email protected].
Several chapter members attended the Annual Meeting of Democrats Abroad – Spain in Alicante. Afterward, the Sevilla Chapter held an Organizational Committee Meeting on May 24th, where they set up their schedule for the summer and discussed future projects to increase membership and electoral participation. The chapter followed up that meeting with one of its First Friday Coffees on June 2, during which members engaged in a wide-ranging and robust conversation on politics.
On Flag Day, June 14, the chapter hosted a "Let's Talk About the Flag'' podcast discussion of Episode One of Nikole Hannah-Jones's The 1619 Project. As an African-American child, Hannah-Jones never understood why her father hung the American flag in their front yard. In Episode One (''The Fight for a True Democracy"), she weaves together her personal experiences with American history and describes her ultimate appreciation for that tradition through a recounting of the central role of African-Americans in the ongoing struggle to realize the democratic ideal. Chapter members brought different perspectives to a serious and fluid discussion of critically important issues of citizenship, human rights, and the effort to form a more perfect union. Participants expressed an interest in returning for further engagement.
The Chapter’s final event of the summer will be a Red, White, and Blue First Friday scheduled for July 7th in the Parque de María Luisa. Details coming soon to our Facebook page.
DA Valencia had a fantastic turnout for this year's Gay Pride Parade. We want to express our gratitude to everyone for triumphing over hate with LOVE.
On July 4, DA Valencia will be celebrating our nation's holiday at the American Space on the campus of Universitat Politècnica de València. There will be hot dogs, burgers, fireworks, live music, and our nation's colors will be proudly displayed.
As always, everyone is welcome to join us for the First Friday Coffee at Salad Planet at 10:30 am. Additionally, we encourage you to stay for the leadership team meeting starting at 11:30 am.
For up-to-date information, please join our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/democratsabroadvalenciaspain
Save the date: July 25, 5:00 PM CET - Why Your Vote Matters by Carlos Colao
The Global Hispanic Caucus, DA Mexico, and DA Spain are pleased to invite you to join us for a conversation with Bill Valdez, a recognized leader in the federal government who has successfully managed science and technology programs and significantly influenced government policy in science, technology, and government administration. Among his various roles, he is the co-founder of the Alliance of Latinx Leadership & Policy (ALLP), dedicated to developing a pipeline of highly qualified Latinx policy leaders in the federal government (www.AllianceLatinx.org).
ALLP is a non-profit and non-partisan group that serves as a think tank and leadership pipeline program for Latinx professionals who aspire to pursue careers in public service.
During this event, Mr. Valdez will discuss the importance and significance of "Why Your Vote Matters," with a specific focus on Hispanic voters. The audience will gain valuable insights and education regarding the importance and responsibility of voting. Please RSVP here.
Contact me by sending an email to [email protected]
Pride Month Activities to Commemorate and Celebrate by John Murphy
Recognizing that American gun violence poses a dual threat to the community, the caucus organized two Zoom In Focus events that focused on the impact of the Pulse Massacre and the prevalence of suicide with firearms within our community. The first event featured veteran activists Jay Walker and Brigid McGinn, who were among the founders of Gays Against Guns (GAG), an anti-gun violence group established seven years ago. The second event was a preview of the documentary film "GAG," followed by a talk-back session with filmmaker Paul Rowley.
Additionally, the caucus collaborated with other Spain DA caucus chapters to coordinate logistics and plan Pride events throughout Spain.
Among the upcoming events, the caucus is planning Drag Queen Bingo and an examination of individual state efforts to combat the flood of anti-LGBTQ+ bills in legislatures across the U.S. As of now, more than650 bills have been introduced and/or passed at the state level.
The LGBTQ+ Caucus of DA Spain was established to increase visibility for Democrats Abroad within the community abroad and to assist community members in registering to vote. While all are welcome, it strives to achieve these goals through outreach, periodic events, and general support for DAS activities. If you would like to join our caucus or obtain more information, please contact us at [email protected].
Veterans and Military Families Caucus
What makes me a "Proud American" by Andrew Abel Anderson
Being part of a Foreign Service family and having served in the military, I have been fortunate to live and travel in numerous countries. Throughout my 42 years of travel, work, and play, I learned that the United States of America represented to many the following attributes: fair play, a plurality of cultures under one flag, with a sense of justice and equal opportunity for all. Whether at school, work, or in uniform, I have represented these attributes in various ways. My reflection is that I am proud to be a United States citizen. Willing to explain the bad and willing to laud the good.
Many United States citizens have paid a price for those attributes and whenever I see our flag, it serves as a constant reminder of these attributes and my role in ensuring that they are respected and encouraged.
Contact us by sending an email to [email protected]
Greetings from Ukraine by Doris Stanger
I have been volunteering to teach in an English summer school program for the last two weeks outside Lviv, Ukraine. (So this article doesn't have anything to do with the Women's Caucus.) Knowing that the US government and the Biden Administration are wholeheartedly backing Ukraine makes me very proud to say that I am from the United States.
Life here is as normal as possible in a country at war. The front is very far away. However, the war is never far from anyone's mind. One of my fellow teachers, also from the U.S. and very involved in various organizations supporting Ukraine, has made many friends here. She has attended two funerals in the two weeks that we have been here, both for soldiers who were killed at the front.
But life goes on. The students are studious and fun-loving. They asked me if I was afraid to come. I wasn't, and I'm not afraid to be here. There are so many people much braver than I am. While I feel that my contribution here is minimal, my "grain of sand," I have been told that simply my presence here is important. Having visitors from other countries boosts morale and gives a sense of normality. My time here is nearly over. It's an experience I will always remember.
Next month, I will focus on the Women's Caucus. I'm always on the lookout for more volunteers! Contact me by sending an email to [email protected]
Click here to learn more about DA caucuses and to join. When you join a global caucus, you automatically become a member of the Spain caucus.
Click here to see all the upcoming Caucus events.
Spain Fun Fact
The Spanish Tooth Fairy Is a Mouse
In Spanish culture, you won't find a coin under your pillow from the tooth fairy. Instead, the tooth fairy's hairy coworker — also known as El Ratón de los Dientes or El Ratónit Pérez — takes charge of the tooth-for-gift exchange in Spanish-speaking regions of the world. His story, like many legends, has a few theoretical origins, but there is an overwhelming consensus that assumes Jesuit priest Luis Coloma wrote the story to help King Alphonso XIII cope with the loss of his first tooth at the age of eight. The story was recounted and shared so often that it even made its way to Latin America through Spain's ties with its former colonies. Interestingly, there is a popular Argentine film from 2006 that tells us about the adventures of this little money-giving mouse.
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