DAGR Selected to host 2019 DA EMEA Regional Meeting in Athens, Oct. 11-13, 2019
Last week, DAGR was named host of the 2019 Democrats Abroad EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) Regional Meeting in Athens, which will take place October 11-13. Athens’ bid won out over strong bids from Vienna and Amsterdam, and the response from our fellow Democrats throughout the region has been heartening. Folks are excited to come to Athens and partake in all that our great city has to offer! The focus of the meeting will be on preparing for next spring’s DA Global Presidential Primary and for 2020 Get Out the Vote initiatives.
To have been selected is an honor for DAGR, and provides us with a strong platform from which to raise our profile in Greece and internationally, expand our membership, and to engage and mobilize our membership to work to ensure that we elect a Democratic President, House, and Senate (and to state offices across the country) in 2020. You’ll be hearing lots more about this event in the weeks and months to come as plans are firmed up and the itinerary is developed. The Regional Meeting offers DAGR members a great opportunity to interact with DA members from throughout the EMEA region. As you can imagine, hosting the event will require that we have a strong team of volunteers in place, so I am inviting you to volunteer to become part of our organizational team. There is lots of work to do!
So, volunteer now to be part of our team. Drop me a line at [email protected]
Equality, Freedom, Inclusion
These were the resounding themes as PRIDE was celebrated in Athens Greece on Saturday June 8th.
In the city’s central square of Syntagma, with a foreground of the parliament building and a background of the Parthenon, residents came out filling the space in full color resonating the rights of equality and freedom.
Democrats Abroad Greece (DAGR) was there from 11 am until 8 pm with a booth, promoting equality, inclusion and freedom as well as voter registration, of which there were several inquiries. The kiosk had some funky buttons to send loud and clear messages in the heart of democracy’s place of birth.
DAGR Chair, Steve Medeiros, said, “What has been especially heartening and exciting during the five years that DAGR has participated in Athens Pride events has been to watch the steady growth in participation each year and the way in which our city has come to embrace the celebration. Amazing to watch out and proud Athenians come together with their fellow citizens to celebrate Pride and support and promote the rights of LGBTQ citizens in Greece. DAGR is proud to have once again been a part of this clarion call for dignity, freedom and equality for all. Though much has been accomplished, this is no time for complacency. Under the Trump administration, LGBTQ rights are again under attack across America. We must remain vigilant and keep up the fight. ”
Volunteers gathered from early on greeting visitors to the booth and marching in the parade that took place at 6:30pm.
This year’s event was dedicated to a well-known drag queen - “Zackie O” /Zack Kostopoulos who was brutally murdered last September in what has been labelled a hate crime.
Athens Pride 2019 highlighted the role of “the road as a democratic area of revolution, and triumph in the face of injustice and brutality. This year’s poster, celebrating Athens Pride in its 15th year, presents emblematic moments from the history of LGBTQI.
“On June 8, 2019, people marched across the historic streets of Athens to claim their PRIDE-freedom, equality, inclusion. But that is not enough. On every road we walk, we claim our freedom and our security from any form of abuse and violence. The street belongs to all of us equally.”, Athens Pride 2019 posted.
For 3 minutes of Athens Pride 2019 on You Tube by Yiannis Papastathopoulos
For the fifth year in a row, Democrats Abroad Greece will be supporting the LGBTQ community at Athens Pride 2019, which will take place on June 8, 2019, in Athens' Syntagma Square. Support for LGBTQ rights is a cornerstone of the Democratic Party platform.
DAGR will sponsor an information and GOTV (Voter Information for US citizens abroad) booth with DA LGBTQ Caucus as co-sponsor, 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 20 DAGR me
mbers joined us for last year's parade. We'd like to double that number this year.
Interested in volunteering?: contact Steve Medeiros, DAGR Chair and DA LGBTQ Caucus member -
Via email at: [email protected] or via SMS at 694-811-9121
DAGR Chapter Promotes VoteFromAbroad at the FARM FEST in Thessaloniki
Volunteers from DAGR’s Thessaloniki Chapter were front and center among public service booths at the annual Farm Fest on May 12. On a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, the Fest engaged toddlers with treasure hunts, provided wine tasting for adults, performed demonstrations on satellite parachutes, seismology, robotics, climate change and mounted a farmer’s market.
Chapter Chair Peter Baiter and Chapter Representative Randall Warner spoke with over 40 individuals and shared information on how Americans living outside the country can register to vote in US elections. The VoteFromAbroad.org website allows users to declare party affiliation or not and so can be used by any eligible American voter.
“Out of everyone we spoke with, eight were Americans, four of whom are resident in Thessaloniki,” said Baiter. “However, mainly we talked with Greeks concerned about the 2020 US elections. While they won’t be voting in the US, we hope they’ll pass the message to American citizens they know among friends and family.”
“Of course, the information we shared was non-partisan, focused on every US citizen’s right to vote,” added Warner. “We do this as a public service, especially in non-partisan settings such as schools. And we inform anyone of any party so they can register and vote. AFS appreciated the effort.”
Thessaloniki's renowned American Farm School was founded in 1904 by US educators. The Fest is organized each year to give the public a closer look at the AFS educational programs and Perrotis College while enjoying a range of entertainment and cultural events. This year’s event attracted some 2,500 visitors.
We would like to invite you to an evening social event on the 23rd of May, 7-10pm at the Hard Rock Café, (52, Adrianou St, Monastiraki) to:
- Briefly update you on the way forward to the elections of the 3rd of November 2020 and the events and activities planned along the way;
- Discuss the priorities Young Dems think we should focus on for the remainder of 2019 and 2020;
- Have some fun! - get to know each other better in a relaxed environment and put friendly faces to our names.
We look forward to meeting you all in person!
To confirm your participation, please RSVP by clicking on this link by May 17th, 2019.
Entrance is free of charge. Drinks and food can be ordered and purchased individually from the Hard Rock menu.
Let’s get our Party rolling!
The Equal Right Amendment is sooooo close to being ratified!
The Virginia general assembly starts their session on Wednesday, January 9th and the Virginia Ratify ERA team needs support right now!The Equal Right Amendment is sooooo close to being ratified!
The Virginia general assembly starts their session on Wednesday, January 9th and the Virginia Ratify ERA team needs support right now!
They need photos and videos of Americans living abroad who support ERA to use to win over some votes. Can you take a photo holding a sign and/or make a 30-45 second video? That would be appreciated.
- Consider wearing something or standing/seating by something that shows you are living abroad – for example a foreign newspaper, translation dictionary, map, typical item from country, or outside at a recognizable place in your country. However, don’t worry about it – just a blank wall is fine.
- Do NOT wear or say anything partisan. Almost all Dems support ERA so trying to win the Rep vote.
- Please show some passion but avoid/limit profanity.
- Start with “I’m an American living in GREECE”.
- If you live in a country that has equal rights for women in the constitution, especially if in some non-European country, mention that.
- If you are from one of the 13 states (AR, AL, AZ, GA, NC, SC, UT, FL, MS, MO, OK, UT, LA) that have not ratified the ERA, you may want to mention that. Note that Virginia, North Carolina, and Arizona are the top 3 targets right now.
- For Virginia, you may want to call out Speaker Cox since he is the current ‘gatekeeper’ that could cause it to stall and never get to the Virginia House floor.
- Ask for ERA support.
- Keep video to less than 60 seconds, ideally 45 seconds.
If you post the video on Facebook or Instagram, please add hashtags #DAforERA and #VAratifyERA
Send a link to the video to [email protected]
- I’m an American living in GREECE. I have more rights as a woman here than I do back home. Please support the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Women around the world care about what happens in the United States. Please vote for the ERA.
- I’m an American living in GREECE. 85% of the countries in the world have equal rights for women in their constitution. GREECE is one of them. I want to see my home country be one as well. Please vote for the equal rights amendment.
- I’m an American living in GREECE. In 2018, I was happy when I learned Illinois became the 37th state to ratify the ERA. My hope for 2019 is that Virginia becomes number 38. Please support the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.
- I’m an American living in GREECE. As a man, I care about women’s rights. I hope you do as well. Please pass the Equal Rights Amendment.
- I’m an American living in GREECE. When I recently learned that the US still does not have equal rights for women in our Constitution, I was shocked. How can that be? Surely one of the 13 states that have not ratified it will all do so this year. It is 2019! It’s past time. Please vote for the Equal Rights Amendment.
ERA Photo Guidelines
- Make sign on A4 or 8.5x11 paper
- Please include on the sign “American living in GREECE” along with some support for ERA.
- Take photo with sign with your face showing
- Photos of your kids holding the sign is also good – if you are ok with the photo on the internet
- If you are from one of the 13 states (AR, AL, AZ, GA, NC, SC, UT, FL, MS, MO, OK, UT, LA) that have not ratified the ERA, if you could do a second sign and photo replacing “American” with your state, like Oklahoman, that would be great.
- Please send photo to [email protected]
- Please vote for the ERA
- Please ratify the ERA
- I support Women
- I support Women’s rights
- Equal rights for All
- Women need equal rights
- Women deserve equal rights
- ERA NOW
Create and get these posted (and forwarded) by Saturday so they can put something together for a big event in Richmond on Jan 8th. Arizona and North Carolina will be working toward the same outcome so if you miss the January 8th opportunity you can do the same for them as you can!
So – show your support of women and equal rights by creating a photo and/or video. Send the photo and video links to [email protected]
Saga of the Missing Ballot
As the saga rolls on, we’re a bit late letting you, ‘dear reader,’ in on the day-by-day, blow-by-blow. When this surfaced, the Secretary was ‘off computer’ for several days. We’d love to put it all on her, but, truth be told, we forgot to move the saga from personal Facebook to the main DA/GR news page. And yet, it’s becoming most ‘instructional.’ So, for your catch-up and edification...
Looking Back to Day 1
The final GetOutTheVote (aka GOTV) surge has been full-on for over 2 months now. While phone-banking was understaffed here in Greece, volunteers from other countries called our members. And we made up our deficit with a fulsome Study Abroad outreach, a test of SMS reminders, 3 events where we also registered the late ones, and emails exhorting members to get registered and request ballots. There was also the nightly ‘widget’ duty, changing the Countdown “Days to Election” banner on the Facebook pages.
Jai Salvador and I are widgets. Habitual widgets.
From mid-October, we exhorted DAGRs to ‘track your ballot.’ After helping several members sort out how to do that, I realized I hadn’t tracked mine. That was Friday, Oct 26. Make note of the date.
My Ohio ballot was sent to me on 21 September. We had an Athens film night to organize for Oct 4. Once that was past, I finally printed the ballot, voted it, and played Kindergarten Cop, cutting, pasting, and taping the odd sized envelope parts into place on real envelopes. (Not an easy job with those little plastic scissors!)
As every year, I murmured a pseudo-prayer that the Franklin County BOE staff would be able to slice it open without industrial shears and blow-torches. (With equal fervor, I pray someday they’ll come up with a sizing/printing system that does not require trim-paste-stuff-tape-initial ad nauseum. But then, why would the Ohio GOP trifecta want to make absentee voting easy?)
Then I let it ‘age’ until I was next due to go out of the house and near a post office. At a month shy of my 74th birthday and 3 years past finally hanging up the old motorbike, I plan my itineraries and the likely taxi fare to complete them so that I’m only ‘forced to put on make-up’ half of each week’s computer-working days. I hope that makes sense. It does to me.
Consequently, it was a week after film night that I had to meet Vice Chair Steve Medeiros and Treasurer Nick Loisos for a planning and coffee session within walking distance of a post office. That was October 11. Bye bye, ballot, and fair thee well!
I sent it, as I always have, by registered mail, in case I ever had to track it. Registered mail sometimes takes a bit longer than surface mail, but the Hellenic Post clerk assured me that 7 working days was about normal.
When I got home, I’d have done well to have looked at the post-it note on my fridge door since January 2017: “THIS IS NOT NORMAL!”
So now, as I noted earlier, after answering members’ queries about voting matters, I cut bait and got to my own. The Ohio Secretary of State’s ballot tracker asks for your county. Select from the drop-down menu and you get the county, and they ask for your PIN (which they sent by email the day before the ballot). I duly typed in the particulars 15 days after sending it and was shocked to see it hadn’t arrived in Columbus yet!
Next stop was the ELTA (acronym for Hellenic Postal Service) website’s track/trace facility. There, you type in the registration number from your receipt and it gives you a chart of each step of the journey. Let me share it here, because it was simply gob-stopping.
Contrary to the contrarians who delight in blaming the Greeks, it appears the Hellenic Post was totally efficient. By evening, the envelope had gone from Athens to the airport. And by the next day, it had arrived in the US. At the ‘Inward exchange’ station, whatever that is.
The curious part is why, after arriving there, was it sent back to a similar ‘inward exchange’ site. In Hungary. Hungary?? You’ll forgive the exclamation: WTF?!
by Karen Lee, DAGR Chair, 2015-7, 2017-9 more or less
Saga of the Missing Ballot CONT....
Looking Less Back, Day 2 and 3
Once you find out something’s gone awry, you naturally want to fix it and then go fix dinner. So, the news that my ballot was on extended leave, in Hungary, set the plan for Saturday. A work-around would be found!
Sometimes the laws of man and nature get in the way. This time, nature was cooperating. But, Saturday and Sunday bogged down. The ELTA customer service phone operates by man’s laws and man will have the weekend off.
Frustrated, I sent a synopsis to our global GOTV co-chair, Heidi Birch. She added mine to the handful of reports HelpDesk had received. Apart from a few ‘returns to sender’ from NY state, nothing massive had emerged. Still, people don’t always report problems; they either solve them or give up trying.
There’s always Facebook. An ‘I voted’ graphic download had just come in email from GOTV, so on Sunday I put it up on my personal timeline. It drew a ‘whooHOO!’ from our global chair, Julia Bryan, the perfect segue for my tale of woe: ‘But it didn’t ar-RI-ive!’
My Fb posts are fairly bland. Consequently, I’m used to drawing a scant few likes, the odd thumbs up, and a pithy comment from my ex-sister-in-law in Florida.
[sidebar] The only time I’ve drawn a long thread of exchanges was when a flaming Dem-baiter spewed out snowflakes and libtards. It may have been a bot assuming a stolen identity. The name was known as a real person here in Greece. Butter-wouldn’t-melt restraint and polite questions rewarded with the actual long list of what ‘they’ keep saying Trump has accomplished. Most have been averted by court injunctions. Talking points for 2020, a keepie! [/sidebar]
Imagine my surprise when the ‘didn’t arrive’ post drew out a number of comments. A few had advice on what to do next. Most were from hopeful voter friends who’d sent their ballot. Now they were motivated to see if it had arrived.
Best advice, of course, is when the regular ballot has not arrived OR has not been received back by the LEO, we should vote the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot, the FWAB. The main pitfall here is getting distracted by whether to pronounce it FWAYAB, FWAWB, F-WAB, or F-W-A-B. But that’s another story.
Actually voting FWAB is fairly easy. I went to https://www.fvap.gov/fwab-privacy-notice and filled in my voter ID info, one more time. And saved it to pdf to be printed after I’d bought ink cartridges. Why is the printer always out of ink when you need it most?
As Day 3 and the hamstrung weekend faded into midnight, I updated our Fb Countdown banners (aka cover pix) and made lists for a productive Monday when shops reopened.
by Karen Lee, DAGR Chair, 2015-7, 2017-9 more or less