Democratic Primary Debate Watch Events around France

The SECOND DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY DEBATES will be broadcast live from Detroit on CNN July 30 & 31 from 8P Eastern (July 31 & Aug 1 from 2A France). This will be the 2nd of twelve planned Democratic Primary Debates.


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On Our Mind


"If I could save the Union without freeing any slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that."

Abraham Lincoln, August 1862

Although Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, it did not impact slaves in Texas for more than 2 years. In a way it was just a piece of paper with no real substance, no promises or assistance. 

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On Our Mind

Democratic Primary Debates

In just under three weeks, the Democratic Party will officially start down the long road of selecting our candidate for the 2020 presidential election.  

There has been much attention given to the number of candidates (twenty-four) who have announced that they are running to be the Democratic nominee. While campaigning is well-underway, the 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary Debates - organised by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) - have yet to begin. 

From the candidates’ point of view, being on or off the debate stage will determine if they can break out of the large pack of candidates.  From the voters’ point of view, the debates are our opportunity to hear the candidates explain their policy positions and to see them discuss head to head the issues that we care about.

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75th Anniversary of D-Day

On June 6th, 2019, Democrats Abroad France members joined Queen Elizabeth; leaders from France, Canada, UK, Germany, the Netherlands, the US and 10 other countries; along with veterans, families of the fallen and those who wished to honour those who fought and those who gave their lives to protect freedom and democracy to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

This was a momentous occasion to celebrate peace, liberty and reconciliation. Democrats Abroad France was present with a large delegation of members and DA France leaders.

Here are a few moments from this moving and memorable day shared in photos and words.

Connie Borde, DNC member, co-chair of the DA France Women's Caucus and former Chair, writes:

" Rainy weather did not stop 35 of our DAF members to hop on our rented bus in Paris and take off for Normandy in the dark at 5:30 AM on D-Day.  We were duly rewarded with beautiful weather and an unforgettable day spent at the moving Omaha Beach ceremony, a tribute to that moment when compatriotism marked one of the bravest moments in history. 

Presidents Trump and Macron put differences aside and joined in the praise of the remaining veterans of this Normandy battle, and those who lost their lives in it.  The day was spent pondering over the tragedy of war. The ceremony was rich in symbolism and being together in our group was a bonding experience.  

One of our best moments was meeting our Congressional Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and telling her how proud we were of her Democratic leadership.  We returned to Paris with everlasting images of the white crosses and stars of David, the green grass, the blue water of the English Channel and the seemingly unsurmountable beach and cliffs beneath us.  

Indeed, we shall never forget."

Many thanks go to Anna Marie Mattson for putting us in touch with the right military authorities that made this day possible for us.  

From Anna Marie, DA France DPCA Voting Representative, we have these recollections as the day drew to an end:

"Who was this ceremony for?  Our Vets who had come back to say goodbye to their fallen camarades and to remember those who did not come back. The Vets got a standing ovation over and over again.  The 21 gun salute was awesome as were the many flyovers. 

Coming back to Paris was long since we were one of the last buses to arrive so one of the last buses to leave.  We waited for over 4 hours but it was nice weather and we chatted in the sunshine, not venturing far away since we never knew what moment our bus would arrive.

Did we miss our meetings or whatever we had planned Thursday evening?   Perhaps, but I was there to humbly honor the memory so it didn't matter.  Life was sort of put on hold as we stepped back in time, 75 years ago. I cannot even imagine the horrors they faced. I saw the beach today. I saw the ship out there today.  I saw the parachute planes. There is no glory in war, but we wll remember. 

We will never ever forget."




On Our Mind

Photo by Toni Reed


June 28th marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a flashpoint in Gay Rights activism in 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 the culmination of years of efforts by an LGBTQIA+ community seeking equality in the 1950’s and 60’s and inspiration for generations to come.

At a time when LGBTQIA+ rights are under attack in the United States and around the world, the Pride Parades are a way to celebrate these communities and to take a stand for equality, visibility and inclusion.

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Memorial Day 2019

Lest We Forget

Democrats Abroad France participated in wreath-laying ceremonies across France on Sunday, May 26th to remember and honour the soldiers who gave their lives to protect our freedom. 

Fred Hoffman, a Democrats Abroad France member, shared some of his thoughts after attending the ceremony in Suresnes:

"I’ve lived in Paris for 30 years, and this was the first time that I visited the Suresnes Cemetery, and the first time that I attended a wreath-laying ceremony at an American military cemetery in France. I must admit that it was long overdue, and that I was extremely glad that I was able to attend and have this experience. I believe that it is extremely important to continue this tradition of honouring our soldiers who perished defending our country, and also to continue these joint commemorations (USA and France) to demonstrate that the alliance between these 2 countries continues to be strong after all of these years.

This cemetery is located in a very quiet and peaceful area of Suresnes with a magnificent view. It is extremely well-kept and protected. The ceremony was quite well-organised and included many different dignitaries and leaders from local, at-large, military and ex-pat communities. I thought that that there was a very balanced representation of officials.

What also struck me was the diversity of the people attending the ceremony…young and old, military and non-military, a diverse audience of all colors and ethnicities, gay, straight, and a large presence of the Scouts!!

There were many wreaths laid representing many different groups honouring the fallen and unknown soldiers. After the ceremony, the attendees were allowed to roam through the cemetery and lay flowers. It was very peaceful and everyone was respectful of this sacred place. The weather was beautiful, some sun and not too hot, which also made the experience an enjoyable one.

I will end by saying that I was extremely glad that I attended, and am grateful that opportunities like these are proposed by Democrats Abroad. As an ex-pat, it allowed me to participate in a ceremony honouring our military during Memorial Day weekend, even though I was thousands of miles away from the USA. And it also was very touching to see the wonderful collaboration between the American and French military and dignitaries, and the recognition of the Americans contributions to the 2 wars by the French."

* * * * *

Here are photos shared from ceremonies at military cemeteries in Suresnes (Ile de France), Epinal and St. Avoid (Lorraine), Argonne and St Mihiel (Meuse) and St. James in Brittany, as well as the commemoration ceremony held at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

In Paris at the Arc de Triomphe, DA France Chair Ada Shen was accompanied by members and veterans.


At the Suresnes Military Cemetery in Ile de France, DA France Vice Chair Jonathon Holler, accompanied member Beth Herwood. Special thanks to Fred Hoffman for sharing his photos of the day.


Strasbourg Chapter Chair Barbara Wells with former Chair Susan Vaillant at Epinal and Chapter Vice Chair Patrick Ganne at the St. Avoid Cemetery.


Voting Representative Anna Marie Mattson with service men and women and veterans at the Meuse Argonne and St Mihiel Cemeteries.


A wreath from Democrats Abroad France Brittany Chapter was among the many wreaths at St. James in Brittany.




Thank you to Anna Marie Mattson, DAFrance Voting Representative, who organised our participation in the many events that took place today. Our participation in these wreath-laying ceremonies is an important and moving tradition for Democrats Abroad France each year. 🇺🇸

On Our Mind

Photo by Valentino Funghi

Memorial Day: Remember and Honor

Often conflated with Veterans Day, which pays tribute to military veterans every November 11thMemorial Day is the day we honor the women and men who died while serving in the US Armed Forces in all wars. This year Memorial Day falls on Monday, May 27th.

There are some things that Gold Star families want you to know this Memorial Day. From the Military Times,

"In today's world, some think Memorial Day is solely dedicated to the fallen from decades-old wars...'Freedom is not free,' and in our post 9/11 world, personal freedoms can't be taken for granted.  All currently serving military personnel contribute in some way to protecting our freedoms; some pay dearly. Memorial Day is for honouring those who have recently died, too." 

Naturally, the commemoration of the 75thanniversary of the D-Day Landings in Normandy on June 6th will dominate military tributes this year. But you may want to pay your respects in advance of that by participating in one of the Memorial Day wreath laying ceremonies being held on May 26th by Democrats Abroad France - Paris, Riviera, and Strasbourg chapters.  Other Memorial Day events hosted by DA France are noted below.*

If getting to the nearest American cemetery isn’t convenient, you can also pay your respects with a bit of silence - a national moment of remembrance that takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time (CET) every year on Memorial Day.

The origins of Memorial Day, initially called Decoration Day, date back to the Civil War - where the custom of decorating the graves of lost soldiers began.  Its date (formally May 30th although always recognized at the end of May) was chosen expressly because it wasn’t associated with a specific battle. It became an official holiday in 1971.  

Progress takes time...



* Democrats Abroad France chapters will hold 75th anniversary events on June 2nd in Normandy and June 1st and 2nd in Toulouse.  On June 6th, Democrats Abroad France will join in the commemoration at the American Cemetery in Normandy.  If you are in Brittany, there is a Memorial Day cocktail on May 29th.

2019 DPCA Global Meeting: Days 3 & 4

Photo by Ameer Basheer

DAYS 3 & 4:

Day 3 of the Global DPCA meeting was a combination of discussing the DPCA By-laws and inspirational visits (live and virtual) from a number of presidential candidates.

Guest speaker, Marianne Williamson, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Presidential election impressed the group with her live speech. Other candidates who visited virtually with strong messages for Democrats Abroad were Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Cory Booker and Bernie Sanders.  Invitations were extended to the entire field of Democratic candidates to join us in Washington, DC. Overall, our take-away is that the candidates understand the importance of the votes of overseas American and the vital role that Democrats Abroad plays in getting out the vote.

To cap off the day, Democrats Abroad Canada was selected to host our global convention next May, in the great city of Toronto -- when we vote to adopt our party platform and decide who will represent us at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

Day 4 featured the traditional door-knock visits on “The Hill.” Over sixty Democrats Abroad members met with Congress members to advocate for the 9 million Americans abroad of issues of voter protection, taxation, healthcare and immigration.  

A total of 32 discussions were scheduled, including visits with staffers for Representatives David Price (NC-4), Rosa Delauro (CT-3), Donna Shalala (FL-27), Joseph Kennedy (MA-04), Lucy McBath (GA-6) and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07); as well as Senators Tammy Duckworth (IL), Chris Van Hollen (MD), Ben Cardin (MA-03), Bob Casey (PA), Jacky Rosen (NV).  Some DA-ers couldn’t resist taking a peak at the offices of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar.

And, THAT is a wrap for the 2019 DPCA Global Meeting.  

Next year we’ll see you in Toronto when Democrats Abroad Canada hosts the 2020 Global DPCA Meeting!



2019 DPCA Global Meeting: Day 2

DAY 2:

Saturday was a full day at the DPCA Global Meeting.

The day was kicked off by an informative meeting with Special Guest speaker DNC Vice Chair Jason Rae - who flew in from Milwaukee to address Democrats Abroad and thank us for our work. A key theme of Jason’s presentation was developing grassroots efforts (the DNC is on the ground NOW), an open delegate selection process, involving corps of youth volunteers to get out the vote and transparency from the DNC to all Democrats.


After much discussion, Democrats Abroad passed a resolution endorsing Medicare For All.  

Committees and Caucuses:

Presentations from many of the DA committees and caucuses -   including the Global Women’s Caucus, the Global Black, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) committee (“do it for Ruth”), and the LGBTQ+ Caucus, Progressive Caucus - spoke about their activities and thanked the dedication of the volunteers who work hard to make everything happen.  

Would you like to know more about these Caucuses and Committees?  We have uploaded their presentations from the meeting so that you can take a look!  For information regarding these and other DA global caucuses and to join, go to our website.

Two highlights to finish off the day:

Election of the 2019/2020 Democrats Abroad Global Leadership Team:

  • International Chair - Julia Bryan -- Czech Republic
  • International Vice Chair - Alex Montgomery -- Hong Kong
  • International Treasurer - Lissette Wright -- Canada
  • International Secretary - Jeffrey Cheng -- Sweden
  • International Legal Counsel - Joe Smallhoover -- France

A detailed overview of the planning for 2019 and 2020 was given by Global Communications Director, Amanda Mohar, including the Global Delegate Selection Plan, Global Primary Process, and the roll-out of our Get Out The Vote (GOTV) and Communications programs.  Lots to do in the 18 months between now and November 2020!  We will all be working hard to make the Blue Wave 2020 happen!

This is the full delegation of DA France members attending the DA Global Meeting in Washington D.C. this weekend. Ada Shen, seated is the Chair of DAF. Joe Smallhoover was elected as International Counsel of DA. Connie Borde is a DA DNC member. Meaghan Lopez is Vice Chair of the new Paris Chapter. Salli Swartz is stepping down as Counsel to DAF. Alex Rehbinder is a newly-elected Voting Representative. Meredith Wheeler is the newly elected Vice Chair.


2019 DPCA Global Meeting

Democrats Abroad is holding its 2019 Global Meeting from May 17-19 in Washington, D.C. We will discuss charter amendments and resolutions; run training sessions with local experts and Democrats Abroad field volunteers; and hold our biennial DPCA executive committee elections. In addition, there will be regional meetings to elect Regional Vice Chairs and conduct other business.

The agenda includes talks with Democratic Party leaders, both elected officials and members of the Democratic National Committee.

Following the meetings, on May 20-21, we will hold our Democrats Abroad "door-knock" with meetings with Representatives and Senators as well as relevant US federal government agencies.

DAY 1:

After the call to order, we had the pleasure of welcoming Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), who is also running to be our 2020 Democratic presidential nominee.  Senator Gillibrand shared her inspirational views on healthcare, the Green New Deal and how to effect change in our government.

Guest speakers also included Alabama Senator Doug Jones, who addressed the anti-abortion bill recently signed into law in his home state.  According to Senator Jones, "This extreme anti-abortion bill that is happening in the Alabama legislature is not a product of the will of the people, but a product of gerrymandering. I do not believe this bill reflects where the majority of people are at in Alabama. But this is a big part of the fight for Democrats going forward. I do believe there is more that unites us than divides us across America. We need to look for more opportunities to get us all moving in the right direction, and we need your help from Democrats Abroad."

DA Finland was admitted as an official Country Committee, Resolutions were voted on and guest speakers Frank Leone and Jeffrey Weaver presented a video from Senator Bernie Sanders (VT), who is also running to lead the Democratic ticket in 2020.  We topped off a busy day with a gala reception and dinner.  Special guest DNC CEO, Seema Nanda, spoke on the subject of cyber-security for the upcoming elections.

Attending from DA France: Chair - Ada Shen, Vice Chair - Meredith Wheeler, Vice Chair (Paris Chapter) - Meagan Lopez, DNC member and co-chair DA France Women's Caucus- Connie Borde, Voting Representative - Alex Rehbinder, Former Chair - Joe Smallhoover, Former Executive Vice Chair - Salli Swartz, Member - Kaitlin Marie Hickey

Watch this space for news of DAY 2!