News

4th of July Report from Athens and Thessaloniki Chapters

Watching the Fireworks in Athens

Prompt: DAGR has an Athens Chapter and a Thessaloniki Chapter.
Response: Oh, has it got TWO chapters, then?
~ paraphrasing the Grivas companion to Access to English, Book 2, Oxford Univ. Press...

Thessaloniki Chapter drew a good turnout for its 2nd year in a row. The northern celebration is smaller than Athens, less scripted, supported by potluck offerings and more open to simple socializing with a strong shot of political discussion. This year, ThessChap reports the focus was on how they’ll Get Out The Vote in the north lands. Under consideration is lending support to registering the healthy contingent of Study Abroad students expected to arrive in September.

Kudos to ChapChair and Rep, Anna Vasilliou and Peter Baiter, for the BBQ put on in Peter’s garden. And thanks to Dimitris Chriss for the donated portion of Vergina Beer and Tuvunu to ThessChap as well as AthChap.

AthChap traditionally has a much larger event, primarily because DAGR was started in Athens, and grew word-of-mouth, friend-to-friend for a decade or so before ThessChap was formed. That’s okay, and tomorrow ThessChap will double and other city chapters will spring up. Disclaimers aside … on to Athens.

Over 130 Athens Chapter members, friends, family and young ones, gathered at ENOA again this year for food, fun and and fireworks to celebrate the nation’s birthday.

Grim realities that made some feel less than celebratory were put to work. Don’t like what you see? Change it! (BTW, have we mentioned Register, Vote, November?) This is what Democracy looks like!

Selfies and a petition to replace 45’s brutal, pandering-to-base, zero-tolerance immigration policies with effective, humane practices set the theme. The petition is to be sent on to DA global, hopefully to be passed on to DNC. If you’d like to add your John Hancock, reply on this email and we’ll get it to you.

The political message was reinforced by the flower-bordered Wall piñata, and small Dems bashed it to pieces. It wasn’t easy! But the rewards were many! Let the children inspire us!

We had great support this year from Omar Alshamy and the ENOA kitchen and grounds crews. Again, we had solid help from our accounting firm, CompuTax, in filing and pushing through one of two VAT exemptions offered to non-profit associations by the Greek Tax Service.

Still, success depends on hard-working volunteers. So a round of applause for:

Early planning: Nikki Fellouris, Marion Kavallieros, and ExCom. Sign-in and ticketing: Charity Moschopoulos, Nick Loisos, Anna Haughton, Stacey Papaioannou. Decorations: Marion Kavallieros. Food Service: Steve Medeiros, Fern Velentzes, Jimmy Katsinis, Zoe Loukopoulos. Beverage Service: Kristin, Iannis and Annalie Zissis. Microphone: Kate Wattles. Promotions: Christina Manning. Selfies Help: Karine Ancelin. Piñata and Lemonade: Sarajane Leone, Charity Moschopoulos, Jai Salvador, Elizabeth Fullerton, Popi Stratis, Kristin Zissis, Annalie Zissis, Karen Lee. Piñata bashing mgrs: Jai Salvador, Christina Lewis, Emma Hensley. Annalie Zissis (capped the final blow!) Declaration History: Vasilios Gikas; read by Steve Medeiros. Declaration Text: read by Emma Hensley. Pyrotechnics: Brady Kiesling and 2 brave young guests of John Lewis. Donations: Site rent, fireworks, beer and mountain tea, lemonade, ice, watermelons, cupcakes, zucchini bread, DJ/playlist and singer, piñata materials, plus €60 in cash donations.

Again this year, we put up a feedback form for AthChap attendees and want to thank the 17 who have taken time to share thoughts and suggestions for next year.

More photos on Democrats Abroad Greece and Democrats Abroad Greece-Thessaloniki Facebook pages.

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BBQ to Celebrate the 4th in Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki:
Wednesday, July 4
8-11 p.m.
BBQ in Peter’s garden in Pilea

Casual -- read, political -- chat around the grill. Peter gets the dogs. A Vergina friend sends the suds. Potluck salads, hot dogs and desserts while seeing old friends and meeting new ones. 

RSVP by noon, Monday, July 3

NB: If you have friends who aren’t members but who would like to be, we’ll have forms they can fill out and/or information about how to join online. It’s a good idea to have them bring their US passport!

For general information:
Email Info-GR-Thessaloniki@democratsabroad.org
OR
Call Chapter Chair Anna Vassiliou at 694 421 5298 or Chapter Rep Peter Baiter at 694 743 8773

Join us for a wonderful Fourth of July!

Anna and Peter

For Democrats Abroad Greece Thessaloniki Chapter 2017-19

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4th of July Celebrated in Greece!

U.S. INDEPENDENCE DAY

Celebrate at the Beach!
With Democrats Abroad Greece (DAGR)
Athens Chapter

 

INVITED:  All American citizens in Greece, family and friends of any nationality

DATE:     Wednesday, July 4, 2018

TIME:      8:00 to 11:00 pm (20:00 to 23:00)

PLACE:  Nautical Club of Egyptian Greeks (ENOA), Ellinikon

See directions, map link below

FOJ_2017_nlezu3.jpg

RSVP by noon, Monday, July 2! 

Gate opens at 8 - Food service begins at 8 - Fireworks at 10:00 - Dancing till drop or 11-ish

Early swimming option and beach volley

Voter Registration and Ballot Request Assistance!!

Pinata and face painting for the young (at heart)

Table competition - Snarky State-by-State Challenge

Straw Poll - Top 2018 Issues

Young Dems meet-up for tweens to 20s

Silent Auction

Medley of American music throughout

Fireworks!

Donation:

Meal ticket €15 – Choice of hotdog, hamburger, or vegetarian falafel plate

(Split a plate for two medium-hungry kids or feed toddlers from yours)

Includes:

First beverage - your choice!

Corn-on-the-cob

Greek-style potato salad, coleslaw and tossed green salad

Watermelon

Extras: 2nd-3rd-nth drink: beer, wine, €2; our famous lemonade, mountain tea, soft drinks, €1

NB: Donations may only be received from US citizens. Please bring your US passport!

For general information:

Email us at Info@democratsabroad.org/gr

Join us for a wonderful Fourth of July!
Democrats Abroad Greece, Athens Chapter  

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How to Get There: (look for the over-road footbridge!)

By Car – Seawards off Leoforos Poseidonos at 2nd Agh. Kosmas tram stop (left between 2nd and 1st Agh. Kosmas bus stops to loop back, if coming from Sounion).
Follow the winding road almost to the end (Akrotiri). Parking!

And let us know if you need or are willing to form a carpool!

By Bus – 2nd Agh. Kosmas bus stop. Walk down the winding road toward the sea.

By Tram –2nd Agh Kosmas tram stop. Metro connects with tram near Syntagma and at several other stations along the route.

Map on ENOA Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/ENOA/201331406586376

DA Greece
http://www.democratsabroad.org/

 

 

Thessaloniki:
Wednesday, July 4, 2018
8-11 p.m. 
BBQ in Peter’s garden

Casual -- read, political -- chat around the grill. Peter gets the dogs. A Vergina friend sends the suds. And potluck salads and desserts seem unstoppable. Watch for the invitation with details, next week in the inbox!

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Pride Festival and Parade

Saturday, June 09, 2018 at 11:00 AM

Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece

For the fourth year in a row, Democrats Abroad Greece, will be supporting the LGBTQ community at Athens Pride 2018, which will take place on June 9, 2018, in Athens' Syntagma Square.

DAGR will sponsor an information and GOTV (Voter Registration for US citizens abroad) booth, from 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. on that day. DAGR members will also march behind the DAGR banner in the Pride parade in the evening. DAGR members are encouraged to volunteer to staff the booth in 2-3-hour shifts throughout the day (11-2; 2-5; 5-8), and to join us in the parade. About 15 DAGR members joined us for last year's parade. We'd like to double that number this year.

Interested in volunteering?

Contact: Steve Medeiros -
DAGR Vice Chair
DA LGBTQ Caucus member
via email: stevenmedeiros111@gmail.com
SMS at 694 811 9121


Vigils for Parkland’s 17 and the Virtual March in Greece

In Athens, a Candlelight Vigil held on the steps of Constitution Square, for the 17 victims of the Parkland Florida school shooting, echoed the school walkouts that occurred across the US on March 14th.

Democrats Abroad Greece (DAGR) honored the students and teachers killed on February 14th in Parkland, Florida, victims of another mass school shooting. DAGR joined the groundswell across the globe to push US legislators to better regulate the sale and licensing of guns in the USA. As 17 candles were lit, the names of those gunned down on February 14th, were recited and DAGR members and onlookers huddled around the vigil.

DAGR Chairperson Karen Lee stated: "We're turned our attention from grief to honoring the dead, demanding effective political action to achieve common-sense gun regulation in the US." She added "This is an American problem that will require action by US politicians, but we welcomed any of our friends here who wanted to show their support for our effort."

On March 24th, DAGR staged a Virtual March on their FaceBook and Twitter accounts with the hashtag #MarchForOurLives and #MarchForOurLivesGreece asking members and friends to post their selfies with signs they would carry in an actual March. A few members met at DAGR HQ, while another small gathering took place at L’Ovelha Negra in Moschato suburb, with performance by local musicians.

Although DAGR enthusiastically supported a ‘live’ March For Our Lives, organizers opted for virtual. The march had been set globally for the day before Greek Independence Day, THE MAJOR NATIONAL holiday with patriotic marches and security issues in Athens and Thessaloniki, both on March 24th and March 25th.

For the virtual march, participants posted selfies with signs demanding better gun regulation from US lawmakers. Members were also encouraged to register from abroad and request their absentee ballots for the upcoming midterms and to contact their members of congress with their views on gun control.

 


DAGR Annual General Meeting - 2018

The luncheon meeting, held at Hermeion restaurant in Athens and online via WebEx, was quorate plus six guests. Three amendments to the DAGR Bylaws were approved by members voting at the 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM), March 4.

  Bylaws amendments

The more controversial amendment set in place a mechanism for dealing with ‘sexual harassment,’ including verbal bullying, among members. That is, it specifically disallows harassment based on gender among board (ExCom), volunteers and general membership and requires ExCom to deal with any complaints received. This amendment was encouraged by global DA, after passage of a similar amendment to the DA Code of Conduct. This amendment was passed with two dissenting votes.

Two other short amendments concerned dates. One tweaked the days ballots are sent in advance of an AGM/election of officers, when mail or electronic vote is used. This brings our date in line with global DA guidance. The other specified that the DAGR AGM in local election years is to be held by 31 January, starting in 2019. This is two months earlier than the previous date, March 31, which may still be observed in even-numbered years. It was proposed in order to minimize the period the bank account is ‘frozen’ at year’s end, until newly elected ‘responsible persons’ are documented to the bank. These amendments were approved unanimously.

  Two guest speakers

On the program, Leonidas Gontzes, Associate Dean and instructor of History, Government & Politics, and International Relations, Empire State College, SUNY, led a lively discussion on “Who Americans Vote For Affects the Whole World!” Gontzes brought four of his students – one Greek, two other Europeans, one African – who expressed their positive impression of our transparency and member engagement.

An unexpected bonus was a visit by Rhode Island State Senator Leonidas P. Raptakis, on his way back from the Delphi Economic Forum. After brief remarks on state politics and Dem prospects November, he fielded questions and comments. Raptakis sits on the Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee and is vice chair of the Rhode Island Senate Committee on Special Legislation & Veterans' Affairs.

  Notes for next year

Overall, this was a warm, lively – and tasty – Sunday luncheon. Is Sunday preferable to a weeknight? Feedback is needed. Our WebEx connection was slightly better than last year’s, but still had audio problems. These arise from connecting our limited equipment into (random) venues’ systems, distance to WIFI hubs, as well as possible interference from nearby WIFI. Dedicated equipment may be a solution. The goal is to make the AGM available and convenient, so as many members as possible can participate!

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Women’s March on Washington in Athens: January 21st

                                             A SIMPLE MARCH THAT SNOWBALLED INTO A MOVEMENT

A few hundred or so participants gathered on the steps of historic Constitution Square in central Athens Greece with a backdrop of the parliament building to celebrate the anniversary of the Women’s March on Washington 2018 on Sunday, January 21st.

A handful of speakers made statements, read poetry and offered inspiration. Many participants wore black, showing solidarity for the #metoo movement. The march in Athens was co-organized by Democrats Abroad Women’s Caucus and the Women’s March Athens, an independent group of international and Greek residents.

Coming together across seven continents – and in Greece – participants took a stand for a world that is equitable, tolerant, just and safe for all; January 21st, marked the one-year anniversary of the 2017 Women’s March on Washington.

Last year, in the largest joint demonstration in history, women and men, of all backgrounds, ages, and races, came together, 5 million strong. The Women’s March on Washington became an organic groundswell the day after the 2016 election, when a grandmother in Hawaii proposed to 40 of her friends to go march in Washington, D.C. The issues they raised, however, were not limited to the US, and the idea quickly grew into a movement with “sister marches” across the US and around the world.

The march was a proactive international movement to defend women's rights and those of others in response to the rising rhetoric of far-right populism around the world. The march is committed to equality, diversity, and inclusion.

In Athens, the 2018 Women’s March began at 4 p.m. in Syntagma Square. The broad 2018 theme was “Look Back, March Ahead,” focusing on human rights. Globally, Democrats Abroad followed a theme of “March to the Ballot Box” and efforts to encourage Americans outside the US to register and vote.

Athens organizers decided on “Together We Rise” to emphasize the common interest Greeks and foreigners, women and men, have in a world in which the human rights and dignity of each person are protected and our planet is safe from destruction.

Karen Lee, Chairperson of DAGR, co-organizers of the march, said, “Blatant misogyny sent American women into the streets last year. This year, it’s determination that drives us. I think women everywhere have seen how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go. But we’re awake now, we’re talking, engaging, informing ourselves. When women have full parity, others get it, too. So, today, we march in solidarity for human rights for all; tomorrow, we vote. And then we do it again the next year. We’re not going back.”

Maria Kostaki, of Women’s March Athens, said the local slogan, “‘Together we Rise,’ reminds everyone that it is up to us to do our part….and make our voices heard as one.”

Kostaki added, “Last year, shocked by what the election of Donald Trump meant for the world, I scrambled to organize the sister march of the Women’s March on Washington here in Athens. This year, I continue to participate because one single protest does not make a movement, it does not create change. The effort is ongoing, constant, even when we are not gathering in protest to voice our demands as humans. My aim is to get more of the Greeks to join us this year, as this is not about the United States, it’s about women’s rights, human rights, all over the world.”

Several speakers addressed the crowd on the steps of Constitution Square before they took the march to streets, chanting, waving banners and holding signs high in the air.


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DAGR Elects Treasurer in January Special Election

A vacancy in the office of the Treasurer for Democrats Abroad Greece (DAGR) in early November of 2017 mandated a special election. Members of DAGR were notified according to protocol of a special election, held electronically.

In early January, Nicholas Loisos, who has served as both a writer for articles published in DAGR’s newsletter, as well as IT aficionado for WebEx and any number of computer issues requiring expertise, easily waded into the office of Treasurer. Numbers and computing are his forte, so he was a natural.

Navigating numbers and his quest to finalize establishing a Greek bank account became priorities. To date, DAGR has an official bank account with Eurobank so that members can easily conduct financial transactions on-line or via the bank in person. This will make events so much more streamlined for all the members as payments can be made in advance for events as opposed to waiting in line to make a cash exchange. And receiving donations will be much more easily enabled!

Nick is a native of New York, a California voter but has lived, studied and worked in a variety of locales in the USA and Europe. He presently resides in Athens full-time.

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Thanksgiving Luncheon in Athens

                                                                                                                                    Democrats Abroad Greece

                                                                                                                                               Athens Chapter
                                                                                               will be celebrating Thanksgiving on Sunday November 26th

It’s FALL, y’all! And that means it’s time to
enjoy indoor time with friends over great food
and maybe even “talk a little turkey!”

Guest Speaker: Sophia Kouvelaki
Executive Director, The Home Project, Athens
Providing housing and services
for unaccompanied minors who are refugees

Holiday Recipe Contest Winner TBA – Have you sent yours in yet?

Turkey-of-the-Year pick is preparing for plucking

Friends and family are welcome to this holiday that celebrates immigration so beautifully with thanks and appreciation for bridging cultures. Bring Yiayia and Papou, the kids and your Greek friends as well. No time like the present to be inclusive by example.

The menu is full of delightful dishes and the program will tickle your turkey bone!

Served Family Style the menu includes: homemade breads, green salad with pomegranate walnuts, turkey with pine nut dressing, (vegetarian option—Spanakopita), sweet potato puree, scalloped corn and cranberry sauce, red or white wine in a carafe for 4, soft drinks, and pumpkin pie with raisins.

€25 per person, including VAT
Tips will be collected separately.

15 Pandrosou and 7 Mnisikleous
MONASTIRAKI
Map Link

PLEASE RSVP by Wednesday, November 22nd 9 pm

RSVP HERE!

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf6cmiuT6NJyuJZ5uxGiggTZY-YpDTvlmNWkIu7PvDj6uk6pw/viewform?usp=sf_link

Just complete the RSVP form and hit the Submit button at the bottom.

Payment for your party will need to be made in cash, at the door by any member of your group with a US passport. AthChap has worked out a speedo sign-in to minimize delays!

Holiday Recipe Contest – Deadline Friday!

Well-known cookbook author Diana Farr Louis is standing by to help choose the winners. The recipe contest deadline is coming up soon—November 17th. Submissions are being accepted, in these categories: soup, salad/appetizer, entrée, side dish, dessert. Send to Marion Kavallieros or Ted Theo at the emails below. marionkavallieros@yahoo.com, tedtheo1@gmail.com.

Make a Day of It!

There are Holiday Happenings all over Athens on the 26th—the AWOG Bazaar is on from 11 am until 7pm at the War Museum as well as the Anglican Bazaar at Zappeion. The DAGR Thanksgiving Luncheon will make for a delicious break between bazaars!

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Points for Resistance Summer Postcards - 2017

Resistance Summer

This summer has been slated for resistance activities in the US and around the world that are both serious and fun to put on and do.

The DNC is helping Dems Abroad global to help our country committees print and distribute postcards for our members to send to Senators and Representatives.

These are distributed free of charge, though from 4th July and on, you’ll have to buy your own stamp. A donation toward future efforts will not be refused. :)

Find addresses

Senators at https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

Representatives at http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

NAMELY …
Search further for regional offices that may be less busy and more effective.

Size your stamp first! Then, address your card

Post card ‘uncovered’ to US costs €.80. Some stamps, e.g. Theodorakis, are huge.
Post card in an envelope to US costs €.90 and may be impounded to search for ‘contaminents.

Write your message

Be brief. They won’t read your ‘prose’ very carefully. But do make your point, e.g.:

  • · Hands off Obamacare!
  • · Medicare for ALL!
  • · Protect our National Monuments!
  • · NO tax cuts for the wealthy!

Keep an eye out for breaking legislation. Send a card. You’ll feel better for it!

THIS WEEK: Healthcare is still very much ON THE TABLE!

It is likely the GOP will try to push through the vote in the Senate that was delayed before the holiday break. Any delay in passing the atrocious AHCA legislation means that their equally bad “fund the rich” tax package will also be delayed. In the best of possible worlds, AHCA will die entirely and we can look at healthcare proposals that actually help American families live a productive life, free of pain and the worry of not being able to care for loved ones. Here’s the main picture.

For all men, women and families.

  • · The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 14 million more people would be uninsured in 2018 under the new plan than under current law.
  • · By 2026 the number of uninsured would reach 51 million Americans. While the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has made strides to cover more Americans, it is estimated that 28 million would still not have health insurance in 2026. Either way, we have a long way to go.
  • · Many believe that it is time to explore other options for how we provide healthcare in the United States. National Nurses United and The Sanders Institute have published a paper that speaks to the current state of healthcare in the US and explores the option of a Medicare-for-all single payer system. We may not all agree, but it is an option to consider.

From DA Women’s Caucus, the main issues re women’s health.

Healthcare is key to women’s well-being and economic stability.

  • · Repealing the Affordable Care Act will disproportionally impact women, particularly low to moderate income women and women of color.
  • · The repeal bill would eliminate critical protections in the Affordable Care Act that prohibit discrimination against women in the provision of health care.
  • · Insurers would no longer be required to provide women coverage for services such as maternity care and they would be allowed to charge women more that coverage if they do offer it.
  • · And it will erode women’s access to reproductive healthcare by dismantling no-copay birth control and defunding the organizations that provide this care.

DAGR is distributing Resistance Summer Post Cards to key volunteers around the country. If you’d like to get a few (20) to write or share with any Americans you know, just ask your Chapter officers or send a note to the Secretary.


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