It’s that time, again: time to kick back and have a listen to the Hispanic Caucus’ most recent podcast episodes from May. We’ve been having terrific discussions with several notable guests, including: a UNICEF advocate who specializes in communicating with Congress, one of the nation’s most visible union bosses fighting for public schools and their workers, a Latina congressional candidate in the Peach State, and a former F-16 jet pilot now fighting for Hispanic representation in the military’s most senior ranks. All of these guests provided us with great reasons for us to vote from abroad, and after listening to them, we’re sure you’ll agree!
All of our podcast episodes can be found here: https://www.democratsabroad.org/hc_podcasts
May 24, 2019
One of the lesser-talked about issues of our time is the serious lack of Hispanic representation in the upper-most ranks of the United States Armed Forces, such as generals and admirals. Among those fighting to raise awareness of this issue is Edward Cabrera, president of the Hispanic Veterans Leadership Alliance (https://www.casabagroup.net/). "Eddie" is a former U.S. Air Force aviator who's now trying to educate both the public and federal lawmakers on this important issue. With an April 17th letter to the Defense Department backed by a May 7th letter from Congress, Eddie and his Alliance have been busy in 2019 in not only pointing out the problems with Hispanics being absent from senior officer positions, but he's also been proposing strategies to key officials to increase Hispanic representation in these role-model and mission-critical positions.
As someone who previously flew F-16 fighter jets and other combat-ready aircraft in addition to continuing to serve our country by working as a NASA programs manager, members of the DA Hispanic Caucus and the DA Military and Veteran Family Caucus were grateful that Eddie joined our podcast to spread his important messaging. As Eddie mentions on the podcast, Americans living abroad can help the cause in doing a take-action item by contacting your members of Congress - ¡Escúchalo ya!
May 17, 2019
From immigrating to the U.S. as a young child to finishing law school to being elected as the first Latina in the state legislature, Brenda López Romero now aspires to be the next congresswoman representing the 7th Congressional District of Georgia. The Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus had a great discussion with Rep. López Romero in learning more about why she's running and what her platform issues are.
As a fully-bilingual lawmaker, we definitely appreciated López Romero speaking directly to GA-7 voters living abroad and to our Spanish-speaking caucus members. Please feel free to share this podcast episode with any and all Americans who vote in Georgia's 7th district! "No podemos mejorar como estado, no podemos mejorar como país, sin tener buenos trabajos y desarrollo económico." - Brenda López Romero Sus comentarios en español comienzan a las 27:20 en la conversación. (Rep. López Romero’s Spanish-language remarks begin at 27:20 into the conversation.)
May 11, 2019
Sadly, even in twenty-first century America, the horrible and illegal practice of human trafficking exists. Joining us on this episode brought to you by the Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus was special guest Alejandra Colmenero (https://www.cllaro.org/staff/), a Denver-based expert in communicating this issue and other critically-important issues affecting children to the nation's top policymakers: members of Congress.
Alejandra's experience as a leader on UNICEF's Congressional Action Team has led her to use her passion for activism to train dozens of others in how to approach lawmakers to support policies that make the world a far better place, especially for children. She also touched on why all Americans abroad should cast their votes from wherever they are in the world, because, as Alejandra rightly mentions, American citizens have a democratic voice and they should exercise their right to vote. Have a listen to this highly educated, passionate, and bilingual #StrongLatina to hear what she has to say on combating human trafficking and improving communications with lawmakers through effective citizen activism.
May 10, 2019
How is the United States currently doing as far as public education goes? How much is the current administration supporting teachers? Is there any connection to voting from abroad and supporting education policies to improve America's schools? And is anyone paying attention to schools in Puerto Rico? To answer these questions and more, we turn to an expert.
Among the titans of those advocating for sound education policy and representing workers in the education industry is none other than Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. It's no secret Randi is widely admired by America's teachers, those (and allies of those) who push for sensible education reforms, the LGBT community, people of color, Democratic elected officials, parents, and so many more. The Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus was very fortunate to have Randi speak with us on the current direction of U.S. education under the Trump Administration.
DPCA Voting Body Adopts Hispanic Caucus Language Calling for Closer Scrutiny of Political Donation History of Potential Meeting Venues
Washington, D.C.—On May 17, 2019, the international body of voting representatives within the Democratic Party Committee Abroad (DPCA) passed a Hispanic Caucus-authored resolution which encourages a check of the political donation history of potential meeting venues. The resolution was considered on the first day of the 2019 Democrats Abroad (DA) Global Meeting.
The resolution was amended after an April 2019 meeting held by the Resolutions Committee in which some members raised points on the original draft. The chair of the caucus, Michael Ramos (DA Australia), responded to those who commented and engaged the steering committee with edits to accommodate the concerns made by the Resolutions Committee. “Our caucus is active in not only electing candidates and holding elected officials accountable, but also in looking for ways to improve our Party. This weekend was no different. We were happy to discuss the resolution, make edits, include new ideas, and take into consideration others members’ concerns before re-drafting. The end result? Another successful global meeting, another Hispanic Caucus resolution passed,” he stated.
Will Prescott (DA Mexico), a leader on the Hispanic Caucus and principal sponsor of the resolution, stated, “I’m pleased that members voted in favor of this common-sense measure to make sure that our money isn’t going to political candidates and parties that don’t align with our core beliefs. While we always strive to improve our Platform and processes, I know that when our caucus members have a seat at the table, great ideas are put forward.”
Also at the Global Meeting, Hispanic Caucus member Lissette Wright (DA Canada) was unanimously re-elected as DA International Treasurer. The Hispanic Caucus is extremely proud to have a Latina and one of its members continue as a leader on the International Executive Committee.
Founded in 2017, the Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus represents more than 500 members living in all parts of the globe.
Propuesta del Comité Hispano que examina el historial político de los posibles lugares de reunión ha sido adoptada por el DPCA
Washington, D.C.—El 17 de mayo de 2019, el cuerpo internacional de representantes con derecho a voto dentro del Comité del Partido Demócrata en el Extranjero (DPCA, por sus siglas en inglés) aprobó una resolución propuesta por el Comité Hispano (Hispanic Caucus, en inglés) que busca realizar una verificación mucho más a fondo sobre el historial de donaciones políticas de los posibles lugares de reunión, como hoteles y centros de convenciones. La resolución fue considerada durante el primer día de la Reunión Global de Demócratas en el Extranjero (DA) del 2019.
La resolución se enmendó después de una reunión de abril del 2019 celebrada por el Comité de Resoluciones en la que algunos miembros plantearon puntos de contención sobre el borrador original. El presidente del Comité Hispano, Michael Ramos (DA Australia), respondió a quienes comentaron y comprometió al comité directivo a realizar los cambios para satisfacer las inquietudes del Comité de Resoluciones. “Nuestro comité está activo no solo para elegir candidatos y responsabilizar a los funcionarios electos, sino también para buscar formas de mejorar nuestro Partido. Este fin de semana no fue diferente. Nos complació discutir la resolución, hacer modificaciones, incluir nuestras ideas y tomar en cuenta las preocupaciones de los miembros antes de volver a redactarlas. ¿El resultado final? Otra Reunión Global exitosa y otra resolución del Comité Hispano aprobada,” declaró Ramos.
Will Prescott (DA México), un líder del Comité Hispano y principal patrocinador de la resolución, declaró: “Me complace que los miembros votaran a favor de esta medida de sentido común para asegurarnos de que nuestro dinero no vaya a partidos políticos y candidatos que no se alinean con nuestras creencias. Si bien, siempre nos esforzamos por mejorar nuestra Plataforma y nuestros procesos, sé que cuando los miembros de nuestro comité tiene un lugar en la mesa, se presentan grandes ideas.”
También en la Reunión Global, miembro del Comité Hispano, Lissette Wright (DA Canadá) fue reelecta unánimemente como Tesorera Internacional de DA. El Comité Hispano está sumamente orgulloso de tener una latina y a uno de sus miembros continuando como líder en el Comité Ejecutivo Internacional.
Fundado en 2017, el Comité Hispano de Demócratas en el Extranjero representa a más de 500 miembros en todo el mundo.
Please see below to view the Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus slideshow report as presented at the May 2019 Global Meeting. Thank you for your attention and please direct any questions to HispanicCaucus@democratsabroad.org.
DA Hispanic Caucus
Cada cuatro años, Democrats Abroad (DA -- Demócratas en el Extranjero) envía una delegación a la Convención Nacional Demócrata para elegir formalmente al candidato presidencial de nuestro partido. Para el ciclo presidencial del 2020, es una meta de gran importancia el reunir a un grupo diverso de delegados electos que reflejen a la membresía de nuestro partido, incluyendo a lo miembros de DA de herencia hispana. Cualquier miembro de DA que esté dispuesto y sea capaz de viajar a Milwaukee, Wisconsin a mediados de julio de 2020 es elegible para contender como candidato para ser delegado.
Todos los miembros hispano-americanos de DA, y especialmente los miembros del Caucus hispano-americano, sin importar en qué lugar del mundo vivan, están invitados a contender para una posición como Delegado de DA en la Convención Nacional Demócrata. El tener la oportunidad de emitir un voto en la nominación del candidato Demócrata para Presidente de Estados Unidos es un gran honor y una oportunidad en la que los hispanos dentro de los Demócratas Abroad deben estar presentes. La cobertura mediática será masiva en Milwaukee y el evento será televisado en varios países debido al gran interés político por conocer quién se enfrentará a Donald Trump en la Elección General.
El proceso de solicitud para nominarse a la elección de los delegados comienza el 24 de marzo de 2020. Si usted está interesado en ser candidato a delegado esté pendiente de la información respectiva en los próximos meses. En caso de tener cualquier duda sobre el tema no dude en enviarnos un mensaje a HispanicCaucus@democratsabroad.org.
Michael Ramos (DA Australia)
Global Hispanic Caucus
Every four years, Democrats Abroad (DA) sends a delegation to the Democratic National Convention to formally choose our Party’s nominee for president. For the 2020 presidential cycle, it is a major goal of DA to elect a diverse group of elected delegates which reflects our Party’s membership – this includes DA members of Hispanic heritage. Any DA member who is willing and able to travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in mid-July of 2020 is eligible to run as a delegate.
All Hispanic-American DA members, and especially all Hispanic-American caucus members, regardless of where you are living in the world, are strongly encouraged to consider running for a position among DA’s delegation to the Democratic National Convention. To cast a vote for the Democratic nominee for President of the United States is indeed a great honor and one in which Hispanics within Democrats Abroad should be present. There will be mass media coverage in Milwaukee and several countries will be broadcasting the event due to the heightened political interest in seeing who will face Donald Trump in the General Election.
The application process to begin the delegate process begins March 24, 2020. If you are interested in running as a delegate, be on the lookout for more information in the coming months. Please do not hesitate to send a message to HispanicCaucus@democratsabroad.org should you have further questions on this matter.
Michael Ramos (DA Australia)
Global Hispanic Caucus
The Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus has been busy lately in discussing issues and speaking to special guests on our podcast. Please take a moment to hear our most recent episodes: a New York-based university professor with expertise on Latinos and the U.S. labor movement, the chair of the Virginia Democrats' Latino Caucus, and a former Democrats Abroad member-turned-gun control activist in California.
All of our podcast episodes can be found here: https://www.democratsabroad.org/hc_podcasts
April 28, 2019
In this week's episode, Alison Maciejewski, Steering Committee Member of the Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus, led a thoughtful discussion with our special guest based in New York, Stony Brook University's Lori Flores, Ph.D. Crank up the volume and hear Dr. Flores' thoughts on how Latinx agricultural workers have continued to endure unfair worker conditions, and how our classrooms' history books have been slow to include historical information about the significant contributions of Hispanic Americans during the organized labor movements over the years, such as proud Boricua Luisa Capetillo. Dr. Flores also highlighted why Americans abroad should vote for politicians who value worker protections and who will fight for safe working conditions in the agriculture industry.
April 24, 2019
From Hampton Roads to Alexandria to the capital of Richmond, there's much to be optimistic about for the future of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Joining the Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus podcast this week was special guest Monique Alcalá, the current chair of the Virginia Democratic Party's Latino Caucus. Monique's valuable experience in working within the party and various candidates over the years makes her a true expert in Virginia politics, and we were lucky to learn straight from her about an amazing Latino candidate for state delegate, an effective peer-to-peer support program, and an interesting description of her role as Latino Caucus chair in creating opportunities for Virginians to engage with the party, Democratic candidates, and each other as a way of motivating activism. Get the latest scoop with what's happening on the ground in the Old Dominion State by checking out Chairwoman Alcalá's insightful commentary.
April 4, 2019
Will Prescott and Michael Ramos of the Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus caught up with San Francisco-based, pro-gun safety activist Alex Navarro with Moms Demand Action (https://momsdemandaction.org/). As a former member of Democrats Abroad Netherlands, Alex has significant experience living abroad and has since advocated tirelessly for common-sense gun reforms to her California lawmakers. Have a listen to learn more about what Alex has been doing since returning back to the U.S. and why she is a clear leader in the ongoing fight again the gun lobby.
Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus Steering Committee Statement in Response to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen’s Resignation
In response to Kirstjen Nielsen’s April 8th resignation announcement, the Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus Steering Committee present the following statement:
There is no way to sugarcoat it – former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was a dreadful public servant who implemented brutal and inhumane policies.
Two years after the devastating hurricanes in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the catastrophically incompetent DHS is still struggling with how to respond to the more than 3,000 lives lost and billions of dollars worth of broken infrastructure. As U.S. citizens, Puerto Ricans and Virgin Islanders have every right to wonder when their federal government will address their critical needs. And while Nielsen may claim that under her leadership, DHS has “responded decisively to record-breaking natural disasters and helped Americans rebuild,” the facts tell a completely different story.
Furthermore, as the top Trump official in charge of the administration’s tragic and failed “large scale family separation” policy to control the fake “emergency” declaration of the border “crisis,” Kirstjen Nielsen is directly complicit in forcibly ripping children away from their refugee and asylum-seeker parents and put into camps. Nielsen’s unfortunate anti-immigrant legacy will be remembered long after the separated refugee families reunite, if DHS is able to reunite them at all. With the vacancy created by Nielsen, we also reject the appointment of Kevin McAleenan as Acting Secretary because of his own woeful record as Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner.
Regardless of whoever next oversees DHS, we continue to believe that the only sure remedy to halt this administration’s reckless actions and heinous activities is to vote out Donald Trump and all of his Republican allies in Congress, in addition to Congress continuing with strong oversight of the executive branch’s never-ending controversies.
As American citizens living in all parts of the globe, we in the Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus have witnessed first-hand the value of diplomacy, and investment in people and communities compared to the inhumane – and often illegal – Trump agenda. Instead of trying to justify anti-immigration policies as an “emergency,” the next DHS secretary would do well to listen to the unique perspective of Americans living in Mexico who truly understand the issues on both sides of the border.
For more than a year, the U.S. embassy in México City has been without an ambassador. On March 18, 2019, the White House eventually nominated Christopher Landau for the important role of United States ambassador to México, praising his law experience such as arguing before the Supreme Court.
Upon review of his overall qualifications, however, the Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus can conclude that this nominee is far from suitable for fulfilling America’s top diplomat posting to our southern neighbor. Although Mr. Landau does indeed have significant experience practicing law within our nation’s judicial system in addition to working on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, he possesses absolutely no diplomatic experience whatsoever.
Considering the role of U.S. ambassador to México will be a critical role in working with a variety of stakeholders for the next major international trade deal in addition to working for the well-being of American citizens abroad, Mr. Landau plainly lacks the critical diplomatic expertise needed for negotiating on behalf of U.S. interests. For this reason and several others, the Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus urges all Americans to contact their U.S. senators to strongly oppose the nomination of Christopher Landau as U.S. ambassador to México.
“This is not a serious nomination. Even the State Department’s newest intern has more diplomatic experience than Christopher Landau. Sure, he’s proven himself in court with legal arguments, but I wouldn’t want someone to fly the plane I’m on simply because he or she has professionally driven a race car, so why should the American people trust someone with no diplomatic experience to be their ambassador?
Donald Trump has managed to repeatedly insult Americans of every color; after the protests in Charlottesville he insulted every American veteran who ever fought off Nazis; and now, unsurprisingly, he’s managed to insult Americans residing in México by nominating someone realistically unqualified to fill an ambassadorship to our nation’s third-largest trading partner.” -- Michael Ramos, current chair of the Hispanic Caucus
Earlier this week in the U.S. House of Representatives, a joint resolution was passed expressly opposing President Trump’s so-called “emergency” declaration on the southern border. Thirteen Republicans joined a united Democratic majority in supporting H.J.Res. 46, which now heads to the Senate which is expected to consider the legislation in the coming days. The Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus applauds Congressman Joaquín Castro, chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, for sponsoring the joint resolution and congratulates the House for passing it.
Several leaders within the Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus offered their thoughts on last night’s historic vote:
“This is yet another completely fabricated claim coming out of the White House. Let’s be clear: persons seeking asylum in the U.S. are not ‘bad hombres,’ but rather human beings deserving to be heard and having to state their case in federal court. Mexico even agreed to host migrants during the asylum process and has offered temporary work permits and public services to them – because they do not represent a security crisis.”
– Lori Smith (DA-México)
“I’ve lived in Mexico for nearly a dozen years. That doesn’t make me an expert on border issues, but the numbers are clear for anyone paying attention. The total number of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. has decreased since 2006. Mexicans constitute about half of the total undocumented population and most of the decline is due to the decreasing number of immigrants arriving annually. According to the U.S. Border Patrol, apprehensions every year have declined from a high of 1.6 million in 1986 to a current rate of about 300,000 per year – for the border from California to Texas. If there ever was an emergency, it started to end over twenty years ago.”
– Will Prescott (DA-México)
“There is no crisis. Even by looking at the number of people involved in these caravans, it’s actually pretty small compared to the total number of people who enter the US every year – legally, illegally, or both. And despite the atrocities that many Central American migrants experience, such as rapes or beatings, Mexico is actually doing a lot to help them deal with the situation while they wait to present themselves to the U.S. And despite Republican claims that Mexico is a ‘safe’ alternative for asylum seekers – which is not a realistic option for them – the bottom line is that they must be allowed to seek asylum in the U.S.—as U.S. federal law requires.”
– Sam Stone (DA-México)
“Trump is leading us to an authoritarian regime by using the emergency declaration to circumvent Congress and increase the power of the Executive Branch. Virtually every American in my country of residence believes that the constitutional checks and balances among the Executive Branch, Congress, and the Courts must be respected. While Trump and his right-wing extremist base have chosen to try and force the U.S. Constitution down a paper shredder to build his useless wall, Democrats are proudly fighting back in nullifying Trump’s non-existent ‘emergency’ declaration.”
– Nelleke Bruyn (DA-Costa Rica)
“Yet again, we have witnessed more falsehoods from both the president and congressional Republicans regarding the border ‘crisis.’ Democrats believe in utilizing technology that’s proven effective such as drones, tightening the rules at ports of entry, and many other sensible measures. Fortunately, the House-passed bill clearly shows that this isn’t really about protecting Americans. Even after looking at the administration’s own data, I have yet to see anything of the magnitude of an ‘emergency’ in which the president could justify yanking federal funds from other important resources and using it to instead build his ‘vanity’ wall. Even Republican Congressman Hurd, who represents an enormous Texas border district, strongly disagrees with the president on this issue. Once the president knew that there was no way another country was going to pay for his wall despite his repeated campaign pledge to do so, the American people, unsurprisingly, saw right through it.”
– Michael Ramos (DA-Australia)
The Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus urges the United States Senate to immediately bring up this important, filibuster-proof resolution to a vote so that all members of Congress can be on record as to whether they respect and honor the Legislative Branch as a constitutional co-equal branch of the federal government, or if they choose to believe that Congress should be subservient to Donald Trump.
In light of recent findings about his past behavior, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam must immediately step down for the good of his constituents and for the greater society. The discovery of an old yearbook photograph depicting someone, possibly a younger Mr. Northam, in “black face” while posing next to a person in a Klansman costume has shocked his constituents both at home and abroad. Voters of the Commonwealth living in all parts of the world – regardless of political preferences – deserve to have elected officials in 2019 who reject hatred, racial inequality, and social situations where degrading someone because of his or her skin color is somehow considered “jokingly” acceptable.
For this reason, the Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus believes there has been an indisputable breach of the public’s trust, and therefore stands with our brothers and sisters in the Virginia Democrats’ Latino Caucus in demanding the governor’s resignation. While not as widely known, Hispanic-Americans have also for over a century faced hate crimes and racism from white supremacist groups.
Furthermore, the state’s Attorney General, Mark Herring, who also faces a questionable past of racial indiscretions, should also immediately vacate office for the same reason. While these revelations about the governor and attorney general have made it impossible for them to lead effectively both as public servants and role models of the values that the Democratic Party strives to project, we will closely monitor the latest news stemming from the lieutenant governor’s situation.
Both Latinx Virginians living overseas and the global Democrats Abroad Hispanic Caucus strongly believe there must be a consistent high standard of behavior expected from our elected officials. If we are to make progress as a society on the deep and sensitive issue of race, there can be no exception.