Minutes of Democrats Abroad Guatemala
Annual General Meeting Saturday, March 18, 2017
Casa Convento Concepción, Antigua, Guatemala
ExCom members in Attendance: Mary Lou Ridinger, Chair; John Chudy, Vice Chair; Thomas Totino, Treasurer; Kee Kalwara, Events/Membership/Fundraising Coordinator; Lyn Totino, Secretary; Member at Large, David Dean, Counsel, Letty Manne.
Call to order – The Chair asked the Secretary to confirm that there was a quorum. She indicated that 29 DAGT members signed in and that there were seven proxies. Thus the 25 minimum was met and the meeting was called to order at 11:10am. The agenda was shown on a PowerPoint slide.
The secretary read the minutes of the previous Annual General Meeting (AGM) held March 19, 2016. The minutes were approved unanimously.
Treasurer’s Report - Tom Totino presented the Annual Financial Report to the general membership of DAGT as required in the by-laws. He mentioned that the figures presented were condensed and summarized for presentation purposes and that a more detailed report is presented at the regular monthly ExCom meetings. He touched on three things; Income and Expenses, Cash Flow and a three year financial history. He said we had income of nearly Q8,800 which came primarily from sale of T-shirts (Q4,800) and from Feed the Donkey (Q2,800). Expenses for the year were Q7,900. The greatest expense was for voter registration and holding the Democratic primary on March 1, 2016. The net income after subtracting expenses from income was Q865. As a result our cash balance grew from Q2,422 at the start of the year to an ending balance of Q3,287. He also mentioned that looking at the past three years our income was in line with previous year’s but expenses were less because of how we managed the July 4th event. At this year’s ‘July 4th Sundowner with Fireworks’ we allowed free entrance but sold drinks. Popcorn and tostadas were provided for free. There were no questions about the report and David Dean moved that the report be accepted. Motion was seconded and approved unanimously.
Events Coordinator’s Report: Kee presented the DAGT events from 2016.
JANUARY: 17th: The Democratic Primary Debate was shown at Kafka in Antigua and was well attended.
FEBRUARY: 11th: The Democratic Primary Debate was shown at Kafka.
MARCH: 1st: Voting in the Democrats Abroad Global Primary was held at Cafe Condesa in Antigua. One hundred fourteen people voted.
19th: The Annual General Meeting was held at Casa Convento Concepción.
APRIL: 27th: The movie The Big Short was shown at Kafka.
MAY: 7th: Voter Registration was held at Enlaces in Antigua.
21st: Voter Registration was held at Enlaces.
JUNE: 11th: Voter Registration was held at Enlaces.
21st: The Michael Moore movie Where to Invade Next was shown at Personajes bar/restaurant in Antigua.
JULY: 4th: A Sundowner with Fireworks (read Happy Hour) was held at Casa Convento Concepción. We provided snacks and provided popcorn using a borrowed maker that was a big hit. Fireworks were set off at sunset. Somehow we avoided the rain. A successful event with approximately 75 in attendance
15th: Voter Registration was held at Enlaces.
AUGUST: 13th: Voter Registration was held at Enlaces. Thirteen people registered.
SEPTEMBER: 17th: Voter Registration was held at Enlaces.
OCTOBER: 4th: Vice Presidential Debate was shown at Kafka.
15th: Federal Write in Absentee Ballot (FWAB) event at Enlaces.
NOVEMBER: 8th: Election Night Watch Potluck was held at John and Mary Ann’s. It was depressing but the food was good.
DECEMBER: 3rd: Peter Lee, a Sander’s delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Oregon spoke to a small group at a private home in Antigua.
MARCH: 15th: Movie Night Potluck Michael Moore’s movie Sicko was shown at Dave Evans’ house. We used our new projector for the first time and showed the movie on a very large format. Eleven people attended.
Throughout the year we made phone calls to all DAGT members who had not logged on the Democrats Abroad web site, sent emails and posted on Facebook. Kee asks us all to ‘like’ our DAGT Facebook page and ask to join the group. One must be a member DAGT to join the group. Joining the group doesn’t make you a member of DAGT. Kee checks the membership roll to verify each request. John Chudy and Kee are authorized to approve new members to the group.
Kee also asks you not to unsubscribe from emails you receive from John or Kee unless you do not want to be informed of what is going on in Guatemala. If you was to stop receiving emails from any other organization, you must subscribe from each one individually.
This year we plan membership drives and voter registration, social events and more movies and presentations. Kee is always open to receiving suggestions for movies and presentations.
The Executive Committee meets monthly, usually in Antigua. The date, time and place of these meetings will be posted on our Facebook page. All members are invited to attend.
Meetup Groups Chair Reports:
Traci Styner, Lake Atitlan region: She has lived in the area for 6 years. Traci held 5 very successful events in Panajachel and Santiago. These events attracted lots of young voters and resulted in many votes.
Hyungjoon Jin has been a teacher in Guatemala City since 2014. Hyung has tried to create a community between three international schools in the city. The goal has been to keep people informed and get people to vote. He held several voter registration events in May (a dozen people registered) and September (15 registered). He also held casual debate watch get togethers in his home. He had a casual FWAB event and collected votes from the 3 schools. Hyung will continue his work another year.
Sara Castellano began as Occidente Group Meetup Chair, in February (she lives in San Marcos), but did not attend the AGM via Skype due to a family emergency
Chair Person’s Report for 2016:
In January we had our annual membership update. Members with last verified date from 2012 (four years or older) were called or contacted by email to update their information.
On March 1st The Democrats Abroad Global Primary was held at Cafe Condesa. One hundred fourteen members cast votes (53 for Hillary and 61 for Bernie). The Global primary vote gave Bernie 9 delegates and Hillary 4.
On March 12th, During the Festival Atitlán at Santiago, John Chudy registered a dozen new voters.
On March 19 we held our Annual General Meeting in Antigua.
On April 2nd we held a voter registration event at Enlaces. Hyung assisted and formally became the DAGT Guatemala City Meetup Group Chair.
From May 13 - 15 The DPCA Global Convention was held in Berlin, Germany.
On July 4th DAGT held our Sundowner with Fireworks at Casa Convento Concepción. It was a success with free popcorn and snacks. We sold beer and wine and set off the fireworks left over from the 2015 July 4th event.
On July 7the Traci Styner formally became DAGT Lake Atitlán Meetup Group Chair.
From July 25 to 28 the Democratic National Convention was held in Philadelphia. Hillary was nominated. John attended some of the outside events.
From August to September members used CallHub phone banking to get out the vote. It was our best year ever as over 50% of our membership voted as indicated by VoteFromAbroad numbers. It ranks Guatemala pretty high relative to other country committees globally.
On October 15th we held our Federal Write-In Absentee Ballot (FWAB) event at Enlaces in Antigua.
November 8 is a day that will live in infamy!
Elections for the Executive Committee officers for the 2017 - 2019 term:
The slate of officers was presented:
John Chudy, Chair: Mary Lou Ridinger, Vice Chair; Tom Totino, Treasurer; Lyn Totino, Secretary; Counsel, Letty Manne; Member-at-Large, Annie Vanderboom; Member-at-Large, Dave Evans.
Mary Ann Anderson moved that the slate be approved by acclamation. Motion seconded by David Dean. The slate was approved by acclamation.
Media Contact & Communication Standing Committee Chair: (vacant)
Issues/Programs/Special Events/Social Committee Chair: Kee Kalwara
Membership/Voter Registration Standing Committee Chair: Kee Kalwara
Fundraising Standing Committee Chair: Kee Kalwara
Guatemala City Meetup Group Chair: Hyungjoon Jin
Lake Atitlán Meetup Group Chair: Traci Styner
Occidente Meetup Group Chair: Sara Castellano
Occidente Meetup Group Deputy Chair: Rachael Shenyo
Recognition of Volunteers:
These members were recognized for their work to promote Democrats Abroad:
Mark Schomer: Occidente Meetup Group Chair, (outgoing)
Hyungjoon Jin: Guatemala City Meetup Group Chair
Traci Styner: Lake Atitlan Meetup Group Chair
David Dean: Member-at-Large
John Green: Member-at-Large
Events and Goals for 2017:
We need to continue to attract new members including - maybe more importantly - young members and focus on retaining our current members. We plan to increase our total membership to 480 from 468. We need to keep members engaged and interested in Democratic activities. We will do this by holding discussion groups, movies, social events and through resistance activities. There are formal resistance groups in our area. On April 29 there will be a 100 day protest march in Guatemala City. You can contact Kee Kalwara for details. Empower/Educate/Act is a resistance group in Antigua. Check it out on their Facebook page: EmpowerEducateAct or contact Linda Conard for details. Members are urged to continue contacting their Representatives and Senators by letter, phone and/or email.
We encourage members to file their FPCA every year. It could make a difference in having your vote count. Members are encouraged to support the global organization - DPCA. We plan to increase the number of members that are DPCA sustaining donors to 10% or our total membership. Or members can make a one-time donation. A donation of $20 will help us reach a lot of voters.
The DPCA Global Meeting will take place in Washington, DC from May 12 - 14. Anyone can attend. There will be a Door Knock event from the 16th to the 17th on Capitol Hill with DA members visiting Congressman’s offices.
We must build consciousness toward the 2018 midterm elections which will be held November 6, 2018. All 435 seats in the House and 34 Senate seats will be contested. We must all remember that Republicans have won more political power in 2016 than since 1928. We all have a lot of work to do.
All members are urged to use www.votefromabroad.org to file your new FPCA and click ‘yes’ to update your information as you complete the form. Click ‘RSVP’ when you in-box alerts you to an event from DAGT. Our monthly DAGT executive committee meetings are open to all members.
Adjournment: After a lively discussion about how to attract younger members and how to make everyone who attends events feel welcome the meeting was adjourned at 1:08 pm.