April 05, 2019

April's Newsletter

DA Austria’s 2019 Survey

Are you satisfied with DAA? What do you think we should be doing? Please take a few minutes to help DA Austria’s Executive Committee better fulfil your wishes and expectations in the next two years. The questionnaire will take just about five minutes of your time and will be invaluable for us. Please fill it out here! Thank you for your participation!

– DAA Executive Committee


In This Issue:


Issues & Actions

  • Announcing 2019-2021 DAA Executive Committee
  • Progressive Caucus
  • 2020 Delegate Selection Plan Open for Public Comment
  • Running for Democracy!
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office Closures


  • Global Black Caucus
  • Annual General Meeting
  • Solidarity Sundays
  • Graz – Women's Day

Members Corner

  • Peace Puzzle
  • Timothy Snyder at Wiener Festwochen



Experienced Democrats Meet-up

Monthly meeting of Experienced Democrats. Join us!

When: Tuesday, April 9, 6:00 pm

Where: Café Museum, Operngasse 7, 1010 Vienna

Contact: John Cahill • [email protected] • +43 676 695 2766


Salzburg Meet-Up

Join us at our next Democrats Abroad Meet-Up for members and guests living in the Salzburg area! This is a chance to connect with fellow expats and discuss current events. Please BYOB and no RSVP required. We're looking forward to meeting you!

When: Friday, April 12, 7:30 pm

Where: Haunspergstraße 37a, 5020 Salzburg

Contact: Mary Beth Kollert • [email protected]


Solidarity Sundays 23: The Candidates (So Far)

They have Exploratory Committees and Campaign Committees, they‘re raising money and wooing activists, they’re visiting diners and schools and churches and union halls, and their number is ... hard to keep track of. They are the growing list of Democratic candidates vying to put Donald Trump to bed in 2020.

Ahead of the first primary debates June 26 & 27, Solidarity Sundays goes past the Vanity Fair profiles and soft-focus videos to break down what you need to know: where do they stand on key issues? What do they offer in terms of youth vs experience? Who appeals to middle state voters vs coastal voters? We‘re not advocating for any one candidate: we aim to equip you to find yours and be able to articulate why. Join the discussion April 28th and practice democracy with coffee, cookies, and civics. Go to our Facebook Page for full details and to RSVP: https://m.facebook.com/events/2287321898041907?ref=page_internal&_rdr

The 3 C’s — Coffee, Cookies, and Civics —

When: Sunday, April 28, 4-6 pm

Where: Amerlinghaus, Stiftgasse 8, 1070 Vienna

Contact: Tanya Lolonis • [email protected]


Global Black Caucus Book Club Vl

Come join us at Cafe Phil on Friday, May 10th at 7pm, where we will discuss The Fire Next Timeby James Baldwin. Please make sure to read the book so that we can all have a great discussion!

When: Friday, May 10, 7:00 pm

Where: Cafe Phil, Gumpendorferstraße 10-12, 1060 Vienna

Contact: Faith Herbold • [email protected]• 0660 2776485

Visit us on Facebook!


Issues & Actions:


Your 2019-2021 Executive Committee Team

Democrats Abroad Austria is thrilled to announce our 2019-2021 Executive Committee! It’s a great group of committed and energetic leaders. We hope you’ll join us at one of our monthly Executive Committee meetings (2nd Wednesday of the month) or by helping out at an event. It’s going to take more than a village to win the White House in 2020 and we’re starting now!



The Progressive Caucus is up and running!

ProDA is the “youngest” Democrats Abroad caucus. Its doors are wide open for Democrats of all ages!

Who We Are

The Progressive Caucus of Democrats Abroad works proactively to transform the United States into a society rooted in economic fairness, as well as social, racial, and environmental justice, particularly for the most vulnerable among us. We seek increased inclusion, fairness, accountability, and transparency in our domestic political processes. We support international cooperation, mutual respect, and peaceful methods of conflict resolution.

– Bruce Murray, ProDA Founding Member



2020 Delegate Selection Plan Open for Public Comment

Democrats Abroad's 2020 Delegate Selection Plan is now online for a public commenting period from March 8 to April 8, 2019.



Running for Democracy!

Democrats Abroad made a tremendous effort in 2018 to Get Out The Vote (GOTV), especially through its use of phonebanking – DA Austria had the highest success rate of any country committee, with 53% of our membership using VFA! – Our wonderful volunteer phonebankers don't get paid, but the system we use for phonebanking as well as the platform we use generally to run this organization cost money. In order to prepare for our GOTV efforts for the 2020 election, please consider sponsoring a runner to benefit DA globals fundraising effort in this year's "Running for Democracy" Half-Marathon and 10K runs in Mannheim on 11th May. Here's the link for more information and to pledge.


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office Closures

Last month the Trump administration announced its intention to close the more that 20 USCIS offices outside the U.S.

Officials in these offices process applications for visas, adoptions, green card abandonment and more. The proposal is for these services to be instead provided by embassies and consulates. The affect will be the lengthening of already intolerably long processing wait times, causing multi-National families to become separated.

DA wishes to profile the harm this policy could cause Americans abroad and recommend changed. A small team (including an immigration lawyer) is in place but requires the support of others with immigration law expertise to articulate DA’s position, prepare a letter to elected officials and others, draft a one-pager for the May Door Knock and a Resolution to be considered at the May global meeting in Washington DC.

Please contact me urgently if you can contribute to this work.

– Carmelan Polce, New York and Australia • [email protected]



Graz International Women’s Day Workshop

On Sunday, March 10th, we gathered at the cozy Seddwell Center over cupcakes and tea for a fascinating afternoon learning about the Equal Rights Amendment and discussing strategies for improving the situation for women - with guests from Austria and our host from New Zealand! We viewed the film Legislating Equality, discussed the best ways that we in Austria can promote women’s rights, and wrote postcards to legislators in Arizona who have been attempting to hold ERA legislation hostage. At the end we took a picture using the International Women’s Day hashtags #BalanceforBetter. We look forward to more actions in Graz this year!

–Caitlin Ahern, Member-at-Large, Graz Coordinator


Global Black Caucus Book Club V

Democrats Abroad members enjoyed a light dinner at Cafe Phil before digging into the New York Times bestselling book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemptionby Bryan Stevenson. Excitement about the democratic candidates overshadowed the discussion of the book, but nevertheless, the group persisted. The group discussed the stories of the individuals that Stevenson and his dedicated legal team had helped by freeing them from lengthy prison sentences and even saving them from death by state sanctioned execution.

– Faith Hall Herbold, Member-at-Large, DAA Black Caucus Coordinator



DAA’s AGM – Business and Fun!

Despite being a beautiful spring day, more than forty dedicated DA Austria members and numerous guests gathered on Saturday, March 30 in Vienna for DAA’s Annual General Meeting and the election of our 2019-2021 Executive Committee. We were honored to welcome International Chair Julia Bryan as our guest speaker and also that Katie Solon, former International Chair, former DAA Chair and current DA Germany Voting Representative, as well as Merrill Oates, Current DA Hungary Chair, were able to join us!

The various Chair, Treasurer and Auditors’ reports showed that DA Austria is an active and growing organization. We were able to cover costs incurred by our many events and demonstrations in 2018 through the generosity of our sustaining donors, a fundraiser, and swag sales. The number of US citizens in Austria who used the Vote From Abroad website to request their ballots was 116% of DA Austria's membership, and 53% of DA Austria's members used the service the highest of any country committee. In terms of VFA use, DA Austria ranked 5th among all country committees globally - as Julia said, "These are outstanding results!"

During the meeting members passed amendments to our Bylaws that bring them into compliance with new DA rules and our Austrian Vereinsstatuten, and voted for DAA’s new executive committee (see article Your 2020 Team!). The electronic voting, which took place for the first time, was a huge success – doubling the number of members who voted in our election.

After the business was done, the meeting was adjourned and the fun began. Member Laurin Seymann guided us through a tasting of wines from Seymann's Winecrafting, his family’s vineyard, and Walt and Jane Schwarz shared their Peace Puzzle project with us. We all got busy trying to find those positive words that are so hard to locate in today’s political discourse while enjoying a glass of delicious wine.

Thank you to everyone who attended and especially those who traveled from Graz, Salzburg, Linz, Prague, Budapest, and Germany to join us, as well as to the volunteers who helped at the event to make it run smoothly!

– Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, Chair


Solidarity Sundays #22: What’s Immigration Reform Look Like?

On a sunny March 31st afternoon, Juan Cerda led attendees through a comprehensive look into the history of immigration policy, beginning with Article 1 of the Constitution bestowing power on Congress to regulate naturalization and immigration. Over time, presidential power has carved out a growing role: before the current President tried closing borders at airports and down south, President Obama wielded presidential power to establish DACA. So powerful are executive orders that courts ruled in 2018 that President Trump‘s executive order to end Obama‘s DACA executive order is unlawful; only an act of congress can supersede it.



Members Corner


The Puzzle Project

Annual General Meeting attendees had the opportunity to field test Jane and Walt Schwarz’s challenging Peace-Puzzle at the meeting. They’ve improved the colors thanks to our feedback. The puzzle (the help sheet, password=sos and the solution password=easy) are in the links for those of you who would like to take on the challenge. Be forewarned – finding peace isn’t easy!


Timothy Snyder at Wiener Festwochen

»The work of memory is in the present. In our century, a place such as the Judenplatz is not simply a square within a city, but a site that might be viewed from a distance, anywhere in the world, through technology. Jews were once taken from Vienna to be murdered, and that crime cannot be undone. Yet we can bring those who wish to learn from that history to Vienna, to this place.

When: Thursday, May 9, 7pm

Where: Judenplatz,1010 Vienna

Free Entry, No Seating