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Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month, whose roots go back to 1968, begins each year on September 15th, the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Whatever the current political climate and the desire to build huge walls, immigration has always played an important role in the history of the United States. And Latinos in particular are not becoming Americans like the immigrants who came before them... They have always been neighbours and share a long history with the U.S.

Until recently, Hispanic Americans were the fastest growing minority group in the United States, accounting for over half (54%) of the overall population growth in the US since 2000.  By 2035, Latinos will represent 35% of the U.S. population. 

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Meet our National Leadership Team - Max Dunitz

It is Meet the Team Monday!  Today, we continue our blog series with an interview with our National Database/IT Manager - Max Dunitz.

About Max:

Max Dunitz is the National Database / IT Manager for Democrats Abroad France (DAF), where he synthesizes voter engagement efforts and IT support.

After arriving in Paris to pursue graduate studies in applied math at ENS Paris-Saclay, Max joined the DAF Youth Caucus and helped create a Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) infrastructure for our phone banking campaigns.

The week before moving to France, I was asked to sign up for next week's shift after canvassing and panicked, so I reached out to DA France leaders to see how I could help boost midterm turnout from France,” explained Max. “I found it very easy to get involved; DA France is very active, and the leadership was able to help me find ways to harness my election jitters into a productive force for boosting turnout.” 

Prior to joining DAF, Max wrote software to help local activist groups text volunteers and make their phone banking events more accessible, and he created a web database to help volunteers turnout Democrats living in Hong Kong. 

As an avid volunteer, Max has “performed just about every task at a Democratic field office.” He has held leadership positions in progressive activist groups such as Fossil Free MIT, Sunrise Boston, and Cambridge Area Stronger Together.

“Although I prefer campaigning to sitting in front of a computer, I am always happy to put my computer science degrees to use for a good cause!” 

Now, on to Max’s fun facts:

  • He votes in Michigan.
  • His top 3 issue areas are climate change action, progressive foreign policy, and criminal justice reform.
  • His first political memory was “being less interested in the viral Jib-Jab videos than the policy stakes of the 2004 election.
  • If he were President for a day, he would pack the courts and give D.C. statehood. 

And when asked who his favorite political icon was, Max responded: 

“Not to be all Time-in-2006, but YOU! The practice of politics involves not personalities but...practice. Call your reps, attend meetings, talk to your neighbors, canvass, phonebank, text, write postcards, bake delicious snacks for volunteers, clean the field office, work spreadsheets, demonstrate, and RUN FOR OFFICE. As José Mujica, a politician who is quite the icon, said, power comes not from above but from the hearts of the masses.

Ashley Bennett, a county legislator in New Jersey, was not a politician until she saw a sexist Facebook post from the incumbent and decided to show that her rep did not reflect her community's values by winning his seat. Few of us can make the time to run for office. The volunteers who powered Ashley's victory are as much of a politician as she is, and their stories are every bit as inspiring.

Trump is a danger to the republic, and ordinary people--particularly, middle-aged women--are responding to this assault on our institutions, conscience, and sanity by getting involved in ways big and small, and that's far more inspiring than any great orator can ever be.”

 

 


Meet our National Leadership Team - Ada Shen

We thought that it would be helpful to introduce our members and friends to the Democrats Abroad France National Leadership Team.  Today, we start with our National Chair, Ada Shen.

About Ada:

Ada Shen is the National Chair of Democrats Abroad France (DAF),where she leads the national strategy for mobilizing the overseas vote to elect Democrats.

Ada has been contributing to the success of Democrats Abroad (DA) for over 12 years. Originally from California, she initially became involved with DA from Beijing, China in 2007 “as part of a group of folks fired up to take back the White House.” She eventually went on to help found the DA China committee. 

“Some of my favorite moments were watching Obama win Ohio in 2008; Obama's surprise win in Florida in 2012,” she explained. “In 2016, a man walked in to our voter registration event announcing that although he was a lifelong Republican and had been a field director for Romney in 2012, he was there to register and vote for Hillary. We became friends, and are still friends to this day."

In 2017, Ada and her husband Emmanuel, a French national, moved to Paris. Prior to being elected Chair in May 2019, Ada served as DAF’s “Get Out The Vote” (GOTV) Officer and Database/IT Officer, where she grew voter engagement and participation dramatically by reaching out to the groundswell of those who rose up in the aftermath of 2016 – within DA France and its Caucuses (Youth, Women’s and Diversity), with fellow activist organisations (PAGE, Indivisibles, Our Revolution), and across DA France Chapters. 

Under Shen’s leadership, DA France expanded its phone-banking initiatives, SMS and postcard campaigns; voter registration at protests, rallies and special events; hosted voter outreach on campuses and in the community throughout the fall — and connected it to the social media conversation.

Now, on to some fun facts about Ada:

  • Her favorite political icon is Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
  • Her top 3 issue areas are climate change, healthcare reform (and women's reproductive choice), and common sense gun reform.
  • Her first political memory was “either President Ford falling down some airplane stairs or it was Chevy Chase as President Ford falling down some airplane stairs …”

And, when asked what she would do if she were President of the United States for a day, she responded: 

“If I was an imaginary magical unicorn President for a day, I would like Thanos-snap my fingers and undo all the damage Trump has done for the last 2.542 years (928 days, 22 hours, and 43 minutes) since he took office. But I'm not a magical unicorn President, and we are not going to get one, so instead as a Nation, a People, and a Party, we are going to have to roll up our sleeves and get to work, to take our country back and set things right — not only to save our Republic, but to truly make it as great. This is why we are Democrats, and we will do our part to this end as DA France.”


Third Democratic Debate: Watch Events around France

The THIRD DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY DEBATES will be broadcast live from Houston, Texas on ABC.  The debate will air September 12 from 8P Eastern Time (September 13 from 2am in France). This will be the third of twelve planned Democratic Primary Debates.

For more information on this debate from ABC, click on this link to their website.

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More on the DNC Summer Meeting: Climate Change Resolution

The Climate Crisis and how the Democratic Presidential candidates would address this critical issue is getting much attention.

At the DNC summer meeting in San Francisco where our eight Democrats Abroad DNC representatives were present, this issue was taken up and passionately debated....

From Connie Borde, DNC Representative and former Chair DA France:

"A most important take-away from this 2019 DNC meeting was the impassioned debate on Climate Change, and the amount of resistance and activism that has forced the subject to the fore of this whole election period:  Green New Deal, Sunrise and many more groups brought convincing arguments to the DNC meeting for a Single-Issue, stand-alone Debate Resolution on Climate Change.

Our DNC team agreed to add their names to the Resolution.  After long and multi-faceted debate, this Resolution was voted down - to the dismay of the Climate Change advocates Nonetheless it was far from a lose/lose for the climate change people who got some win out of the controversy: the creation of a Climate Change Council, and several Resolutions to guarantee Climate Change would play an essential part in the upcoming Debates."

Interested in this critical issue? 

  • CNN hosted a "Climate Crisis Town Hall" on Wednesday, Sept. 4 in New York City. The network invited those candidates who meet the Democratic National Committee’s polling threshold for the September primary debate, which required them to reach 2% or more in four approved polls by Aug. 28.  Here is a link to see the hightlights!

Also,

  • MSNBC has announced that it is co-hosting the two-day Climate Forum 2020, to be held at Georgetown University Sept. 19-20. All declared presidential candidates from both parties will be invited to speak to young voters about climate change in the town hall-style forum, co-hosted by The Institute of Politics and Public Service at Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy and Our Daily Planet, an independent environmental news organization.

 

“Resolutions" never drew such a crowd!


DA Representatives at the DNC Summer Meeting

Report from Connie Borde, DNC Representative and former DA France Chair

DA DNC Representatives with Senator Corey Booker (NJ): (from left to right) Ken Sherman, Martha McDevitt-Pugh, DA Global Vice Chair Alex Montgomery, DA Global Chair Julia Bryan, Senator Corey Booker, Constance Borde, Orlando Vidal, John Eastwood, and Adrianne George.

Mid-August and the Democrats Abroad DNC team made its way from various parts of the world to San Francisco to attend the summer meeting of the Democratic National Committee. (August 22-25). This important and exciting meeting was the last General Assembly before we all head to Milwaukee, WI in summer 2020 for the Democratic National Convention.

We eight DNC members nostalgically recalled our first meeting in 2016 when Tom Perez, newly elected Chair of the DNC, pledged to make the Democratic Party the “party of the people” and the party of unity.   Today we look back to what seems like yesterday, and we unanimously concur that Chair Perez has achieved his promise. And it couldn’t come at a more urgent time, one of the most critical political moments in American History.

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CLOSE THE CAMPS - A CALL TO ACTION

On July 12th, “Lights For Liberty” became the latest movement to demand a more humane and just US immigration policy, and to end the politics of fear and cruelty promoted by the Trump Administration. In the US and around the world, thousands gathered in protest in front of detention camps, in public vigils, or showed support on social media via a virtual vigil by lighting candles in recognition of the inhumane conditions under which immigrants are being held in detention within the US, and to demand that the US government #CloseTheCamps.  

The pointless policy of cruelty of family separations — the youngest child only 4 months old —  which began two years ago has not ended. This shameful President continues to lie about it. This is a manufactured humanitarian crisis, one that has not made America safer, has done nothing to fix our broken immigration system, and which treats as criminals some of the most vulnerable people in the world: refugees. 

The vigils and protests of last Friday are over.  The nightmare that these detained immigrants are living each and every day has not ended.  We were visible on July 12th and we need to stay visible. We cannot look away.  

Here is a concrete action that we all can take: 

  • Call your Members of Congress:

Use this script to contact your Senators and your Representative. We are asking that they close the camps; stop funding for detention and deportation; and to right the wrongs that have been committed against these immigrants and refugees.

In 2020, we all need to vote to take back the White House, to take back the Senate, to keep the House… and to win as many state and local elections as possible. Only then can we end this nightmare. Please join Democrats Abroad, and encourage your American friends who live abroad to join DA as well. Stay tuned as we continue to fight the good fight.

Continue reading to see photos of our DAFrance vigils and our own giant collage of images gathered from social media.

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Join the Lights for Liberty Vigils in France - July 12th

In solidarity with Lights for Liberty, Democrats Abroad France will hold live and virtual vigils on July 12th, 2019 when mass gatherings will take place at detention centers and in local communities across the US.

We abhor, repudiate and protest the policies of the current administration that have lead to the inhumane conditions under which immigrants and refugees (including children separated from their caregivers) are being held in the United States of America.

WHAT IS LIGHTS FOR LIBERTY?

"We are a coalition of people, many of whom are mothers, dedicated to human rights, and the fundamental principle behind democracy that all human beings have a right to life, liberty and dignity.

We are partnering with international, national, regional and local communities and organizations who believe that these fundamental rights are not negotiable and are willing to protect them."

PARTICIPATE IN ONE OF THE LIVE VIGILS BEING HELD ACROSS FRANCE:

LYON

PARIS

STRASBOURG

TOULOUSE

 

CALL CONGRESS!

Use this script to contact your Senators and your Congressperson --> You will also find links to know who are your members of Congress and how to contact them.

Read more for information on joining our global virtual vigil!

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FIRST Democratic Primary Debate Watch Events

On June 26 & 27, twenty Democratic Presidential Candidates participated in the FIRST Democratic Primary Debate over two consecutive evenings in Miami, Florida.  

Here in France, Democrats Abroad members and friends came to join us for 11 different Debate Watch events on June 27, 28 and 29 in Bordeaux, Grenoble, Lyon, Paris and Strasbourg.  

The stakes are high for the 2020 presidential election. Democrats around the world are closely listening to what the candidates and saying...and are watching how they are saying it. These debate watch events - which were shown via replay - allowed Democrats living in France to view the debate in its unedited version and to discuss with other Americans in real time.

Overall, the turnout was terrific. The events were fun and relaxed - a chance to meet fellow Americans, to play Debate Night BINGO, to have a cool drink or to grab a bite to eat afterwards.

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On Our Mind

Fifty Years of Pride

June 28th marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a flashpoint in Gay Rights activism that took place in Greenwich Village, New York City. What happened in the early hours of June 28th at the Stonewall Inn and the days that followed were by no means a stand-alone event - but rather the culmination of years of efforts by an LGBTQ community seeking equality in the 1950’s and 60’s and inspiration for generations to come.

“The events at Stonewall inspired a new generation of LGBTQ people to become involved in politics personally and passionately, transforming the United States and the world. In many of the popular narratives of Stonewall this is what gets left out. We are given Stonewall as the start of LGBTQ politics and then Marriage Equality as its end, leaving out the decades of grassroots political activism that made these transformations possible, as well as the many struggles that continue today — and the work that may be further inspired by the memories of Stonewall, as preserved in LGBTQ archives and the birth of the Gay Pride movement around the world.” 50 Years After Stonewall... (Time Magazine, April 30, 2019)

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