In this Issue —
- Women's History Month
- Annual General Meeting & Officer Elections
- ProDA: Biden-Harris Progress Report #2
- Solidarity Sundays: Filibuster or Bust?
- Erich Zawinul
2021 AGM & Elections:
- Caucus and Committee Positions
- Election Notice & Candidate Statements
- AGM Announcement
- Amendments to the Bylaws
Issues & Actions:
- Democrats Abroad Austria in Vorarlberg
- Dems Abroad Taxation Task Force Needs You!
- Women’s History Month
Our Executive Committee meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month. Our next meeting will be held online on: Wednesday, March 10, 2021, at 7 p.m. Members are welcome to join us at the meetings. Please contact Jennifer at [email protected] to join.
DAA is making a strong effort to include in our monthly newsletter all the information you need to stay up to date. By sending you fewer emails, we hope you will read those you receive. Thanks for reading!
March 8, 7:00 PM (CET) – Online
March 21, 3:00 PM (CET) - Online
Vote from now until March 21, 1:00 PM (CET) or at the AGM on March 21 at 3:00 PM (CET)
March 24, 7:00 PM (CET) - Online
March 28, 4:00-6:00 PM (CET) - Online
April 23, 5:00-8:00PM - Vorarlberg (in-person)
It is with deep regret that we say goodbye to a beloved member of ours from Vienna, Erich Zawinul. Erich, son of Joe Zawinul, passed away on Feb. 11, 2021. "Erich was the first American I met when I first moved to Vienna in 2008 - a year we all hold dear! A group of friends were invited to his flat to watch the election night results. As night turned into day, he and I were the only ones left, waiting anxiously for Obama's victory to be announced. I actually had to wake him up to share the good news - it was a long night. That is such a precious memory filled with heartfelt tears and joy that I will always remember," recalls our former Vice-Chair Ashley Arreola-Rogez. RIP Erich. You will be missed by many.
— Ashley Arreola-Rogez
2021 AGM & Elections:
Caucus & Committee Positions
Democrats Abroad is an entirely volunteer organization and, as such, we rely on members like you to support our projects with your skills, energy, and passion. We’re looking for people who have anywhere from 10 minutes a week to 10 hours a month to help engage overseas Americans to vote.
Now is not the time to sit back and rest on the Biden/Harris win. The 2022 election will be absolutely critical to making sure Democrats increase our margins in Congress and the Senate. It will be a huge challenge and we need your help. Take a look at the Caucus and Committee Volunteer Description List and make a pledge to help win important races in the midterms.
You don’t see a good fit? Drop us a line at [email protected] and let us know what you want to do to secure ‘22.
—Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, DAA Chair
2021 Election of Officers
Due to ongoing Covid restrictions, elections for the 2021-23 DAA Executive Committee will be solely online. Members may cast their electronic ballots either in advance of the Annual General Meeting (AGM), or during the AGM.
Please note, ballots cast in advance must be received by 1 pm (13:00 CET) on March 21, 2021. Please take care to sign your ballot with correct information on the Signature portion of the ballot.
During the AGM you will also have an opportunity to meet your representatives and tell them what you would like to see DA Austria do over the next two years. You'll hear from DA International Chair, Julia Bryan, about the critical work DA accomplished in the 2020 election. You can meet other DAA members from around Austria and hear about about their activities, and you'll find out about plans for the 2022 midterm elections. Finally, you'll receive an invitation for free entry to an in-person wine tasting fundraiser with Seymann's Winery (as soon as permitted) as a thank you for your participation.
Get your ballot here: www.bit.ly/daa-election-2021
If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected]
— 2021 Nominations and Elections Committee, Democrats Abroad Austria
ExCom Officers & DPCA Voting Representative Candidate Statements
Members of the Executive Committee are elected for two-year terms. To ensure gender balance, and in in line with the policy of the Democratic Party and the DPCA, the Chair and Vice-Chair shall not be of the same sex.
— 2021 Nominations and Elections Committee, Democrats Abroad Austria
2021 Annual General Meeting and Officer Elections
DA Austria’s Annual General Meeting will be held online on Sunday, March 21, 2021 at 3 p.m. All DAA members are welcome to participate in the elections and join the meeting. We especially hope to see many of our members who live outside of Vienna and may not normally attend the AGM! Any American 18 or older by the next federal election and residing in Austria may also join the meeting and vote.
Come for business –
Special guest DA Global Chair Julia Bryan will give her expert insights into the fantastic work that was accomplished by Democrats Abroad members around the world in the 2020 and Georgia runoff elections. She’ll also talk to us about DA’s outreach with our representatives in DC in order to inform them on the issues that matter most to all Americans who live abroad.
At the meeting we'll present brief reports on 2020, discuss plans for the upcoming year, and conduct a vote on amendments to the DAA Bylaws (see changes below). There will also be an Elections Meeting to elect an Executive Committee for the 2021-2023 term (see 2021 Election of Officers above).
Join us for a wine-tasting –
DA Austria is required by our By-Laws to hold an Annual General Meeting prior to March 31 of each year. We also have a quorum requirement to make the meeting valid. Please help us meet these challenges by joining us in our online AGM!
As a thank you for your loyalty and help through this difficult period, AGM attendees will receive an invitation for free entry to an in-person wine tasting fundraiser with Seymann's Winery. We'll set the date just as soon as restrictions are lifted.
Your participation, activism, and donations have made Democrats Abroad Austria a strong and vital organization for more than eighteen years. In 2021, we’ll continue working to strengthen the voice and vote of all our members.
Please RSVP for the meeting on our events page at democratsabroad.org/at_events You will receive a confirmation email with the meeting link.
Thank you for your support,
– DA Austria Executive Committee
Amendments to the Bylaws
At the Annual General Meeting, the DA Austria Bylaws Committee will submit amendments to DA Austria’s Bylaws for a vote by the membership. Recent changes in the DPCA Charter, compliance with Austrian association statute requirements, and enhanced clarity motivated the committee’s proposed amendments.
The proposed amendments intend to accomplish the following:
- Establish more effective notification deadlines for members affected by Removal of Membership provisions (See 3.9 and 9.1)
Clarify terms, including:
- 4.1 Members of the Executive Committee
- 4.3 Meetings of the Membership
- Expand scope of membership review for DA-AT documents (see 4.5 and 4.6)
- Specify provision for DPCA voting representative exemption from term limits (see 4.11)
- Clarify and expand election procedures in view of increased remote participation (see 8.2) & gender balancing requirements
- Introduce provision for membership confirmation of Executive Committee office-holder replacement in cases of resignation, etc. (see 9.4 and 9.5).
Proposed changes to the document can be seen here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1N9QT0oBpMKD6hYT21KueiQNw3HNYrflB/view?usp=sharing
— Brett Carnito, Marcy Fowler, Bruce Murray, and Jennifer Rakow-Stepper, DAA ByLaws Committee
Issues & Actions:
Democrats Abroad Austria in Vorarlberg
Democrats Abroad Austria-Vorarlberg would like to introduce our group which has been in existence since 2016 out on the western frontier of Austria on the beautiful Bodensee. We are as yet small in membership, but we are mighty in our eﬀorts and are now in the process of actively recruiting new members so we can gear up with more volunteer power for the upcoming 2022 elections.
We just established our own Democrats Abroad Vorarlberg Facebook Group, and have had a positive response thus far. You can check out our group page to see our past activities as well as future events planned. Speaking of which, we’re planning an outdoor picnic social on Friday, April 23rd, and anyone who is interested in Democrats Abroad is invited to come.Find out more and RSVP on our FB Group page.
We are an eclectic group of expats who moved to Austria via marriage, work, or relocated here as students. Our professions range from computer programmers to chefs, teachers, school principals, English trainers, web page designers, lawyers, and engineers. Our core group includes Stephanie Don, who hails from Northern California and is one of the founding members. She is joined by two other Southern Californians, Sharon and Franz Herbert (a Bregenzer), who hail from the skateboard and surfing city of Encinitas. The state of Illinois, better known as the Land of Lincoln, is represented by founding members Paul and Andrea Milstein (an Altacher), and Eddie Gregory was born in White Plains, the birthplace of the state of New York, and relocated back to Austria during his school years. The Gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Colorado, is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and the sometime home of Patti and Paul Baker. And let’s not forget the port city of Duluth, Minnesota, on Lake Superior which is the home state of Ted France. Ted was the main driver behind our GOTV efforts last fall and is currently running for a Member-at-Large position on the DA Austria Executive Committee. We wish him lots of luck!
We look forward to being an active precinct and representing the Democrats Abroad out here in Vorarlberg.
—Stephanie Don, Vorarlberg Precinct Founder
Dems Abroad Taxation Task Force Needs You!
The Dems Abroad Tax Task Force is looking for help building up our spreadsheet of members of Congress with information that will help us: 1) target members who might take a special interest in our tax reform recommendations and 2) prepare for discussions taking place during virtual door knocks hosted by the TTF or by any other group in DA advocating for reforms.
We anticipate the need for 25 volunteers each providing 10-25 hours of volunteer time. Interested parties should message [email protected], put Congressional Data Grab Volunteer in the subject line and tell us a bit about yourself (where you live, where you vote, your background, work status and how many hours you can donate to the project). The work will be completed by 20 March.
Please send questions or comments to [email protected].
– Carmelan Polce, Taxation Taskforce
Women’s History Month
The year 2020 marked the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote. Despite the interruption of the pandemic, celebrations of women’s historic achievement with the passing of the 19th Amendment will not be silenced. Suffragists too faced a deadly virus – and a war – while trying to win the key state of New York in 1917. Their strength is our inspiration.
Since the anniversary lasts until August 26, 2021, the women’s suffrage centennial continues for another half a year. It is important that we take the opportunity of the centennial to recognize and reflect on women’s historic breakthroughs, while also continuing to educate and organize.
March 8 is Women’s Day. Please join us on March 8 at 7 pm CET for the Women’s History Month Talks: Making History with Katherine Spillar, Executive Editor of Ms. Magazine. She will take a look at the tremendous history made as a result of the 2020 elections (particularly the historic achievements for women) and examine what they mean for the future. And, of course, what’s next for the ERA and what the Biden administration can do to ensure it becomes part of the Constitution. Please RSVP at: www.democratsabroad.org/wc_making_history
Please join the GBC’s celebration of Women’s History Month with a screening of “Harriet,” a biographical film about the life of Harriet Tubman. The screening will be on March 30 at 7:30 pm CET on Zoom. Please RSVP at: www.democratsabroad.org/gbc_cafe_watches
—The Global Women’s Caucus
Solidarity Sundays: The Armed Right & the GOP
February 28, 2021
The National Rifle Association is nearly unmatched in American political activism. NRA members and gun rights activists are incredibly active voters, and the organization has created a fellowship of gun owners united around gun rights. At the same time, it is a formidable lobby in Washington and state capitals. According to a new book, this control over so many people is based on gun myths fabricated out of thin air that fuel today's armed right.
Frank Smyth, investigative journalist and author, uncovered the hidden origins of the modern NRA. Buried documents contradict its absolutism on gun rights, which helped expand gun access across America. Addressing Solidarity Sundays, Smyth explained how the "Slippery Slope" theory – that even a little gun control can start a dangerous slide in disarmament leading to government tyranny – allows gun activists to justify the most extreme intransigence. Even as the NRA implodes, the storylines it created have saturated the Republican electorate and will animate it for years to come.
The power of this ideology has significant implications for gun reform. There is energy for gun control, and Biden's gun plan is the most ambitious to date. However, Smyth argues that passage is unlikely: most of the 70 million who voted to re-elect Trump embrace the NRA fantasies. What is needed is reframing the conversation on guns. The NRA's point of vulnerability is its myths, and Democrats need to challenge them to get anywhere.
Frank Smyth is an award-winning journalist specializing in armed conflicts, organized crime, and human rights overseas, and the gun movement and its influence at home. Solidarity Sundays is grateful he made time to speak with us about his new book, “NRA: The Unauthorized History,” an eye-opening account of how we got here.
–Tanya Lolonis, Solidarity Sundays Co-Coordinator
Thank you for reading the March newsletter!