Lyon

photo by Laurent Hutinet

We are Americans located in the Auvergne-Rhône Alpes region of France by job, by marriage, by birth, by love of things French and for many other reasons.  We all share a tug back to the USA and for that reason we organize political and social events around current trends in American life. 

Our chapter is the 2nd largest in France, covering as far as Dijon to the north, Valence to the south, Clermont-Ferrand to the west and the Alps to the east.

We regularly hold events such as marches to protect the earth from climate change and to support LGBTQ rights and culture.  Among our events in previous years was a tribute to the young lives cut short by the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas high school shooting as well as seminars on American ex-pat tax requirements.  

We were particularly active in the primary and presidential election season, with events to educate our membership on the candidates and the issues.  

Democrats Abroad Lyon does all we can to help every American in the Auvergne-Rhône Alpes area participate in the vote from abroad process.  Perhaps, most important, we provide a forum for liberal and progressive Americans to voice their opinions and support each other in today's fraught political climate.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily halted our in-person meetings, we continue our events via Zoom.

First Thursdays

First Thursdays are opportunities for DA members to get to know each other, as well as exchanging banter about current events and politics.  Habitually, we meet at a pub in Lyon but due to COVID-19, these days our evenings are virtual get-togethers on Zoom.  A recent evening paid homage to Black History Month with a Harvard quiz accompanied by a discussion on racial bias.  So, pour yourself your favorite drink and come join us for a couple of hours of informative diversion every month!  À votre santé!

Cheers !

DA Book Club Discussions

Our DA members, voracious readers all, held multiple sessions throughout 2020 and 2021 to read, question and discuss books covering diverse topical issues. These included :

A 2018 book written by Andrew Yang, an American entrepreneur and Venture for America founder, who would later run as a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. The book discusses technological change, automation, job displacement, the U.S. economy, and what Yang describes as the need for a universal basic income.
A 2018 non-fiction book by Michael Lewis that examines the transition and political appointments of the Donald Trump presidency, especially with respect to three government agencies: the Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Commerce.

Works about Racial Bias and Racial Intolerance. In honor of Black Lives Matter, a thought-provoking Powerpoint helped to explore several media such as :

 

White Fragility

Robin DiAngelo

 

Between Me and the World

Ta-Nehisi Coates

 

Thirteenth (film)

Ava DuVernay/Netflix

 

Stamped from the Beginning

Ibram X Kendi

Citizenship is invaluable, yet our status as citizens is always at risk—even for those born on US soil. Amanda Frost, an American University law professor temporarily living in Lyon on a fellowship, exposes a hidden history of discrimination and xenophobia that continues to this day in her 2021 book.

You can find our Events and News here on the Democrats Abroad website as well as on our Facebook page.  

We would be interested in hearing your ideas. Please feel free to contact us!

[email protected]

Join Democrats Abroad

DA Lyon Leadership:

Diane Sklar
| DAF-Lyon Chair
catherine Coolidge
| DAF-Lyon Vice Chair
John Matthews
| DAF-Lyon Treasurer
Camille Canter
| Member-at-Large, Voting Representative
See all Leaders


  • News

    American Show and Tell in Lyon

    Members of Democrats Abroad came out of confinement to celebrate Spring in Lyon, gathering at the Damn Fine Bookstore to share books, films and podcasts that have kept us going through the pandemic.

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    Maurice "Mike" Gravel (1930 – 2021): Alaska’s US Senator, Democrat (1969 – 1981)

    mgravelFrom Catherine Coolidge (Alaska voter & DA Lyon Vice-President)

    As a born and bred Alaskan, I would like to pay homage to a former Democratic US Senator who represented my home state for 12 years before being defeated by a Republican who is Lisa Murkowski’s father. With the exception of one Senatorial term, Alaska has been a red state since Reagan’s Republican landslide in 1980.

    Mike Gravel was born in Springfield, Massachusetts to working class French-Canadian parents and spoke only French in his early childhood. He served in the Army’s Counterintelligence Corps and then drove a cab in New York City while studying for his BA in economics at Columbia University.

    Like my parents, the lure of adventure and independence drew Mr. Gravel to Alaska. He arrived broke and did whatever jobs he could find, working in real estate and even as a brakeman on the snow-clearing trains of the Alaska Railroad before launching his career in politics.

    Alaska became the 49th state in January 1959. Mr. Gravel was twice elected to the State House of Representatives (1963 - 1967) and served as speaker in 1965 and 1966. Buoyed by his telegenic looks, in 1968 he narrowly unseated the incumbent 81-year-old US Senator, Ernest Gruening, who Alaskans referred to as “the Father of Alaska statehood”.

    That same year, Theodore “Ted” Stevens, a Republican, was elected as Alaska’s second US Senator. Mr. Stevens went on to serve 40 years in the Senate and his towering legacy has heavily shaped Alaska’s current economic strategy, which is largely dependent on federal subsidies.

    Both men hated each other. Their personalities, outlook and tactics were completely opposite. Mr. Stevens was a pragmatist, a plodder, an insider who brought home the bacon, funneled money to the military and who didn’t rock the boat.

    Mr. Gravel was an idealist, a gadfly, a maverick and many considered him to be a showboat. He dreamed of stopping wars, building a self-sustaining Alaska economy and fundamentally changing American democracy. On June 29, 1971 he drew enormous national notice by reading The Pentagon Papers aloud for three hours in a one-man filibuster during a subcommittee hearing that he had called, finally breaking down in tears. At that time, all the major newspapers had been under court injunctions to stop publishing these documents.

    During his 12-year senatorial term, Mike Gravel worked on issues that are the most important in Alaska’s history—the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act and the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act. He opposed the Magnuson-Stevens Act, which set the 200-mile limit for fisheries, supporting an international approach instead.

    During his 1968 bid for the U.S. Senate, Mr. Gravel changed the way campaigns were run in Alaska forever. Prior to that election, statewide election campaigns focused almost exclusively on Alaska’s cities. Mr. Gravel was the very first to court the state’s rural vote so widely.

    He sought to better the lives of Alaska Natives in rural communities by developing rural education. At that time there were no schools in the villages of rural Alaska. Native children were often sent to public schools in major cities such as Anchorage or Fairbanks, thus totally isolating them from their supportive communities. Thanks to a government bond that Mr. Gravel helped bring about, regional schools were finally built in the outlying villages.

    Many remember Mr. Gravel as a highly creative person, constantly throwing out new ideas and policies. People mocked him in the 1970s for saying that Alaska should not rely on oil for its permanent economy but rather use the wealth to invest in infrastructure for a year-round tourism industry. The local media made fun of his Denali Tent City proposal around Mount Denali, inspired by Olympic Games Village tents.  His proposal for Alaskans to own part of the oil pipeline was laughed at. 

    Today, people are viewing his proposals much more favorably in hindsight.

    Mike Gravel has had a lasting impact on Alaska and unceasingly contributed to projecting the state into the future. He deserves credit for coming up with ideas and pursuing them regardless of the consequences.

    His explanation of this policy, in later life, was: 

    You turn around and throw a rock in the water, and that is the process of doing something with my life, and after I’ve done it, it causes ripples that are never-ending.”

    As a teenager growing up in Alaska in the 1970s, these ripples touched my life forever.

                                                 

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    Upcoming Events

    Wednesday, May 25, 2022 at 06:30 PM Paris Time · 23 rsvps
    Les Nautes in Paris, France

    DAF Diversity Caucus Happy Hour at Les Nautes

    Join the Diversity Caucus for a spring happy hour on the Seine at Les Nautes! Reconnect, re-engage and enjoy the spring weather with Democrats Abroad.

    When: Wednesday, May 25th at 6:30pm

    Where: Les Nautes, 1 Quai des Célestins, 75004

    Metro:  7 to Pont Marie

    Bus: 67 or 72 to Pont Louis Philippe

     

     

    Sunday, May 29, 2022 at 10:00 AM Paris Time
    Wreath Laying Ceremones in Paris , France

    Memorial Day to Honor the Fallen: Laying Wreaths…LEST WE FORGET

    Democrats Abroad France invites you to participate with us in the Memorial Day ceremonies on Sunday, May 29th organized by the American Battle Monuments Commission at the different military cemeteries in remembrance of those who have fallen:  

    • Suresnes 
    • Lafayette Esquadrille Memorial
    • Belleau Woods
    • Oise-Aisne 
    • La Somme
    • St. Avold
    • Epinal 
    • Meuse-Argonne 
    • St. Mihiel 
    • Draguinan/Rhone
    • Normandy and again June 6th. 

    At the Tarn there will be special commemoration ceremonies May 26th-28th honoring the 80th Anniversary of the Founding of the OSS (Office of Strategic Services)—from which the CIA was created in 1947.  The wreath laying by the Toulouse Chapter will be Saturday, May 28th. 

    For times and more information about these ceremonies, please email [email protected] or text: 06 14 16 15 16. 

    We so much appreciate DAF for continuing to perpetuate this tradition and also the members of Democrats Abroad France who will be representing us and laying wreaths. These are very moving events with flyovers and US military bands at some of the ceremonies.