In This Issue:
- Bylaws Committee Meeting
- Global Black Caucus Book Club lV
- #Women’s Wave
- SolSun 20: Choosing Your Voters
- Save the Date! Annual General Meeting
- Experienced Dems will meet again in February
Issues & Actions:
- Florida Prison Right’s Restoration
- Global Black Caucus
- Hindsight is 2020!
- Vienna Punsch Recap
- Women’s Caucus Launch with RBG
New Year's Message:
Looking Back & Looking Forward –
What a year!
You helped make our outrage with the current administration heard and joined us on a freezing January day for the Women’s Rally, marched through Vienna’s streets with March for Our Lives in solidarity with the Parkland students, and stood in front of the US consulate in protest of migrant children being separated from their parent(s) at the US border.
You contributed your energy and talents and participated in lively monthly Global Black Caucus book club discussions, joined meet-ups of both Young and Experienced Dems to talk politics with like-minded company, initiated the DAA’s Women’s Caucus with an RBG film night, showed pride at the Regenbogenparade, increased your understanding of the critical topics confronting our nation and with Solidarity Sundays took action to affect change.
You were instrumental in helping DA Austria finance all of our GOTV and membership development activities and made a generous one-time contribution, became a sustaining donor, and joined us at a fundraiser.
You helped create the highest overseas voter turnout ever and registered Americans at rock concerts, movie theatres, comedy clubs, baseball games and study abroad programs in Graz, Salzburg, and Vienna, created a film in Vorarlberg, made thousands of calls to make sure DA Austria members had registered to vote and sent in their ballot, and wrote hundreds of postcards to our representatives and members.
It felt like a wish upon a star last January when DA Austria hoped to generate the biggest ever turnout of overseas voters for Democratic candidates in elections across the country, and thanks to each and every one of YOU that wish came true!
Why stop now? In 2019 we’ll be laying the foundations for electing a new president and advocating for the rights and interests of overseas Americans. I hope you’ll continue to support us along the way.
In the name of the entire Executive Committee, DA Austria Wishes you a happy and healthy 2019!
– Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, DAA Chair
In order to avoid email clutter, DAA is making a strong effort to include all the information you need to stay up to date in our monthly newsletter. By sending you fewer emails, we hope you will read those you receive. Also check out our website and Facebook page for the latest news.
Bylaws Committee Meeting
The Democrats Abroad Austria (DAA) Executive Committee has constituted a bylaws committee to revise its bylaws in preparation for the DAA Annual General Meeting on March 30, 2019. The members are as follows:
- DAA Counsel, Bruce Murray, Committee Chair
- DAA Chair, Jennifer Rakow-Stepper (ex officio)
- DAA Secretary, Brett Carnito
- DAA Treasurer, Marcy Fowler
- DAA Member-At-Large, Matt Stevens
The meeting is open to all DAA members.
Book: How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective, edited by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
Come join us as we review and discuss "How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective" edited by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor. The Combahee Collective were a group of radical black feminists that emerged during the 1960's and 70's. The leaders of this group as well as contemporary activists reflect and discuss how black feminism has been instrumental in shaping today's social and political movements. We hope to see you again at Cafe Phil in the new year!
(Our next book in February will be "Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption" by Bryan Stevenson.)
Visit us on facebook!
Womens March 2019 –
A wave of women will be sworn into Congress this month, but did you know that women still don’t have constitutional protection of their rights? Unbelievably, the law that was passed by Congress in 1972 has not yet been ratified. Only one more state is needed to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Now, 47 years later, it has a viable chance of being passed, which is why now is the time to increase awareness and demand full constitutional equality for women!
Over the weekend of January 19-20, 2019, DA members will be joining numerous groups in marches, vigils, and rallies for another Women’s March.
The theme this year is “Stop Violence Against Women.” Democrats Abroad Austria will join the DA Global Women’s caucus and the Equal Means Equal organization and focus on achieving this goal by working through our legal system to secure equality under the law.
While we’ve held a march and a rally the last two years, we'll be bringing it indoors on January 19 and will host a screening of the NYT Critics’ Pick Legalize Equality to help get the conversation going about the importance of the ERA. After the film we’ll discuss the issues and write postcards to the governors and/or attorneys general of the states that have not yet ratified this critical amendment.
Join us this on January 19 as Democrats Abroad Austria once again puts our words into action!
Some members from Graz are planning to travel to Vienna together for the event. Please contact Caitlin Ahern (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you're in Carinthia or Styria and would like to travel together!
WHEN: January 19, 2019 at 2pm - 5pm
Amerlinghaus, Stiftgasse 8, Vienna 1070
CONTACT: Jennifer Rakow-Stepper · email@example.com
Confidence in the integrity of American elections is slipping, and partisan gerrymandering plays a big role. In the new year, learn how politicians manipulate district lines to give their party a share of seats grossly at odds with election results.
On January 27th Solidarity Sundays sheds light into the dark art of gerrymandering, akacheating. We’ll look at The Great Gerrymander of 2012, learn which states account for most of the partisan bias and review statistical tools a judge might apply to measure the partisanship of a gerrymander. We’ll look at grassroots, citizen-led efforts to reform redistricting and what they tell us about the appetite – and potential – for reform.
You won’t sit passively in this session. Bring your laptop– you’ll be contacting your new (or re-elected) Congressional representative and asking them to support democratic reform efforts in the House. Don’t know who your representative is? We’ll connect you.
– Tanya Lolonis, Member-at-Large, SolSun Co-Coordinator
Join the fight to save democracy -- we arm you with coffee, cookies, and civics.
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Save the Date! 2019 Annual General Meeting
Please join fellow DA Austria members on Saturday, March 30, 2019 to recap a very eventful 2018 and elect members to the executive committee.We'll present brief reports on 2018, discuss plans for 2019 and conduct a vote on amendments to the DAA Bylaws.
Refreshments will be served during the meeting and there will be a no-host dinner afterwards for everyone who would like to join.
All Democrat Abroad Austria members are welcome. Any American over 18 (by the next federal election) and residing in Austria may also join the meeting.
Your participation, activism and donations have made Democrats Abroad Austria a strong and vital organization over the past sixteen years. In 2019 we’ll continue working to strengthen the voice and the vote of all our members.
Remember, Americans living overseas must request their ballot each calendar year. Do it here at Vote From Abroad.
RSVP: Please pre-register for the meeting by contacting database manager Caitlin Ahern by email or by calling 0650-312-5572. Include your name, Austrian address, phone number and US voting state in your email to her so that your record stays current. This will help us start the meeting on time and ensure that we have an accurate vote count. We encourage all members to pre-register, even if you're uncertain that you can make it, in order to minimise long waiting lines.
Links to information about the Agenda, copies of the current and Amended Bylaws, Voting and Proxies, and directions to the AGM will be included in the newsletter and on our website in February.
Want to get more involved? If you are interested in running for a position on DAA's Executive Committee, we encourage you to join us at one of our upcoming ExCom meetings at 7pm on January 9, February 20, or March 13. Please contact Jennifer Rakow-Stepper for the meeting location.
I look forward to seeing you at our 2019 AGM!
– Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, DA Austria, Chair
WHEN: Saturday, March 30, 2019 at 2pm - 5:30pm
WHERE: TBA, Vienna
CONTACT: Jennifer Rakow-Stepper · firstname.lastname@example.org
RSVP: Caitlin Ahern · email@example.com
Issues & Actions:
What the Prison Rights Restoration Initiative Means for an Exiled Floridian
Great, I can now vote for the first time in my forty years on this earth.
In the mid-term election Florida voters decided to approve a constitutional amendment and allow those formerly convicted of crimes (except murder and sexual offenses) to vote for the first time. This achievement ‘long-in-waiting’ was on the ballot as a ‘initiated constitutional amendment’ and approved 5 million to 2 million opposed. Florida was holding out on laws changed by all other states.
Global Black Caucus
The Global Black Caucus met up for their third book club in late November at Café Phil. The number of people who RSVP’d for the event was four, but unexpectedly 12 people showed up to discuss the book entitled: White Trash: The 400 Year Untold History of Class in Americaby Nancy Isenberg. The title alone can turn heads and it shows how negative the phrase “white trash” is in today’s culture. The discussion started where Isenberg began: the early establishment of the American colonies and the misconception that these were only people seeking personal and religious freedom. In reality, early America was used as a dumping ground for those deemed a burden to European society. The group talked at length about how politicians and the rich have manipulated poor white Americans in the past and how the very same tactic of tapping into racial and economic anxieties continues today. It will be interesting to see how these issues play out in the 2020 election and beyond, but perhaps learning the truth about our past will help inform, and maybe even change our future.
Come join us for our next two book clubs where we will discuss the following books: January 18th- How We Get Free: Black feminism and the Combahee River Collective edited by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and February TBD- Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
Please remember to RSVP for this event so a table can be reserved properly!
– Faith Hall-Glenn, Member-at-Large
Midwest Midterm Progressive Bikeathon: Hindsight is 2020
On December 8th, Vienna volunteers and followers of the Midwest Midterm Progressive Bikeathonmet at the Beaver Brewing Company. We reminisced about what we accomplished to make the Bikeathon a success. We also listened to those of us who left some skin on the road and shared stories and insights about our GOTV adventures at these Midwest milestones (and at many more notable stops):
- Champaign, Illinois
- State Capitol in Madison
- Wishbone Cafe in Chicago
- Democratic Headquarters in Hammond
- Cass Corridor in Detroit
- Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus in Cleveland
- Bakery Square Democratic headquarters in Pittsburgh
While sharing Midterm insights, we prepared for our continuing work on that future we can really believe in. Hindsight is 2020! Last and by no means least, Danny Chicago performed some of the Bikeathon's greatest hits!
– Bruce Murray, DAA Counsel
Women’s Caucus Launch with RBG
On December 20 some 20 Dems Abroad in Austria met at the historic Gartenbau Kino to watch the epic film "RBG Ruth Bader Ginsburg" together. That RBG herself is epic (!), we already knew, but to see her life and her legal work for women's rights roll by in the course of a film was highly impressive. It revealed what went on behind the scenes as a lot of us (ahem) mature Dems were growing up. Also, it was entertaining and inspiring to see RBG's strength, discipline and sense of humor. Many of us followed up by hanging out in the movie theater's bar, keeping their staff from going home for quite a while! May Ms Ginsburg recover well and fully from her current health challenges. We really need her.
– Antje Lewis, DAA Member
Spittelberg Punsch Re-cap
Thanks to all who joined us for a Christmas "Punsch" at Spittelberg on Dec. 13th. It is always nice to see new faces as well as greet those familiar ones that we haven't seen in a while! We also welcome our newest addition to Austria as our former Vice-Chair Ashley Arreola gave birth on Nov. 24th to a healthy girl. Welcome Léona Marley Rogez. The embassy here made sure to give her an American flag to show her patriotism, so you can see she is already embracing her American roots as well as the Austrian culture by joining us at the Christmas market. Young Dems would like to wish all Americans in Austria - young and old - a happy new year
– Ashley Arreola, DAA Young Dems Co-Coordinator