DA Global LGBTQ+ Caucus Leadership:
Greetings from the LGBTQ+ Caucus team! We're in the middle of one strange summer and are all missing Pride festivities, but that doesn't mean that there's nothing for us to do! The election is fast approaching and we need every one of you to grab your ballot at www.votefromabroad.org if you haven't done so already. Every vote counts! Don't let your voice remain unheard.
We would like to welcome Fred Kuhr to the team. He’s our new Senior Reporter at Large and is a seasoned LGBTQ+ reporter. We are glad to have him on our team.
In this month’s newsletter, Betsy shares the history of our hard-won ability to vote. Alex gives us a glimpse into the work of radical feminist Jill Johnston. For our member spotlight, Nathalie interviewed the amazing Angela Fobbs, Chair of the DA Global Black Caucus and vocal activist who is working tirelessly to get out the vote, especially among those Americans who are not in the urban hubs of the world. Finally, Matthew sat down with Antonina Vykhrest, a queer activist whose work has taken her from Brooklyn to various parts of Europe and back again.
Also, congratulations to our own co-editor, Sarah, for being appointed Chair of the LGBTQ+ Caucus for Germany!
Betsy Ettorre & Sarah Fancy, Co-editors
Angela Fobbs, DA Black Caucus Founder: Encouraging Turnout Across the Globe
“I know that a better world is possible,” said Angela Fobbs, creator of the Democrats Abroad Black Caucus based in Germany. “We have to imagine something different.”
Just over twenty years have passed since Fobbs first moved to Frankfurt in the fall of 1999. Though she now teaches business English, Fobbs originally worked with the American military, at first under Bill Clinton, continuing through George W. Bush’s administration.
“It made me more radical,” she said. “I was always on the left [...] it just pushed me over the edge.”
Fobb’s involvement with Democrats Abroad began in 2016 after she learned of a local women’s march. In 2017, she was elected communications coordinator of Democrats Abroad Germany and worked with the women’s caucus. However, she found the lack of a black caucus disappointing.
The logical solution was to create one. She quickly found others willing to help and established a steering committee in August of 2017. Just two months later, the Democrats Abroad Global Black Caucus was up and running. Today, the caucus has 1600 members across the globe, and focuses on issues of “universal justice.” It seeks to engage with a variety of issues impacting African-Americans both domestically and abroad, such as the justice system, economic inequality, and subconscious bias. (Click here to read more about the Global Black Caucus).
Much of the caucus’s action is centered around encouraging African-Americans living abroad to vote. They’re assembling voters’ guides, working with African-American groups, and leaving “no stone unturned,” as Fobbs puts it. The recent Black Lives Matter protests in the United States have kicked their work on voting rights into high gear.
The caucus also partnered with WeGlobal, a University of Michigan-based research project that surveys African-Americans living abroad. They worked together on initiatives to get the vote out, and tell the stories of African-Americans across the globe.
The goal, as Fobbs sees it, is one where nearly all of the nine million Americans living abroad exercise their right to political engagement. In particular, there’s a need to reach out to Americans living in relative isolation, outside of major expat hubs.
“Getting the vote out is critical,” said Fobbs.
She’s also a member of the LGBTQ+ Caucus, and hopes to collaborate further and create events for Black LGBTQ+ individuals.
“I want young children of color to see adults [like them],” Fobbs said. Adults who “accept that you don’t have to be straight, that people will still like them.”
Ultimately, the soul of Fobbs’ activism comes from her desire to create a better world.
“I want everyone to have universal, unconditional human rights,” she said. “We all deserve to live our lives the way we want and to do the things we want.”
The Global Women's Caucus and Democrats Abroad Germany invite you to join us.
Calling is one of the best ways to get our members to vote! It’s easy and effective!
Do you, especially now, have time to make a few calls? Many of our members are at home, eager to receive them.
Learn how to phonebank at this online live training. For beginners or to refresh your skills or to share your experience! We’ll focus on the basics, take questions, describe the new texting feature and discuss how it will be to call in the current environment.
Capturing The Flag is an urgent cautionary tale that documents what’s in store for the fast-approaching election of 2020, and a close-up look of American democracy at its most vulnerable point. Through the intimate experiences of the film’s citizen volunteers, we are inspired to vote, to help someone else to vote, and to get involved in the growing non-partisan efforts to protect our fragile democracy. The shocking voter suppression we see unfold in real-time in Capturing The Flag is proliferating across the country, as those who control local elections have been emboldened to rewrite access to the ballot box along partisan lines. With verité footage of Barack Obama and Reverend Dr. William Barber II, the film is also a powerful call to arms for what we all can and need to do in the ongoing battle for voting rights.
After the film, we will have a Q&A with the producers, DA GOTV, and Angela Fobbs, GBC Chair.
About the Producers
Laverne Berry and Steve Miller have worked as volunteer Voter Protection lawyers in each of the past three presidential elections (2008 and 2016 in North Carolina, 2102 in Virginia) and during the 2018 midterms in North Carolina. Most recently, they did this work during the re-do election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District in September 2019, after the original results were thrown out for absentee ballot fraud. They have spoken about voter suppression and their experiences as voter protection poll observers at universities and community groups around the US, including at the Kennedy School at Harvard and at TEDx events.
- Laverne is an entertainment and media business affairs attorney representing independent film and television producers, directors, production companies, distribution companies, authors, and media companies. Drawing on eighteen years as a television producer and distribution executive before becoming a lawyer, Laverne understands both the business and legal sides of the media marketplace. She acted as Executive Producer for Perfectly Normal For The Silent Truth and Me. She was the Co-Executive Producer for Emmy-nominated Chely Wright: Wish Me Away, and The Lady in Question is Charles Busch. Laverne also has been involved in Alternative Dispute Resolution for 25 years. She is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Dispute Panel, American Arbitration Association (AAA) Commercial Arbitration Panel, and Mediation Panel. Laverne has been named a New York Metro Area Super Lawyer for eight years by Thompson Reuters; and was included in the New York Metro Super Lawyers supplement to The New York Times newspaper, The Top Women Attorneys in New York, 2014- 2020.
- Steve is a consultant in international media and education, with over 25 years of experience developing and managing a broad range of media businesses and educational and social justice projects. Steve spent ten years at Sesame Workshop, the producer of Sesame Street, where he ran their international division. He then served as a member of the senior management team that ran the Walt Disney Company’s global publishing division for seven years, with responsibility for strategic planning and business development. Most recently he was Senior Vice President, Government and Corporate Relations and Business Development for the UK-based Study Group, an international education company. Currently, advises clients on a wide range of international projects and partnerships and is a special advisor to the renowned Cambodian film director Rithy Panh’s Bophana Audiovisual Center in Phnom Penh. Steve was a member of the Board of Cambodian Living Arts, an NGO in Cambodia, from 2012 through 2017. He was a founding Board member of BAFTA-New York (the New York chapter of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts) and is one of the voters for the annual BAFTA Film Awards. He has also served on the Boards of Lambda Legal Defense and The Hetrick-Martin Institute. He has been a member of DA – Italy for over a decade and is a member of the LGBTQ+ Caucus.
Ticket cost: While there is no donation required to attend, we hope you’ll consider a donation of $5 - or more - and help reach hundreds of potential voters! Even if you can't join the Webinar, you can show your support by clicking HERE and making a donation for this event.
Please RSVP for this event. The link to the online event will be sent a day before the event.